ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ A state task force studying how sexual assault cases are handled in Minnesota says there are serious shortcomings in the investigation and prosecution of the cases.

A draft report recommending legislative reforms obtained by the Star Tribune says Minnesota suffers from ``systemic and complex'' deficiencies in how police and prosecutors process sexual assault cases.

State Attorney General Lori Swanson created the task force in September following a Star Tribune investigation that found widespread lapses in how the assault cases are handled, including failures in police training and staffing. The report notes that ``some sexual assault cases are not prosecuted due to inadequate investigations, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness for the role of trauma-victim survivors.''

The panel expects to release a final report with recommendations for the Legislature Dec. 18.