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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Police Charge Sexual Assault Case with Sodomy Law

Sodomy laws were found to be unconstitutional in Lawrence v Texas. That doesn't seem to have stopped police in North Carolina from charging a North Carolina gay couple with "crimes against nature".

Raleigh police are charging two adults for sodomy in private, although the U.S. Supreme Court appears to have outlawed such charges five years ago.

Police on Saturday charged two West Raleigh men with a "crime against nature" for having sex early that morning. Each faces up to two years in prison if convicted of the Class I felony.

But that charge is unconstitutional, a state lawmaker says.

And the circumstances of the encounter are murky.

Raleigh police first charged Nelson Keith Sloan, 40, of Grand Manor Court, who called them to his apartment about dawn, saying he had been attacked.

Police later filed the same charge against Ryan Christopher Flynn, 25, of Glen Currin Drive.

They also charged Flynn with simple assault for biting Sloan. And they charged him with communicating threats by telling Sloan he was going to disembowel him and show him his innards.

"This looks like a case of a consensual act that may have gotten out of hand," said Raleigh police Capt. T.D. Hardy. "The law is still on the books. Our detectives got involved in it last night and decided this was the best thing to do. What the D.A.'s office will do with it, I don't know."

Sloan, however, said he was the victim of an assault.

"I didn't allow anything," he said Saturday after being reached at home by phone. "They knew it and turned it around and arrested me. I have never been so humiliated in all my life. It's just awful."

Police did not charge Flynn with any sort of sexual assault.

Flynn, who has past misdemeanor convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia and assault by pointing a gun, could not be reached for comment.

This will mean that gay couples won't want to call police in the case of sexual assault. Years ago the reason Skip Humphrey opposed Sodomy Law repeal was because he felt sodomy laws were needed to prosecute public sex acts. That made no sense, since those actions could already be prosecuted under other laws.

The Minnesota sodomy law is still on the books:

609.293. Sodomy

Subdivsion 1. Definition. "Sodomy" means carnally knowing any person by the anus or by or with the mouth.

Subds. 2 to 4. Repealed by Laws 1977, c. 130, § 10, eff. May 20, 1977.

Subd. 5. Consensual acts. Whoever, in cases not coming within the provisions of sections 609.342 or 609.344, voluntarily engages in or submits to an act of sodomy with another may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

This doesn't just cover gay people. When Tom Prichard from the Minnesota Family Council testified against repealing this law, he said that repealing this law would increase teen pregnancy. When I debated Prichard on Nick Coleman's radio show on KSTP AM, Prichard suggested there be an exception in the law for heterosexual married couples to engage in oral sex. I'd like to see that Prichard amendment get debated on the floor of the house.

The Minnesota Law was overturned by a local judge, and the ruling was not appealed by Attorney General Mike Hatch. The North Carolina situation argues for legislative repeal of the Minnesota Sodomy law.


Amber said...

I think it is completely unnecessary and an invasion of privacy to tell the addresses of these two men who have just had their worlds rocked my homophobic police officer's on a power trip. I hope you are held accountable if any harm comes to them because of your irresponsible reporting.

Unfortunately no matter how wrong or distorted your story may be, people will believe it. Your story paints a graphic picture of a sexual deviant, which could be very far from the truth. Is trying to sell newspapers really worth destroying these two men's lives???