Sex-Offender Laws Keep Minn. Man ‘Down’ 17 Years After

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota’s sex-offender laws were made to keep tabs on sexual predators, but a Minnesota man says they’ve also kept him from success.

Kevin Cross was 19 when a video tape surfaced of him having consensual sex with his 17-year-old high school girlfriend.

As a result of his girlfriend saying she was unaware of the taping, Cross was convicted for use of minors in a sexual performance.

“I’ve been down ever since it happened,” Cross said.

It happened 17 years ago.

Now Cross and his family send much of their time trying to figure out how to clear his name. Jobs have come and gone, and many potential employers don’t hire Cross due to his sex-offender status. He has many letters from ministers, friends, family, and even a former probation officer, but they still don’t clear his name.

Lumped in the same group as a level one, two or three sex offender, Cross also has to register where he lives.

“I know I’m not a sex offender. I’m not a predator, I’m not nothing like that,” Cross said.

University of Minnesota professor Mike Miner works with predatory offenders and thinks Cross’ situation shows why it’s time to reexamine the sex-offender registration laws.

“I don’t know anybody ever intended for this kind of situation to result in registration,” Miner said.

On the other hand, Pam Zellers of the Sexual Violence Center sees a danger in changing a law that’s meant to protect.

“I think you’re always better off having a protocol or having law that sets a standard for which everyone has to operate,” Zellers said.

In 2003 Kevin failed to register after a move. Five years later, he went before the pardon board and was denied.

He recently asked to re-apply for a pardon board hearing, but he was denied again.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • Sam I am

    No sympathy – at 19 years old he was plenty old enough to know right from wrong. He videotaped himself having sex with a minor and got caught.

    Had there been no video tape there would not have been a crime.

    • Ven

      Sure hope your son (or daughter) doesn’t date someone two grades ahead – would you be so dogged on your convictions?

      • poor poor pitiful me

        Ven….I’ll teach my kids that they shouldn’t video tape sexual encounters without permission and you can do whatever you want

        • Ven

          Well there goes a great plan…I’ll teach them to be perfect…let’s see, how many time have we’ve heard that? Is that an explicit conversation you’ll have – everything is above board but the dreaded video tapping aspect of teenage relationships? But of course, your teenager will listen to every single word you tell them, sorry.

        • Give me a break.

          Ven-yeah right you’re gonna sit down with your kids and talk about videotaping sexual encounters? That’s a knee slapper.

    • Sam I am is an idiot

      Okay so the guy has CONSENSUAL sex with a GIRLFRIEND and ends up in trouble for 19 years? So aside from common sense (this should not be something causing he to be a sex offender 19 years later) THINK ABOUT all the tax payer expenses and courts being tied up with this BS while other important cases get delayed.

      Democracy doesn’t always work and most politicians are idiots…this is a great example.

      • Sam I am

        You missing the point. The sex isn’t the issue its the videotaping of a minor without her knowledge or consent. That is child pornography in the eyes of the law. I certainly hope you aren’t the type that condones production of child pornography which is what this is.

        I could give a rip about the sex, but you can’t videotape a person without their knowledge that is a crime. But apparently you are too hung up on the sex to realize that.

        • Oh Prof?

          I love how the “Professor” finds reasoning behind taping a teenager, permission or not..

          Of coarse this comes as no surprise, everytime I turn on the news, it’s another teacher having sex with a student.

    • LEE

      He didn’t get in trouble for having sex with a 17 year old, he go in trouble for videotaping a minor.

      • DefenderUS

        Uh, how do you figure this is rape? Even the conviction didn’t accuse him of rape. Open your eyes and ears.

    • We need people working,not victims

      I do believe these laws need to be reexamine. This young man’s case is not unusual., but it does illustrate how this current law denies the ability of people, like Kevin to work. Because of one mistake he has to pay for it his entire life. I would much rather see this young working productively at a career than to see him being denied the right to work because he cannot pass the background checks. Contrary to the opinion of Pam Zellers I do believe we need to re-examine this law.

      • Dave

        I’m sorry, did you say videotaping a minor is a mistake? I have a feeling while he was videotaping, it was no mistake…it was intent! Huge difference.

        you protrayed him as a victim? Wow

    • Lonnie Jensen

      I thought the age of consent in Minnesota is 16 years old ? My wife is a Social Worker for a Minnesota County and worked child protection in the past. According to her, she says the county she works in interputs the law as age of consent to be 16.

      • M B

        Again, this isn’t about him having sex with a minor, which he was, but the videotaping the act without her knowledge or consent.

        Age of consent, as far as I know, sets the age at which they can consent to sex. Statutory Rape has to do with a person of majority having sex with a minor. Two 16 year olds having sex= OK. One person of majority having sex with a minor= Not okay. At least that’s how I understand it. This of course gets tough when they are close together of age and near 18, because it’s common to have sex with someone within a couple years of your own age.

        However, there’s more than one side to the story here. SHE said she didn’t agree to it. She may have, yet reneged later just to get him in trouble or to not look too… promiscuous (there’s a better word here but I’m sure the filters will block it). She could have been influenced by her parents to say so. That’s why these rape laws are double edged swords. Yes, they protect innocents yet they can be used as horrible weapons. There’s no real legal repercussions for falsely accusing someone.

  • Victim Du Jour

    Only people who belong on a sex offender registry are violent sex offenders who use force, employ a weapon, or kidnapping to engage in an actual physical act of sodomy or intercourse. (including minors)

    The #1 purpose for humans being on earth is to
    have reproductive organs.

    Why spend billions castrating everyone who isn’t Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Rob Lowe, Micheal Jackson, Roman Polanski, Deb LeFave and Mary Kay Laterneau?

    • Victim Supplesse.

      I always knew you were a sexual predator Victim Du Jour.

      • Victim Du Jour

        Why am I a sexual predator? Nazis used to castrate people for questioning the government and dissent too, it was called “Action T-4”

        • Tom

          They castraded them becuase they were not part of the German Race.

          • Victim Du Jour

            They were castrating anyone they wanted, including dissenters. They interviewed a German woman on the history channel who was sterilized for being upset with the Nazi Party in Public.

            Ben Stiene’s movie “Expelled” talks about the Nazi Eugenics program.

    • Todd

      By the way, Mary Kay Laterneau, is now married to her sweetheart from high school. He’s now a DJ (Mary is a assistant DJ)

      The two just did a “Hot for Teacher Night” at a local bar! The trouble continues.

      • Victim Du Jour

        They allowed Deb LeFave home monitoring, and let her work at McDonalds.

        So sex offense laws are being used to weed out ugly and misfit people in the United States for the same reasons the Nazis used them.

  • justice served

    Who cares if my tax money ruined a white rapists life. they should have locked the girl up too. how the that sound for reproduction.

  • Linda

    This is terrible. One mistake at 19. They are only 2 years apart. Charge him with a misdemenor and let it go. What is happening here is real molesters are getting away. He is not a predator. WHen I was in highs school it wasnt a crime and btw the 17 year old shouldnt not be having sex, she knows right from wrong too!!

    • steve - o

      agree with Linda 100%. Too bad she isn’t a politician….we could use people like her in office!

      • lll

        Linda’s spelling certainly matches up with most ignorant politicians…hang the prick, if it was my daughter he would have even less sympathy. Jerk is idiot, look at him- uneducated moron.

        • anita

          wow you need to settle down she made an error in spelling, don’t get off topic fool.

        • Wanna be Educated moron

          Is that right, stay behind your computer desk, your daughter probably getting more then you. on tape! I can only imagine what you look like and what you done in your idiotic small life. are you a women or a man? maybe a hermaphrodite. I would like to know I’m sure the lady Linda would like to know who’s calling her ignorant. Sense your the one who ranks intelligents I think we would like to know who you are. Mr. or Miss/Hermaphrodite

      • Thaywold

        People with terrible grammar are already in office.

    • Something needs to change!

      Mistake made too!

      Linda, even if they would have made it a misdemeanor it can still haunt you. I dated a girl when I was 17 and turned 18 in the process. Parents all knew and we dated for almost a year until feathers got ruffled and I was charged because we were 30 months apart. The misdemeanor came back to haunt me 20 plus years later when I wanted to volunteer at my child’s school and needed to fill out paperwork in which they look at misdemeanors too. When I was charged 20 plus years ago it was reduced to a misdemeanor because it was agreed that it shouldn’t haunt me for the rest of my life! There also wasn’t computers and background checks back in the 80’s like there are now.

      Knowing what I know now I wish I could go back and change things. No one comes to high school and tells us that dating someone two grades lower than you can result in being considered a sex offender. Had I known that i would have never dated anyone even if they were 6 months younger than me!

      I haven’t had anything other than a speeding ticket on my record for over 20 years and yet this still haunts me and the stigma that goes with it. The girls brother was a groomsmen in my wedding. We are facebook friends and she sends me a Christmas card every year. I might never be able to volunteer at my child’s school or coach sports even though I am the furthest thing from a threat there is! I made a mistake! I also feel that I have paid for that mistake too!

    • fred

      what about the videotaping sex with a minor part……without their knowledge….I think this is what makes it a FELONY.

  • Keep Trying

    the article says that “jobs have come & gone” it would be interesting to know if he is fired from these jobs, does he quit or does he just get let go….sounds like he has had some second chances

    • We need people working,not victims

      He was likely in jobs that were less desirable because many places when they do a back ground check will turn him down. If you are a sexual offender you are not able to get a job working around vulnerable adults like nursing homes, hospitals. Banks will likely not hire this person because these background checks. Again, this law is illustrated of the need to re-examine the law and change it to prevent this from occurring to another young person.

    • Marshaire Marshbanks

      He had been let go at jobs he has gotting do to the background checks. He has always told his employeers about this. Employeers can let you work in tell the background reports come back.

  • shane

    that guy would have been better killing her that way he gets 10 years serve 5 with good behavier then 5 years probation but 19 years for sex that the girl wanted also thats stupid wheres her punishment for having sex underage pretty sure thats illeagle on her part too and does that mean all that kids that take and pass nude cell phone pics are sexual predatiors too?

    • Me Tho Tupid

      he didn’t serve 19 years in jail, Christ who read the article to you, obviously you aren’t smart enought to read

      • Ven

        Well in essence he has served 19 years – b/c regardless of what he does, what he has paid for, he’s basically cutoff from normal productive means of society b/c of this bogus event. No, he’s not sitting in a jail cell, but he’s not able to tap into any of his talents, get a meaningful job, etc – actually, that’s worse than jail – wouldn’t you think?

    • Need people working, not victims

      Shane, that is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard.

  • anon

    I think laws should be changed. My daughters were molested by their older brother my stepson, he lives in Wisconsin, but the crime happened here, the DA said he deserved a second chance because he was only 19, when he made a full fledged confession to the detective. He was malicious on his actions and confessed when busted! I think my stepson should of got prison time but the case in the article should of been a lesser charger so many years probation and so many years of registration, but I don’t think lifetime registration is warranted, that’s if the girl said it was consensual.

  • James

    I think most people who have read this article are dumb. The reason he was in trouble was because he recorded a girl without her consent. Not because of her age. That being said, I don’t believe he should have ever been a registered sex offender. Misdemeanor, and if it happens again then up the ante…

    • Sam I am

      Agree with you James. Most people didn’t read the article in its entirety or we wouldn’t be having the conversation about a 17 and 19 year old having sex, which isn’t even newsworthy.

      I don’t believe in waiting for the next time. What if the videotaping next time was of a 10 year old…just saying.

    • Richard in Minneapolis

      “Not because of her age.” ? The article clearly states: “Cross was convicted for use of minors in a sexual performance.” One year older and reason for conviction, i.e. a minor, would have not been there.

  • Dave Seavy

    I think some of these people who have “absolutely no sympathy” either consider themselves so perfect that they would never screw up, or they’ve never had a family member’s life ruined by this registration law. You can get drunk, run over someone and kill them and do far less time than this guy has had to deal with in terms of registering. This hatred and division got a huge boost from Pawlenty, who made his meal ticket on sex offenders. I’m not defending the actions of sex offenders, but in some cases, they don’t belong lumped in to a group.

  • Tex

    He is pubicly punished (registration) because of the filming of a minor engaged in sex. The aricle doesn’t say he even knew it. I’m guessing he did though. If she weren’t a minor, would it not have been a crime? Probably not, as long as it was consensual. So, it is because of her age. The sex isn’t the issue. Filming isn’t really the issue. The issue is that one of the filmed participants was a minor. Guess I agree with “anon” – this is not the typical sex offender situation, and the law should be changed. Lifetime punishment is inappropriate.

  • Joseph G.

    How do I get contact with that brother – I too am a victim – I need some help and information – I was one of the very first person with having to register and I have the paper work that shows my innocence and the recanting of my ex-fiance bogus charge they never convicted me of any sexual crime only that I had to register only because I was charged with a sex crime. Hey Mr. Cross I might be able to help you and in return I need your help – where are you at ? – I NEED SOME TYPE OF HELP AND SUPPORT MYSELF – 1994 Domestic Abuse Case thats all it was now I don’t know how to get in contact with Kevin

  • jeff

    i think it’s rather rude to be taping someone without their knowledge perioid. the fact that they were only two years apart is helpful in that there is a difference between that and a man that is 43 doing the same thing with a child of 7 years. that in my opinion is predatory. the guy made a stupid decision and he should have to pay, but should he be lumped in with real predators? i don’t think so.

    • Dave

      German Concentration Camp…. he’d fit in there quite well.

  • sue

    jeez, if he would have murdered her he’d be free by now….

  • ya boy

    you sound stupid and racist.

  • ya boy

    I think it’s too bad that the dude has to register as a sex offender but he sis record this young lady without her consent. That’s a choice that he made and he obvisously didn’t think about the consequences when he was probably bragging and showing off the tape to his friends. I have no sympathy for his act because it was careless and selfish and he should have to deal with the consequences of his actions. Lets imagine how she was feeling when he was probably showing that garbage off. Would anyone like it if it were their daughter, sister, friend, aunt, cousin, or loved one.

    • Marshaire Marshbanks

      He never showed it off or bragged about. The young lady in question knew about it she even held the camara if you people really what to know.

  • self made victims

    I’d like to see what jobs he says he’s been prevented from working and why. I’d also like to see more info about why the video became public and to whom. I think those facts have relevance before I make judgment. That being said, he failed to register when he moved. If he’s been fighting this for 19 years, he should have known that was a requirement and just taken care of it whether he thought it fair or not. That way he had one less issue to solve. I work with these guys (and gals) and it never ceases to amaze me how they are 100% innocent of their bad decisions.

    • Marshaire Marshbanks

      Self made look at how many 17,18,19, and 20 year olds have video of them having sex. What about these stupid girls sending txt pictures of themselves to men 40,45,and up. This man made a mistake that the young lady knew about she held the camara in her hands she was part of it not only that she told the judge that also. She told 18 a week after it was recorded. So ask yourself why is she not beenikng punished also? Oh wait because her mother is white.

  • Nancy Aleshire

    Message for Joseph G.–contact the Innocent’s Project–they may be able to help you. Men do get put into prison for consensual sex–all it takes is one woman “crying rape” because they are embarassed or want to get back at the guy. The judge will almost always believe the victim and there are no witnesses. Granted this man should not have videotaped him and his younger girlfriend having sex, but it is not like he was marketing the video. It sounds like no harm came to the girl, so this whole thing was blown way out of proportion.

  • msmers

    Last I knew, this type of crime was not deserving of a life sentence, yet, essentially this is what he gets. Many others like him are prevented from participating in a normal life because of a crime that follows them around for the rest of their life – long after serving the sentence determined by law and judges. This is not okay. This man is not a threat to society, for whom the registration laws were designed. Instead, unable to work, he will become a further drain on society, relying on the government or illegal ways of bringing in income.

  • Let's change the law to give them a chance to work

    This law illustrates the power of the womans movement in this country. The system is stacked against the men in every way because of the laws that are written. Politicians who write these bills do so to score public points. This young did a stupid thing by taping this event, but aside from that how many of you when you were 19 can say you made smart decisions. I would suspect that many of you will admit there were things you did that if caught would be punished like this guy was punished. I would rather see this young man contribute to the economy with income taxes and a long career than sitting on benefits because he can’t pass the back ground checks.

  • pat

    just look at his drug face, uggg he has never accomplished anything with his life because he was lazy and so crude and heartless he would video tape his girlfriend with the intent to sell it. We see his twins time after time poor poor pitiful me. Your whole culture has glomed onto victim hood, so enjoy. He were classified as a sex offender because he is one!

    • Need people working, not victims

      Look at his drug face? Has never accomplish anything? He was lazy and so crude and heartless? Pat you are a very racist person for saying that. If you are a woman you are probably one of those woman’s rights people who walks in support of abortion. If not then you are still a racist, pitiful person who has no compassion for someone who made a dumb mistake when they were young. I DO think this law needs to be re-examine to give these men the opportunity to redeem themselves by being able to be hired by employers without the risk of being turned down because of their background check. I also think woman should be forced to wear a large ‘A’ for adulterous when they have been caught committing adultery.

      • sue

        So you’re calling some racist, while you are being completely sexist?

    • Marshaire Marshbanks

      For your information pat he has never in his life touched a drug or drink of any kind. He has two college degrees and what do you have?

  • Romericus J Sims

    poor SAM I AM is unaware that most of the times percapita its a white male that is molesting and so forth. in faCt ppl like SAM eventualLy make the news for such. not to say black ppl dont do that. sam REMINDS ME OF THE fat lady in HR that only sees black and white

  • Cross

    To all with positive comments, thank you. To the negative people, please stay that way if that’s how you feel. Please know there is so much more to this story. I will be 37 next month, I am a full time student. I was 18 when I met my ex girlfriend at high school back in 1992, I had no criminal background before, during or after. I was 19 years old in a court ordered sex group with men 40,45,50 and much more older then I was, telling story’s of how they molested 5 year old baby’s. This is one out of many situations I would never ever forget or wish on you. This was not a hidden video recorder this was a full size VHS that was and plan sight; Back then there was no small cameras. I’m not looking for no ones pity I just want and need my life back starting with some justice. Before you judge know the real story.



    • Cross

      Thanks Sheldon, some really don’t understand, it’s way more to it then how WCCO told it.

  • J. Mitchell

    To all who have passed judgement without knowing all the true, giving facts. First and foremost ,Kevin Cross is a man of honesty. Second he is someone very dear to my children and I. In the beginning of our relationship Kevin presented his story to me allowing me the choice to continue having him around my children and I. For all of u that do not know me, my children are girls . Being the mother I am, I took it upon myself to investigate this on my own to see if all that he shared was factual and true. After what I saw it all presented itself to be factual and very true. This defiintly appeared to be an honest mistake in my eyes. This took alot of courage for Kevin to come forward and share his story with me because of the fact that I had 2 girls and he was a registered offender.An honest mistake two teenagers made consentually. Both knowing the tape was being made and not knowing the adverse affect it would have later on one’s life is minute to what these teenagers do now a days. I also have a 19 year old son and the things these teens due today is outlandish. Kevin is a fulltime student whom I have watched be denied job after job due to his background check. Kevin is not an offender of any sexual nature.Infact he is very good with kids. Kevin has not givin up with the road block. He still tries to do all he can to employ himself and better his life inspite of the mistake that has cost him his life today.I support him in all that he does. Kevin has NOT been denied the Board of Pardons. He will be attending this fall. I’m believing this year will be Victorious for Kevin to be Granted his Pardon. For all of you out there who are perfect and have never done wrong nor made a mistake in life…… GOOD LUCK WITH THAT……….A hard lesson to learn , but one that Kevin has beared.

  • Jason

    Here is an idea, dont tape yourself having intercourse with anyone. I get it, you da man.

    • To the FBI guy can 4get miss lower case pat

      Hey jason, that was cool how u was right to the point, your the best! no mistakes from you (ever never) even when you was a teenager right? that’s what make your comment so good but wait to think about it “you the man!” I bet you could work for the FBI your so clean???? who the hell are you, we all can be sarcastic. There’s no talent in that. (He was young, it’s not that hard to understand) yor jus a DON’T KNOW small person.

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