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Lawmakers want to make sex with animals, child sex dolls illegal in Kentucky

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Kentucky lawmakers use labels like “disgusting” and “not part of acceptable dinner-time family conversations” to describe the sexual behavior they want to outlaw.

At issue in this year’s General Assembly are bills to crack down on sex with non-human animals and child sex dolls.

Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville is pushing Senate Bill 67 to ban any act between a person and an animal for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, abuse or financial gain.

Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, is sponsoring Senate Bill 102 to make it a crime to manufacture, distribute, sell, transfer or possess a doll, mannequin or robot that is intended for sexual stimulation and has features that resemble a child.

The Senate unanimously approved both measures this week and sent them to the House for its consideration.

During debate in the Senate on her bill, Adams said of bestiality, “It’s an issue not easily discussed and certainly not part of acceptable dinner-time family conversations.”

Also “shocking to many Kentuckians,” she said, is that Kentucky is one of only five states that does not prohibit sex with animals. The others are West Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico and Hawaii.

Adams said research has shown “a direct link” between domestic violence and animal sexual abuse and child sexual abuse and animal sexual abuse.

Her bill says a person would be guilty of sexual crimes against an animal if he or she engages in sexual contact with an animal, advertises, solicits, offers or accepts the offer of an animal with the intent that the animal be subject to sexual contact or causes or aids another person to engage in sexual contact with an animal.

The sexual crimes would constitute a Class D felony, subject to one to five years in prison. “We should denounce this heinous act,” said Adams.

Exemptions are in the bill for accepted veterinary and husbandry practices.

“We don’t want farmers or veterinarians to be prosecuted for pulling a calf out at birth,” said Kathyryn M. Callahan of Louisville, state director for Humane Society of the United States.

She said her group was “thrilled” with the bill and that the Kentucky Farm Bureau has signed on with it.

The only concern about the bill raised during the Senate debate on it came from Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson.

Webb, an attorney, said she agrees that sex with animals is unnatural but she believes the crime can be prosecuted under existing law.

Callahan said there can be prosecution now if there is evidence that the animal was injured, but that evidence is not always there.

Westerfield said he started work on SB 102 after Kenton Commonwealth’s Attorney Ron Sanders told him about a Northern Kentucky case in which a man was found with a child sex doll and child porn.

“He couldn’t prosecute for the child sex doll,” said Westerfiled. “There’s no crime against possessing a doll that is made to look like a child to be used for sexual gratification.

“That’s a disgusting thing and we should make it against the law.”

SB 102 would make possession of a child sex doll a Class D felony. Trafficking such a doll would be a Class C felony and importing one would be a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable to five to 10 years in prison.

Also, a person could face a Class C felony when found guilty of knowingly procuring or soliciting patrons for a child sex doll or provides premises for the use of a doll.

The Stop Abuse Campaign, based in New York to fight child abuse, says a child sex doll can normalize a pedophile’s behavior, emboldening them to harm children.

The U.S. House approved legislation last year to ban the distribution and sales of the dolls but it did not get through the U.S. Senate.

Melanie Blow, a spokeswoman for Stop Abuse Campaign, said her group is encouraging states to pass such legislation but she is not aware of any doing so yet.

Jack Brammer is Frankfort bureau chief for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He has covered politics and government in Kentucky since 1978. He has a Master’s in communications from the University of Kentucky and is a native of Maysville, Ky.