Tag Archives: consensual sex

Iowa man who didn’t tell his sex partner he had HIV wants conviction overturned

A Plainfield, Iowa man sentenced to 25 years in prison for failure to notify his sex partner he carried HIV went before the Iowa Court of Appeals this week.

Nick Rhoades had pleaded guilty to failing to disclose his HIV status before having sex with a Cedar Falls man in June 2008.

His attorneys say the contact was consensual, Rhoades used a condom and HIV was not transmitted.

Rhoades, whose sentence was reduced and who has been on probation, claims he should not have been advised to plead guilty because he lacked the intent to spread HIV required to be proven by state law.

Rhoades, who had to register as a sex offender for life, wants his conviction overturned.

Lesbian teen accused of underage sex back in Florida jail after plea deal withdrawn

A lesbian teenager accused of having sex with her underage girlfriend was taken back into custody in Florida after the prosecutor withdrew a negotiated plea deal.

Kaitlyn Hunt, who is now 19, was booked into the Indian River County Jail on Aug. 19. She was still in jail early Aug. 20 but expected to post bail.

Hunt is charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child.

The regional state attorney’s office withdrew a plea offer on Aug. 19 alleging that Hunt violated pretrial conditions by contacting the girl.

The Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers reported that the bond company that posted her initial bail brought Hunt to the jail.

Hunt, according to authorities, engaged in sexual relations with her 14-year-old girlfriend last year. Florida law says that an individual under 16 years old cannot legally consent to having sex. So, such a relationship is a felony.

Hunt’s family – and a growing legion of Internet supporters – says that the teenager was arrested because the girlfriend’s family objected to a same-sex relationship.

Hunt’s supporters also maintain that she likely would not be facing criminal prosecution if she were a boy.

Montana lawmakers approve repeal of old law criminalizing gay sex

The woman who led the court battle to strike down a Montana law that made gay sex illegal knows that having the unconstitutional law struck from the books is a symbolic act.

All the same, Linda Gryczan began to cry when the state House finally brought the issue to the floor earlier this week.

“I was actually surprised. Knowing it’s a symbolic victory, I didn’t realize how important it was going to be until it was there,” Gryczan told the Great Falls Tribune.

Senate Bill 107, the measure that strikes from the state code the obsolete language criminalizing gay sex as deviate sexual conduct, passed its final legislative hurdle on April 10 with a 65-34 vote in the House.

The Senate approved the bill earlier in the session, but it took the vote of more than 60 representatives to remove the measure from the House committee where it was stuck to hold floor votes on April 9 and April 10.

The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

Gryczan was the lead plaintiff in a 1995 lawsuit that led to the unanimous 1997 Montana Supreme Court decision that ruled the law unconstitutional.

But legislators resisted removing the obsolete language until now, as gay and lesbian advocates protested its continued presence was a reminder they were once considered felons.

“It’s been a burr under my saddle for all these years that I’ve just learned to ignore,” Gryczan said.

She and other advocates hailed the passage of the bill as a landmark victory for gay and lesbian rights in Montana.

Jamee Greer, a human rights activist and a lobbyist for the Montana Human Rights Network, said Republican legislators are coming around to recognizing that gays and lesbians deserve to be treated as equals.

“The fact is language matters, and those words matter. It’s a relief to know this is moving forward,” Greer said.

As more people make their sexual orientation known their friends, families and neighbors, it makes it easier for politicians from both parties to stand in favor of gay-rights issues, Greer said.

Helena City Commissioner Katherine Haque-Hausrath, who won her 2010 election campaigning on the passage of a nondiscrimination ordinance in Helena, said the Montana Legislature is now “on the right side of history” when it comes to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

“I think this is just part of the growing momentum toward equality for LGBT people,” Haque-Hausrath said.

ACLU sues in Nevada over anti-gay ‘crimes against nature’ law

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada is asking a federal court to declare unconstitutional a state law that calls consensual sex between two same-sex teenagers “the infamous crime against nature.” The law allows for a possible sentence of five years to life in prison.

The civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of a Washoe County teen referred to as John Doe seeks just $1 in damages from Elko County and District Attorney Mark Torvinen. But it also seeks to invalidate what ACLU state legal chief Staci Pratt called a “homophobic relic” of a bygone era.

“The law says that if you are engaged in a same-sex relationship and you’re between the ages of 16 and 18, you’re committing a crime against nature,” Pratt said earlier this week. “The law is patently unconstitutional because it treats identical conduct differently based solely on whether the sexual activity involves two persons of the same sex.”

Kristen McQueary, a prosecutor in Torvinen’s office, did not immediately respond to messages about the lawsuit.

The state law makes it a felony if a person “incites, entices or solicits a minor to engage in acts which constitute the infamous crime against nature.”

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Reno notes that the age of heterosexual consent in Nevada is 16.

It alleges that the 17-year-old plaintiff was arrested last year in Elko on juvenile delinquency charges alleging that consensual sex he had with two other teens violated a narrow provision of state law that Pratt said criminalizes sexual contact between people who are 16 to 18 and of the same sex.

One charge was eventually dropped, and the teen pleaded guilty last November to a reduced misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was sentence to perform community service.

Pratt said the ACLU was seeking class-action status in the case because prosecutors in other Nevada counties could file similar charges under similar circumstances.

“No DA should have the power to prosecute a teenager who’s above the age of consent for homosexual activity,” Pratt said. “We could see this happen again and again.”

Another push to repeal of Montana sodomy law

Activists again will push to repeal an obsolete and unenforceable law in Montana that says consensual same-sex sex is a crime.

The courts struck down the sodomy law in the 1990s, but anti-gay lawmakers continue to protect its place in state code.

The Montana Supreme Court in 1997 ruled as unconstitutional the portion of the deviate sexual relations law that includes “sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex.”

Senate Bill 107, introduced by Montana Sen. Tom Facey, would remove it from state code. The Missoula Democrat said the time has come to strike a law that is unenforceable and offensive.

“Words do matter. I hope you can pass this bill to get the unconstitutional words out of our code,” Facey said.

Groups opposed to the law have tried for years to get the Legislature to formally strike language they argue is hurtful. Two years ago, a similar proposal to repeal the law cleared the Senate only to die in the more conservative House.

But since then, the Montana Republican Party has removed from its platform the position that it seeks to make homosexual acts illegal. The party remains opposed to gay marriage.

Freshman Republican state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, of Superior, said he is co-sponsoring the measure because it “respects the rights of Montanans.”

Opposition in a hearing on the repeal was muted compared with arguments in past legislative sessions over the matter. Only two stood to oppose the bill.

Dallas Erickson, with Montana Citizens for Decency Through Law, argued that the courts got the decision wrong. He said his group opposes the gay “lifestyle” and argued that such an anti-sodomy law has been on the books since statehood because it reflects the values of the state’s residents.

More than a dozen advocates told the Judiciary Committee that it is time to remove the language.

“Please, make our laws match our constitution,” said Linda Gryczan, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to the Montana Supreme Court’s decision to rule the law unconstitutional.

The Montana County Attorneys Association also supported the bill.

The committee did not take any immediate action on the measure.

Jamee Greer, with the Montana Human Rights Association, noted it has also been 10 years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional another state’s similar law.

“We are hopeful they are going to do the right thing this time,” Greer said.

Man recants story of teen sex with Elmo puppeteer

In a quick turnabout, a man who accused Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of having sex with him when he was a teenage boy now says they had a relationship as adults and it was consensual.

The man, who has not identified himself, released his statement this week through the Harrisburg, Pa., law firm Andreozzi & Associates. It is not known why he made the accusation.

Sesame Workshop, which produces “Sesame Street” in New York, soon followed by saying, “We are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode.”

Clash also responded with a statement, saying he is “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest.” He had no further comment.

Neither Clash nor Sesame Workshop indicated when he might return to the show, on which he has performed as Elmo since 1984.

The whirlwind episode began on Monday morning, when Sesame Workshop startled the world by announcing that Clash had taken a leave of absence from “Sesame Street” following allegations that he had had a relationship with a 16-year-old.

The 52-year-old divorced father of a grown daughter swiftly denied the charges of his accuser, who now is in his 20s. In that statement Clash acknowledged that he is gay but said the relationship had been between two consenting adults.

Though it remained unclear where the relationship took place, sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is at least 21.

Sesame Workshop, which said it was first contacted by the accuser in June, had launched an investigation that included meeting with the accuser twice and meeting with Clash. Its investigation found the charge of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated.

Clash said on Monday he would take a break from Sesame Workshop “to deal with this false and defamatory allegation.”

Elmo had previously been a marginal character on “Sesame Street,” but Clash, supplying the fuzzy red puppet with a high-pitched voice and a carefree, child-like personality, launched the character into major stardom. Elmo soon rivaled Big Bird as the face of “Sesame Street.”

Though usually behind the scenes, Clash achieved his own measure of fame. In 2006, he published an autobiography, “My Life as a Furry Red Monster,” and he was the subject of the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”

He has won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy.

Stings target gay men in South Carolina

Undercover stings to crack down on prostitution and public sex are snaring individuals engaged in consensual, legal activities and should be stopped. That’s the argument of the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of South Carolina in a complaint letter on Aug. 16 to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and the state solicitor’s office.

The ACLU refers to several incidents in which undercover officers approached people parked in their cars, sitting on their own porches or walking down the street and asked suspects to engage in illegal sexual activity, including prostitution and having sex in a public place. The individuals either declined or offered to engage in lawful private sexual contact and were arrested.

“Consenting adults should not be arrested for acts that don’t break any laws,” said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina. “These sting operations enable officers to make as many arrests as possible, while they do nothing to stop actual criminal activity from occurring.”

Officers, the ACLU says, have repeatedly arrested individuals for being in places known to be frequented by prostitutes, for being “known prostitutes” or merely saying they’d “think about it” when officers approached them to solicit illegal activity. Officers have also arrested men who have sex with men even when the suspects clearly sought to engage in private, consensual, non-commercial sex instead of sex in a public location.

In one case, an undercover officer offered a woman a ride and tried to persuade her to accept money in exchange for sex. While she said she wouldn’t do “the prostitution thing,” they continued discussing a place where they could have sex, and the woman rubbed the inside of the officer’s thigh. She was arrested for sexual assault and battery and loitering to engage in prostitution. A similar incident occurred when a man was arrested for assault for touching a male officer who asked to engage in oral sex.

Undercover sting operations have been criticized by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services as an ineffective way to deter street prostitution or public sex. Instead, the Department of Justice recommends other tools, such as the use of prominent warning signs or visible patrol units as more effective strategies that are less prone to abuse.

Grenada man arrested for having sex with another man

Police have arrested a man for having sex with another male on the eastern Caribbean island of Grenada, where a law against homosexual acts remains on the books but is rarely enforced.

A 41-year-old man was charged with having sex with an unidentified 17-year-old man, Grenada’s director of public prosecution, Christopher Nelson, said.

The age of sexual consent in Grenada is 16 but while the sex in question was consensual, local law prohibits sodomy under the charge of “unnatural connection.”

Grenada is one of several Caribbean nations that have laws banning sex between men. The penalty in most islands, including Grenada, is up to 10 years in prison, although Barbados and Guyana have life imprisonment, according to a 2010 United Nations report.

Many islands remain socially conservative, with Jamaica considered one of the most hostile islands toward homosexuals. A gay right activist was killed there last year, and three gay men were attacked and beaten in St. Lucia in March. Gay cruises to the region also continue to draw protesters.

In Grenada, gays are discriminated against and find it hard to find employment and housing, said Nigel Mathlin, president of GrenCHAP, a local nonprofit organization that represents marginalized groups.

“The government, they are very much aware of the changes that need to be made, of bringing our laws into line with international human rights principles,” Mathlin said.