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Week of 3/19/2018

Week of 3/19/2018

With the 2018 Kentucky legislative session winding down and a toothless bestiality bill suffocating in the Senate Ag committee where its co-sponsor sent it to die, one thing has become even clearer. The heavily-gerrymandered good-ol’-boy network that rules the General Assembly will not tolerate a criminal statute that even thinks of punishing people who rape animals (and children).

Having heard mutterings for nearly two years about Kentucky legislators’ unwillingness to outlaw bestiality, I want to state unequivocally that I do not suspect lawmakers in Frankfort of personally using animals for sex. Given the otherwise inexplicable facts, I can see why many are wondering about that. But we have yet to discover any evidence at all of any Kentucky lawyer or legislator having sex with animals.

No, that only happens in Pennsylvania.

You heard me. Ivan DeVoren, whom KDKA calls a “prominent” Pittsburgh environmental lawyer, allegedly assaulted his six-month-old Golden Retriever 10 or more times. Detectives removed the dog from DeVoren’s residence and charged him with 10 felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty, 10 counts of sexual intercourse with an animal, and possession of heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Some of my friends might jump to the conclusion that using illegal drugs can lead users to sexually assault animals. While I could rattle off several reasons folks should avoid using drugs recreationally, fear of getting so high that you try humping your dog isn’t one of them.

Though we don’t see it in the DeVoren anecdote, animal rapists often prey upon human children. For yet one more example of that, we turn to California. An investigation began in 2013 when the five-year-old son of a transient couple disclosed to authorities that his parents had molested him. Roy Ling and Sara Wilson were finally apprehended in Victorville, CA in December 2017, and they were charged in February with “lascivious Acts with a child.” Investigators are now looking into whether the couple sexually assaulted their dogs too.

It’s no surprise that police take allegations of bestiality seriously. Detectives who work sexual assault cases recognize animal rape as a strong predictor of sexual violence against vulnerable humans. They’ve seen numerous cases like Keylin and Sheila Johnson, the Indiana couple that was just charged with sexually abusing both their children and their dog. According to an affidavit, Mr. Johnson began abusing his teenage children six years ago. Police allegedly found sexually explicit photos of the Johnsons’ 13-year-old daughter on Mr. Johnson’s mobile phone and laptop.

Reading through the comments sections of related news reports, I’m amazed how many folks publicly fantasize about torturing and killing alleged offenders like the Johnsons. It seems there’s no method of execution too gruesome or sadistic when the person we’re shooting, hanging or sawing in half may have been guilty of assaulting a child or animal. So, viewing all these reader comments as a cross-section of public sentiment, it seems we’re willing to do just about anything to perpetrators of bestiality and child abuse. But in Kentucky, we’re not willing to elect lawmakers who would defy special interests and enact a bestiality law that puts sexual predators in prison.

The legislators we do elect say that enacting a law against bestiality would be a victory for “the animal rights extremists.” Meanwhile, animal sexual assault has been outlawed just about everyplace else.

So congratulations, Kentucky. Your government is working hard to ensure the Bluegrass State remains safe from “extremists,” and an eternal Shangri-La for moderate, kind Americans who just happen to get off on animals and kids.