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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alaska, WI
Location: Alaska, WI
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Sex with a mannequin? S.D. Supreme Court says keep it behind closed doors
Michael James Plenty Horse's indecent exposure conviction was overturned by the South Dakota Supreme Court.
By Mallory Simon
If you have sex with a mannequin behind closed doors, you cannot be found guilty of indecent exposure, according to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
In a 5-0 ruling, the justices Thursday overturned the conviction of Michael James Plenty Horse for indecent exposure because he didn't attempt to arouse others when he tried to have sex with the mannequin in a dark, closed room at a YMCA in Sioux Falls, S.D.
On Nov. 14, 2005, Plenty Horse, then 19, went to the YMCA's Alumni Room, which housed memorabilia and photos of local high school students, including a mannequin wearing a band uniform, on the second floor of the building.
Once inside the empty room, he closed the door, turned off the lights, took the mannequin over to a desk and began trying to have sex with it, according to court documents.
A security guard opened the closed door, turned on the lights and saw Plenty Horse on top of the partially undressed mannequin, his pants down and a wadded piece of paper in his hand, court documents said.
Plenty Horse immediately rolled off the mannequin and began adjusting his pants when he saw the security guard, according to the ruling.
When questioned by police, he said he had not seen his girlfriend in a year.
A judge found Plenty Horse guilty and gave him a suspended sentence, placed him on supervised probation for three years and ordered him to register as a sex offender. An appeals court affirmed Plenty Horse's conviction.
Plenty Horse's attorney argued throughout the legal fight that, while what the young man did with the mannequin would likely offend people, he did not "flash" his genitals "in hopes of being observed, thereby gratifying himself sexually."
The justices ruled that the trial judge and the appeals court had misinterpreted the indecent exposure statute because they ignored the main issue — whether Plenty Horse exposed his genitals intentionally to arouse himself or someone else.
By closing the door, shutting off the lights and moving behind a desk, Plenty Horse appeared to be trying to keep the act private, the justices found.
"Nothing establishes that his conduct was done with the specific intent to generate sexual arousal or gratification by the act of publicly exposing, displaying or offer to the public view, his genitals," the ruling said. "Therefore, the defendant's act, lewd though it may have been, does not fall within the purview of the indecent exposure statute."
Public defender Traci Smith and Frank Geaghan, the assistant attorney general in Pierre, S.D., could not be reached for comment.
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