Case Snapshot
Case ID: 5034
Classification: Bestiality
Animal: horse
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Thursday, Jun 30, 2005

County: King

Disposition: Not Charged
Case Images: 1 files available

Person of Interest: James Michael Tait

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

A Seattle man died after engaging in anal sex with a horse at a farm suspected of being a gathering place for people seeking to have sex with livestock, police said.

The horse involved in the incident was not harmed, and an autopsy of the unnamed man concluded that "the manner of death was accidental, due to perforation of the colon", a police spokesperson said.

"The information that we have is that people would find this place via chat rooms on the Web," said Sergeant John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's department.

Although sex with animals is not illegal in Washington state, Urquhart said that investigators were looking into whether the farm, located in Enumclaw, 64km south-east of Seattle, allowed sex with smaller animals that resulted in animal cruelty, which is a crime.

There is no evidence that any money exchanged hands for the sex acts. There are several horses, bulls, dogs and other animals on the farm.

At this point no one has been arrested, but aurhorities are not ruling out the possibility of charges ultimately being filed.

At least one man with convictions for sex crimes is reportedly connected to the events at the farm.


Case Updates

James Michael Tait, 54, of Enumclaw, has pleaded guilty to trespassing in connection with a fatal horse-sex case. He was accused of entering a barn without the owner's permission. Tait admitted to officers that he entered a neighboring barn last July with friend Kenneth Pinyan to have sex with a horse, charging papers said. Tait was videotaping the episode when Pinyan suffered internal injuries that led to his death.

Tait pleaded guilty Tuesday and was given a one-year suspended sentence, a $300 fine, and ordered to perform eight hours of community service and have no contact with the neighbors.

The prosecutor's office said no animal cruelty charges were filed because there was no evidence of injury to the horses.
Source: The Boston Globe - Nov 30, 2005
Update posted on Nov 30, 2005 - 5:04PM 
The bizarre death of a man who had sex with a horse made dreadful headlines. But last summer's infamous Enumclaw animal-intercourse investigation did not turn up a rural crime wave of bestiality, authorities say. State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, however, plans to continue her push for a law barring such acts, worried the case revealed "an animal sex ring, a magnet for syndication of the sexual abuse of animals. People came from outside this state to engage in this activity because people knew they wouldn't be arrested."

Enumclaw Police and King County Sheriff's investigators ultimately expended little time on the case after determining no felony laws were broken. There was no convincing evidence of animal cruelty, and bestiality is not a crime in Washington. Investigators concluded that only three men were present when a 45-year-old Seattle man was killed while having sex with a horse July 2 at one of two neighboring farms where such acts took place in southeast King County. And only one suspect, James Michael Tait, 54, has been charged with a crime, first-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor.

"The sheriff's office did not find that any [felony] crimes had been committed," says sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart. Thus, "we didn't look too deeply into how many people had visited farm No. 1 [Tait's property] or how big an operation it was." Says Roach: "Right. What's the purpose of investigating further if there's no law against it? We're one of eight states without one. Animals are left unprotected, and it is abuse of an animal to sexually assault it." She suspects Internet chat has attracted out-of-state abusers, although all three men in the Enumclaw case were locals. "When you are dealing with the Internet," Roach says, "you just have to assume it's gone past state lines."

Tait, a truck driver who lives near the Southeast 444th Street farm where the death occurred, pleaded not guilty and awaits trial in Burien District Court. The second farm's owner was unaware the threesome had sneaked into his barn late at night, according to the King County Prosecutor's Office. Urquhart of the sheriff's office says that "typically," men were having sex with a horse on Tait's property, "but on this particular night it is my understanding that horse wasn't particularly receptive."

The man who died during the incident suffered a perforated colon after being penetrated by the neighbor's horse, investigators say. He also owned a horse of his own, according to the Humane Society, which says it is trying to find a foster home for the animal. "Bestiality," says local Humane Society director Robert Reder in a statement, "is an unsettling and uncomfortable topic." Nonetheless, "The people who engage in this behavior are victimizing animals."

According to charging papers, Tait told a sheriff's deputy that he and the two other men "came to know each other as a result of their common interest in having sex with horses and other animals." Tait and the man who later died both had sex with the neighbor's horse that night, according to the charging papers. The second man died while Tait was videotaping the encounter. The tape was later shown to the couple that owns the barn so they could confirm it was their horse, known as Big Dick. Enumclaw Police turned up as many as 100 VHS videos and DVDs. But with no applicable bestiality or animal abuse laws to enforce, authorities never viewed the tapes, Urquhart says.

Roach is still drafting the bill to criminalize sex with animals, which she plans to introduce at the legislative session that begins in January. Her e-mail and phone calls are running universally in support of a ban, she says. The bill, as a draft shows, may include felony provisions against videotaping the acts. Though she considered adding an Internet provision, she admits any such ban would be difficult to police-in part because the Internet is already teeming with animal-porn sites, such as Zoo Porn, which offers "zoo dating." Her draft bill reads: "A person may not knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal," nor knowingly "organize, promote, conduct, advertise, aid, or abet, participate in as an observer, or perform any service in the furtherance of an act involving sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose."

Still taboo, discussion of bestiality has been opened up by the freewheeling Internet, and other media as well. Recently, on the Alan Colmes Show on Fox Radio, the host asked radical antiabortionist Neal Horsley whether it was true he had sex with animals in the past. Horsley replied: "Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule." If that surprises some people, he added, "Welcome to domestic life on the farm. You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually."

Roach thinks animal abusers are often associated with child abuse, as well: "The studies people have sent me show how abusers develop by starting with something helpless, an animal; next is a child. These are patterns that develop." But her final bill will have to be carefully written, she adds, to exclude some farm-sex acts. "For example, farmers, in a routine way, inseminate animals with sperm they buy from veterinarians," the senator says. "That's an act of [animal] husbandry-that's different."
Source: Seattle Weekly - Nov 9-15
Update posted on Nov 11, 2005 - 3:55PM 
An Enumclaw, Wash.-area man who authorities say helped run a farm where people had sex with animals - and where a Seattle man died doing so with a horse - was charged with a misdemeanor Wednesday.

Police began investigating James Tait, 54, and another man who lived at the rural Southeast King County farm after the Seattle man died of injuries suffered during intercourse with a horse in the summer, Enumclaw police said.

The criminal-trespassing charge stems from a July 2 bestiality session involving Tait, the 45-year-old Seattle man and a horse in a neighbor's barn, charging papers say. According to the King County Medical Examiner's Office, the Seattle man died of acute peritonitis due to perforation of the colon.

King County prosecutors say it's the most-severe charge they could file; Washington is one of more than a dozen states that does not outlaw bestiality.

"There is no evidence of injury to the animal to support animal-cruelty charges," said Dan Satterberg, the county prosecutor's chief of staff. "This is the only crime we can charge."

When interviewed by The Seattle Times July 15, the horse's owners said they had known their neighbors for years. The couple, who asked to have their names withheld to protect their privacy, said they were shocked when police showed them a home video of the July 2 incident that investigators seized from Tait's home. The couple identified their barn and their horse.

According to the King County Sheriff's Office, which also investigated, the farm was known in Internet chat rooms as a destination for people who want to have sex with livestock. Authorities didn't learn about the farm until July 2, when a man drove to Enumclaw Community Hospital seeking medical assistance for a companion. Medics wheeled the Seattle man into an examination room and realized he was dead. When hospital workers looked for the man who had dropped him off, he was gone, Enumclaw police said.

Using the dead man's driver's license to track down relatives and acquaintances, investigators were led to the Enumclaw farm.

Because the other man who lived at the farm wasn't there the night the Seattle man died, he wasn't charged with trespassing, Satterberg said. Tait will be arraigned Oct. 27; he faces up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.

The Seattle man isn't being identified because his family asked that his name not be released.

The man's brother said he understands that prosecutors can't file a felony charge but remains disappointed that Tait wouldn't face more than a year behind bars.

In the wake of the man's death, state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, has said she plans to draft legislation making bestiality illegal in Washington.
Source: The Kansas City Star - Oct 19, 2005
Update posted on Oct 19, 2005 - 6:38PM 

References

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