Man convicted of statutory rape appeals his case to Minnesota Co - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Man convicted of statutory rape appeals his case to Minnesota Court of Appeals


Christopher Holloway, 47, was back in Rochester's halls of justice on Thursday.

The former Rochester coffee shop owner was convicted of statutory rape (third and fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct) in June 2016 for a crime he committed on December 21, 2014.

The then 44-year-old Holloway met a 14-year-old boy on the dating app "Grindr." The two exchanged messages for less than two days days before Holloway asked if he could go to the victim's house. The 14-year-old victim agreed.

When Holloway arrived at the victim's home, he went to his bedroom where the two had sex. The victim's mother later walked in and found them naked in bed together. She called police about a burglary. Holloway fled but police found him driving down a Rochester street minutes later.

According to a criminal complaint filed in December 2014, when Holloway met the victim in the 14-year-old's bedroom, Holloway asked the victim if he was really 18 years old since he looked younger. The victim claimed he told Holloway he wasn't 18 and that he was actually 14.

However, according to Holloway, the victim never told him his actual age. He was under the assumption he was 18.

Holloway was convicted of third and fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct less than two years later in June 2016. He was sentenced to eight months in jail, 15 years of probation, and had to register as a sex offender in September 2016.

On Thursday his appeal was presented before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. A three-member panel was in Rochester, as the Court of Appeals travels across the state hearing cases. 

The big question was should Holloway have been allowed to use the "mistake of age" defense.

The mistake of age defense means Holloway claimed he wasn't guilty because he thought the victim was of legal age.

However, since Holloway is more than 10 years older than the victim, he couldn't use that defense.

Holloway's attorney claims that's unconstitutional since the "10 years" is an arbitrary number. 

"So if the person really didn't know, that's their whole defense. That's why we say there is a fundamental right at issue, because that is their whole defense. If you take that away from them they have no defense whatsoever and that's what happened to Mr. Holloway in this case," said Max Keller, Holloway's attorney. 

"There is no rational basis for a 43-year-old to have that relationship, and the defendant is the 43-year-old. Who shows up and sees this kid and won't make any further checks about who he is...he's gonna go ahead and have sex with him in the kids house. And then we're gonna blame the kid for inviting him over. I find that really difficult to deal with," said James Spencer, who was representing the state of Minnesota.

Holloway is seeking a new trial and for his two convictions to be overturned.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has 90 days to issue a decision. According to the Minnesota courts website, 95% of the Court of Appeals decisions are final. However, around five percent of cases are sent to the Minnesota Supreme Court for further review.

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