This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ' 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).


In the Matter of the Welfare
of J.L.M., and D.R.O.

Filed July 9, 1996
Amundson, Judge

Hennepin County District Court
File No. 18931597

William R. Kennedy, Hennepin County Public Defender, Peter W. Gorman, Assistant Public Defender, 317 2nd Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for appellants)

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 102 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55155, Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Donna J. Wolfson, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Norton, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.



Appellants J.L.M. and D.R.O. challenge the trial court's order that they register as predatory sex offenders, which followed their being adjudicated delinquent for fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct, respectively. We reverse.



On May 11, 1994, J.L.M. approached a woman in the hallway of Central School in Richfield and asked for his bike. She told him that she did not have the key to the room where his bike was being kept and that he would have to ask someone else. She reported that J.L.M. then ran up behind her, "placed his arms around her shoulders, reached down, and forcibly grabbed" her breasts. She also reported that she had to remove J.L.M.'s hands one at a time "due to the force of respondent's hold on her." J.L.M. was charged with one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. ' 609.345, subd. 1(c).

On November 17, 1994, J.L.M. appeared before a juvenile-court referee and tendered a plea to fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. J.L.M. told the referee that he had come up to the victim and pushed her, and, in so doing, he touched her breasts. J.L.M. also admitted to touching the victim on the side and stated that she might have been afraid he was going to hurt her. J.L.M. did not admit to any intentional sexual misconduct. The trial court heard the disposition hearing on December 20, 1994, and on January 23, 1995, the trial court ordered that J.L.M. "register as a sex offender."


On March 28, 1994, D.R.O. and another juvenile allegedly chased some children into a garage. The children reported that D.R.O. hit them with a cotton bat, "told them to lay on top of each other, lick each other's butts and tongues," and kiss one another. D.R.O. was charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Minn. Stat. ' 609.343, subd. 1(a).

On January 10, 1995, D.R.O. appeared before the trial court and tendered a plea to one count of disorderly conduct. D.R.O. stated that he and another juvenile were playing when a third juvenile began calling them names of a sexual nature. The alleged victims then began to taunt D.R.O. and the other juveniles. At this point, D.R.O. and the other juveniles chased the children into the garage. D.R.O. admitted that he told the girls to "hug and kiss and a couple things," but he didn't make them do so. However, D.R.O. denied that he had any intent to hit the children, that he had hit the children, and that he threatened to hit the children. He did admit that his conduct could have frightened the children and disturbed their peace. D.R.O. did not admit to anything of a sexual nature. On January 10, 1995, the trial court ordered D.R.O. to "register as a sex offender."

Both J.L.M. and D.R.O. sought relief from the orders by means of a disposition review proceeding. These appeals followed.


A trial court has broad discretion to order dispositions authorized by statute in delinquency cases. In re Welfare of M.A.C., 455 N.W.2d 494, 498 (Minn. App. 1990). The trial court's disposition will not be disturbed absent a clear abuse of discretion. Id.

The juvenile code requires the choice of a disposition that is "deemed necessary to the rehabilitation of the child." Minn. Stat. ' 260.185, subd. 1 (1994). The disposition must be "the least drastic step necessary to restore law-abiding conduct in the juvenile." In re Welfare of M.R.S., 400 N.W.2d 147, 151 (Minn. App. 1987).

The trial court ordered that appellants register under the predatory sex offender registration statute. That statute provides that

[a] person shall register under this section if:

(1) the person was charged with or petitioned for a felony violation of or attempt to violate any of the following, and convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for that offense or of another offense arising out of the same set of circumstances:

* * *

(iii) criminal sexual conduct under section 609.342; 609.343; 609.344; or 609.345.

Minn. Stat. ' 243.166, subd. 1 (1994). On its face, the statute provides that juveniles who are charged with criminal sexual conduct can be forced to register as sex offenders even if they are not adjudicated delinquent of a sex offense, which is exactly what happened in this case. Appellants were charged with criminal sexual conduct, but were adjudicated delinquent of the misdemeanor offenses of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct. See State v. Manning, 532 N.W.2d 244, 248 (Minn. App. 1995) (upholding the constitutionality of the registration statute, but stating that "[i]t is important to note that only convicted felons are required to register."), review denied (Minn. July 20, 1995). We do not believe that the legislature intended such an absurd and unreasonable result. See Minn. Stat. ' 645.17(1) (1994) (in ascertaining the intent of the legislature, courts presume that "[t]he legislature does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution, or unreasonable.").

Under the circumstances of this case, requiring appellants to register as sex offenders is both unreasonable and unnecessary to restore law-abiding conduct. Thus, we conclude that the trial court clearly abused its discretion.