(a) 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.
(b) This section does not apply to licensed social services agencies and outreach workers who, while acting within the scope of their professional duties, provide services to runaway children.
A complaint under this section may be filed by the county attorney having jurisdiction where the child is found, resides, or where the alleged act of contributing occurred. The complaint may be filed in either the juvenile or criminal divisions of the district court. A prior or pending petition alleging that the child is delinquent, a juvenile petty offender, or in need of protection or services is not a prerequisite to a complaint or a conviction under this section.
If the child's conduct is the basis for the child's need for protection services, it is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under subdivision 1 if the defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant took reasonable steps to control the child's conduct.
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