Why is Raping a Dog Only a Misdemeanor in Oregon?

Here’s a question I bet you haven’t given much thought to: why the bloody hell is sexually assaulting a dog only a MISDEMEANOR in Oregon? Behold this revolting story in the (Bend)Bulletin about this depraved couple who are accused of sexually abusing children and also, a dog. “Charges against the executive director of a Bend-based membership organization for health care providers and against a McMinnville woman allege sexual conduct with children, as well as with a dog,” reads the story lede.

The article has few details—probably a good thing— but I was shocked to read that sexually assaulting an animal is only a class A misdemeanor, while solicitation to commit sexual assault on an animal is just a class B misdemeanor. What are class A and B misdemeanors, you ask? Class A is something like shoplifting, DUI, writing a bad check and can be up to a year in prison; class B could be a charge like disorderly conduct or carrying a concealed weapon with no permit, offenses that could send you to the slammer for up to six months. Raping a dog seems just a trifle more serious than those crimes, don’t you think?

  •  After you’ve had your photo in the paper as a child and dog-rapist, how do you ever show your face in public again? I’m not encouraging John William Ryan and Cassie Lynn Nelson to kill themselves but when they get out of prison, perhaps they should very seriously consider moving to an uninhabited island—preferably one populated with ferocious, rabid dogs and venomous snakes. Seriously, if they stay here in Bend, a small city of just 80,000, they will face a lifetime of, “Hey, aren’t you the one who raped the dog?”
  • The court documents are sealed but one cannot help but wonder how the police know that they raped a dog? The children can testify against them but what about the dog? Dogs obviously aren’t walking into rape crisis centers or calling rape victim hotlines.  Did these sickos record their assault? Did the police walk in on them and catch them in the act? If so, they qualify for PTSD disability pay, IMHO.
  • If they are somehow found not guilty of raping the dog, could the dog sue them in civil court?
  • As an avid consumer of the news, I’m almost desensitized to reading stories about men who commit horrific crimes. I can almost believe that this guy committed these unspeakable acts. But what I have a hard time understanding of how he got his girlfriend involved in bestiality. It should be noted that he was charged with a host of crimes, but she was only charged with sexually assaulting the dog—nothing else. Now, I’m not going to dwell on the semantics here of whether she had sex with the dog or the dog had sex with her but most women, if their boyfriends suggest sex with a dog, have the good sense to say, “You know what, I don’t think this relationship is working out.” This gal? She apparently said, “Why not?”
  • I’m not an expert on bestiality crimes but I’m guessing that most involve men acting alone, not couples. This guy had a woman with him who—if she was willing to have sex with the dog—would presumably have been up for having sex with him too. Why the need to get dogs involved?
  • I’m not trying to make light of this situation, but I wonder how a prosecutor can prove sexual assault on an animal? Is there such a thing as consensual bestiality? We live in such a sick, depraved society that I really can’t be sure.