Although Old McDonald had a farm, he probably didn't think anyone was going to sexually assault his cows.
The same can be said for a farmer in upstate New York, who was wondering why his heffers seemed anxious and "were not producing as usual," the Utica Observer-Dispatch reports. Surveillance video in a barn revealed the answer, showing a man named Michael Jones filming another man, Reid Fontaine, allegedly trying to have sex with the farmer's cows.
For their alleged crimes against nature, the men are charged with sexual misconduct. But does that charge apply when the victim is a cow?
New York's Sexual Misconduct Law
Under New York's law, a person is guilty of sexual misconduct if he has sexual intercourse or oral sexual conduct with another person without consent. However, the law doesn't stop there.
In New York, a defendant can also be found guilty of sexual misconduct when he engages in sexual conduct with an animal or even a dead human body. That's different from some other states like California, where the crimes of sexual assault and rape only apply to non-consensual sex between humans.
Based on the sex tape no one asked for, Fontaine, 31, was apparently trying to have sex with the cows while Jones, 35, filmed it. So the sexual misconduct charge seems applicable -- at least for Fontaine.
Defense to the Alleged Deed?
But what about Jones, who apparently was just there to record Fontaine's encounters in the barn? A good criminal defense attorney may be able to convince a court that Jones isn't guilty of sexual misconduct because he didn't actually have sex with a cow.
Still, prosecutors could potentially charge Jones with other criminal offenses such as:
- Conspiracy to commit sexual misconduct. For a conspiracy to exist, two or more people must agree to commit an unlawful act and take some action toward the completion of the act.
- Trespass. Jones was on the farmer's property without his consent, so he could get charged with trespassing.
- Cruelty to animals. If the prosecutor thinks that Jones intentionally caused serious injury to the cows and did so in a sick and sadistic manner, he could also be charged under New York's animal cruelty law.
Both Jones and Fontaine are set to appear in court at a later date, according to the Observer-Dispatch. If convicted of sexual misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor, they could each be locked up for up to a year in jail.
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