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Minnesota Supreme Court chamber
In the Supreme Court’s analysis, Justice Anne K. McKeig focused on the word “encourage” in interpreting the language of the statute at issue, which states: “Any person who by act, word, or omission encourages, causes or contributes to the need for protection or services is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.” This photo shows the Supreme Court chamber in the Minnesota Capitol. (File photo)

Justices rule on child protection

Encouraging dangerous behavior can result in conviction, court rules in reversal

The state does not have to prove that a child actually is in need of protection or services to convict a defendant of encouraging that need, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in the case of a man with a “delusional fantasy” about marrying a 10-year-old girl.

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