This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Jerry Merle Groenwold and Peggy Lynn Groenwold,
Filed September 24, 1996
Crow Wing County District Court
File No. K795646
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, Mary J. Theisen, Assistant Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent)
Max J. Ruttger, III, 324 South Fifth Street, Suite D, Brainerd, MN 56401 (for Appellants)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Thoreen, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellants challenge the district court's denial of their motion to dismiss charges of intrafamilial sexual abuse. Appellants argue the statute of limitations expired before the charges were brought. We affirm.
Appellants Peggy Groenwold and Jerry Groenwold each were charged with one count of third-degree intrafamilial sexual abuse. The offenses allegedly committed by Peggy Groenwold occurred between February 8, 1983 and September 7, 1984. The offenses allegedly committed by Jerry Groenwold occurred between March 6, 1983 and September 7, 1984. The victim, L.A., turned 18 on September 8, 1984.
L.A. lived with appellants from 1982 until after her eighteenth birthday. From 1983 through September 7, 1984, appellants allegedly sexually abused L.A. three or four times a week and engaged in sexual penetration with L.A. on numerous occasions. L.A. first reported the offenses to law enforcement authorities in September 1994. The complaints against appellants were filed on April 4, 1995.
D E C I S I O N
Statutory construction is a question of law subject to de novo review.
State v. Zacher
, 504 N.W.2d 468, 470 (Minn. 1993).
Appellants were charged with third-degree intrafamilial sexual abuse in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.3643, subd. 1(2)(e) (1982) (sexual penetration of a minor with whom the adult had a familial relationship, involving multiple acts over an extended time period). The limitations period in effect when appellants committed intrafamilial sexual abuse against L.A. was seven years. Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c) (1982).
When a crime is a continuing offense, the statute of limitations begins running when the crime is completed.
See State v. Burns
, 524 N.W.2d 516, 519 (Minn. App. 1994) (when criminal sexual conduct offense involving multiple acts over extended time period was completed in 1986, seven-year limitations period expired in 1993),
(Minn. Jan. 13, 1995);
see also State v. Danielski
, 348 N.W.2d 352, 355-57 (Minn. App. 1984) (noting and applying general rule that statute of limitations begins running when continuing offense is completed),
(Minn. July 26, 1984). The offense against L.A. was completed on September 7, 1984; thus, the seven-year limitations period would have expired on September 7, 1991.
Effective August 1, 1985, the intrafamilial sexual abuse statutes, Minn. Stat. §§ 609.364-.3644, were repealed. 1985 Minn. Laws ch. 286, § 24. Appellants argue that once the statutes were repealed, the conduct prohibited by the statutes is no longer criminal in nature. We disagree. The repealing act merged intrafamilial sexual abuse crimes into the criminal sexual conduct statutes. 1985 Minn. Laws ch. 286.
Minn. Stat. § 645.37 (1994). The substantive provisions of Minn. Stat. § 609.3643, subd. 1(2)(e), were reenacted in substantially the same terms in the third-degree criminal sexual conduct statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(g). 1985 Minn. Laws ch. 286, §§ 14, 17. We, therefore, must construe Minn. Stat. § 609.3643, subd. 1(2)(e), as continuing in active operation under a different statutory designation.
When a law is repealed and its provisions are at the same time reenacted in the same or substantially the same terms by the repealing law, the earlier law shall be construed as continued in active operation. All rights and liabilities incurred under such earlier law are preserved and may be enforced.
In 1986, the legislature amended the statute of limitations, Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c), by removing references to the intrafamilial sexual abuse statutes. 1986 Minn. Laws ch. 351, § 21; 1986 Minn. Laws, 1st Special Session, ch. 3 art. 1, § 78. The amendments were made retroactive to August 1, 1985. 1986 Minn. Laws ch. 351, § 23. Following these amendments, because substantive law prohibiting the conduct committed by appellants continued in operation, the statute of limitations also continued in operation.
Minn. Stat. § 645.43 (1994) (when the legislature repeals a statute of limitations and, during the same session, enacts the same or another limitations period, any time that had run under the old statute shall be deemed a part of the time prescribed in the new limitations period). The statute of limitations applicable to Minn. Stat. § 609.344, subd. 1(g)(v), was the same seven-year limitations period that had applied to Minn. Stat. § 609.3643, subd. 1(2)(e). Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c) (1986).
In 1989, the legislature amended Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c), to provide:
1989 Minn. Laws ch. 290, art. 4, § 17. The amendment became effective August 1, 1989 and applied
Indictments or complaints for violation of sections 609.342 to 609.345 if the victim was under the age of 18 years at the time the offense was committed, shall be found or made and filed in the proper court within seven years after the commission of the offense
or, if the victim failed to report the offense within this limitation period, within two years after the offense was reported to law enforcement authorities, but in no event may an indictment or complaint be found or made after the victim attains the age of 25 years
1989 Minn. Laws ch. 290, art. 4, § 22.
to crimes committed on or after that date, and to crimes committed before that date if the limitations period for the crime did not expire before August 1, 1989.
The original seven-year limitations period for the offenses committed by appellants did not expire until September 7, 1991. The offenses were not reported to law enforcement authorities until September 1994. L.A. turned 25 on September 8, 1991. Thus, under the 1989 amendments to Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c), the limitations period for the offenses committed by appellants did not expire until September 1991.
In 1991, the legislature amended Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c), by removing the provision that a complaint could not be made after the victim attained age 25 and by extending the limitations period to three years after the offense was first reported to law enforcement authorities. 1991 Minn. Laws ch. 232, § 3. The amendment became effective August 1, 1991 and applied
1991 Minn. Laws ch. 232, § 4.
to crimes committed on or after that date, and to crimes committed before that date if the limitations period for the crime under Minnesota Statutes 1990 did not expire before August 1, 1991.
The complaints against appellants were filed within eight months after L.A. first reported the offenses to law enforcement authorities. The district court properly determined the complaints were timely.
, 524 N.W.2d at 519 (applying the 1989 and 1991 amendments to Minn. Stat. § 628.26(c) retroactively to extend the limitations period for a criminal sexual conduct offense that began in 1982 and completed in 1986).
Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
Appellants incorrectly state that the limitations period was three years in 1982 and that it was amended to seven years in 1984. The statute of limitations was amended from three to seven years in 1982, and the amendment became effective August 1, 1982. 1982 Minn. Laws ch. 432, § 1.