Former William Mitchell sports law professor Clark Calvin Griffith, 70, has been charged with indecent exposure in a meeting with a 24-year-old student. The son of the former owner of the Minnesota Twins, Griffith resigned from the faculty and denies the charges.
The law student accused Griffith of exposing himself after meeting her at a restaurant to discuss his help in the law clinic. She alleged that he made inappropriate comments, kissed her, and unzipped his pants while walking her to her car.
Griffith denies the charges but faces what the police describe as incriminating voice mails and text messages. In a Jan. 25 voice message, Griffith allegedly warned, “Any hint of anything here and I get shot. You don’t want that, do you? That was amazing, by the way.” He also reportedly told the student that he was in an “absolute daze” when he exposed himself and added “I didn’t know what I was doing. I came out of it in about 20, 20, or 30 seconds and then I said, ‘God, what am I doing?'”
The student responded in one email about how difficulty this has been for Griffith by saying “I understand you’re having a hard time, but what about me? You made me touch you with your pants down while people were driving by and walking their dog behind the car!? How do I get over that?”
If true, that would be pretty damaging evidence. In one of the more prophetic messages, Griffith reportedly added “It is my fault. Instead of a complaint to the school, you need only tell me. Now I risk life, marriage, career and reputation. … ”
The law student could pursue a torts claim in such a circumstance for intentional infliction of emotional distress. As it stands, it is not clear that such a criminal charge would be greater than a misdemeanor. Perhaps any of our readers in the Minnesota bar could help us out.
Here is the Minnesota statute:
617.23 INDECENT EXPOSURE; PENALTIES.
Subdivision 1.Misdemeanor. A person who commits any of the following acts in any public place, or in any place where others are present, is guilty of a misdemeanor:
(1) willfully and lewdly exposes the person’s body, or the private parts thereof;
(2) procures another to expose private parts; or
(3) engages in any open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior, or any public indecency other than behavior specified in this subdivision.
Subd. 2.Gross misdemeanor. A person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of a gross misdemeanor:
(1) the person violates subdivision 1 in the presence of a minor under the age of 16; or
(2) the person violates subdivision 1 after having been previously convicted of violating subdivision 1, sections 609.342 to 609.3451, or a statute from another state in conformity with any of those sections.
Subd. 3.Felony. A person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both, if:
(1) the person violates subdivision 2, clause (1), after having been previously convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for violating subdivision 2, clause (1); section 609.3451, subdivision 1, clause (2); or a statute from another state in conformity with subdivision 2, clause (1), or section 609.3451, subdivision 1, clause (2); or
(2) the person commits a violation of subdivision 1, clause (1), in the presence of another person while intentionally confining that person or otherwise intentionally restricting that person’s freedom to move.
Subd. 4.Breast-feeding. It is not a violation of this section for a woman to breast-feed.