Focused On Defending Your Future

Do not let criminal charges limit your future. We can effectively
fight whatever criminal charges you are facing.

Matt M. McClenahen

Pennsylvania Man Charged with Miniature Horse Molestation

| Aug 29, 2016 | Pennsylvania

miniature-horse-thumb-400x336-75396.jpg

A 21 year-old, Pennsylvania man has been charged with a non-residential burglary and sexual intercourse with an animal following an August 16, 2016, incident in Lancaster County. Ephrata Police allege that Travis Wagner entered a barn with the intent of committing a crime therein. Usually, theft is the crime intended to be committed when a person unlawfully enters a building and is charged with burglary. But in this case, the only thing allegedly stolen was the poor miniature horse’s dignity and innocence.

The police allege that a witness saw a suspicious man enter a barn and then leave a short time later. Armed with a description of the vehicle and the license plate, the police were able to track down Wagner, who then allegedly admitted to entering the barn to have sex with a miniature horse. This confession is a classic example of why most suspects should keep their mouths shut when interrogated by police without a lawyer present!

Strangely enough, sexual intercourse with an animal is only a second degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, punishable by a maximum penalty of one to two years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine. Most people convicted of a second degree misdemeanor can expect probation if they have no prior record. By contrast, burglary of the barn at a time when no person is present is a second degree felony punishable by a maximum penalty of five to ten years of incarceration and a $25,000 fine. A defendant with no prior record could usually expect a sentence of probation or county jail followed by a period of parole, if convicted of this type of burglary.

Some may be surprised to learn that sex with an animal is not a SORNA offense in Pennsylvania, meaning that a person convicted of this offense does not have to register as a sex offender. SORNA stands for “Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act,” and it replaced the older Megan’s Law. Like Megan’s Law, SORNA determines which offenses require one to register as a sex offender and for how long. For whatever reason, the drafters of SORNA did not deem sex with an animal to be as bad as a 19 year old high-school janitor having sex with an 18 year-old student. The 19-year old janitor in this scenario would be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years if convicted of institutional sexual assault!

Pennsylvania has a long history of absurd laws surrounding sex. In fact, this is the state, which once accidentally legalized bestiality for a period of time. You can read about it in this blog post: http://www.mattmlaw.com/blog/2013/07/sex-offenses-bestiality-was-legal-in-pennsylvania-from-1995-to-1999.shtml

Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense attorney in State College, Pennsylvania. http://www.mattmlaw.com/About-Attorney-McClenahen/

FindLaw Network
super lawyers 2013
view my profile on avvo