Ah, yes, the Tennessee Code Annotated fails us again. This time around, it’s the old Catherine the Great thing, in reverse. xxxxxxx xxxIt seems that, when they wanted to bring charges against a man accused of having sexual intercourse with a miniature horse, the best charge Rutherford County authorities could come up with was one of indecent exposure.
Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal reported several weeks ago that a 68-year-old Eagleville man was charged with indecent exposure, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, because he disrobed before having sex with the horse. They couldn’t charge him with anything more severe because Tennessee’s bestiality statute was wiped away in 1989 when the criminal code was rewritten.
Given the lurid details of the incident, it caused an understandable controversy in Murfreesboro. According to the Daily News Journal report, the man’s neighbora woman whose curiosity may have gotten the best of her this timewatched the man “taking the female horse into a carport and heard the horse make unusual noises.”
The newspaper then quoted the warrant for the man’s arrest: “The [neighbor] then at the time could clearly see that [he] was having intercourse with the horse.” The neighbor then called the Sheriff’s Department to report the offense.
At first, the man denied having sex with the horse, but he later confessed to a detective, the newspaper said. He was booked and then released on bond. His hearing is set for Nov. 5 in General Sessions Court. In the meantime, he’s undergoing counseling.
Tennessee’s statute outlawing crimes against nature either with mankind or with any beast was on the books for 160 yearsfrom 1829 until 1989, when the code was reconsidered and, in some places, rewritten. Given the fact that most acts of bestiality used to take placeand probably do still take placeon farms and in other rural, isolated settings, they were rarely prosecuted successfully. Obviously, the victims could not file complaints, and witnesses were few.
Many considered the anti-bestiality statute as one of Tennessee’s outmoded lawson a par with the law that made it a criminal offense to beget a child by your wife’s sister. Even though both acts are uncommon and offensive to many people, they are now deemed to be matters of moral judgement rather than the concern of criminal law.
That said, news of the Murfreesboro incident was beginning to spread through the halls of the Legislative Plaza last week. When word began to get around, longtime state workers began to recall a case from years back, when a man from the hinterlands was accused of having sex with a chicken.
His response? “Well, it was my chicken.”
A while ago, the New York-based natural gas company Trigen Energy Corp. made a bid to convert the Nashville Thermal Transfer Plant into natural gas. But it’s only since the company engaged the services of attorney and former Democratic Party Chairman Bob Thomas that support for the conversion proposal has gained real momentum.
Armed with numbers that appear to show that Nashville could save some money if Thermal were to go the natural-gas route and stop incinerating garbage to heat and cool downtown buildings, Thomas has begun to make headway with various, often warring factions in Metro Council. Now the list of apparent supporters of the proposal includes conservative Council member Charles Fentress, who is state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, and Julius Sloss, who represents the downtown district where the thermal plant is located.
Also supportive are Council members Stewart Clifton, a friend of the environmental community, and at-large Council members Ronnie Steine and Chris Ferrell, among others.
The issue is coming to a head because Metro must decide whether to spend $27 million to upgrade the plant so that it meets federal Environmental Protection Agency standards, sell it to a private company to operate, or convert it to natural gas.
Metro Council member Sloss had planned to present a resolution at this week’s Council meeting, asking Mayor Bredesen to considerand act onTrigen’s proposal. However, Sloss changed his mind, and the resolution was expected to be deferred. But supporters for the natural-gas conversion say that doesn’t mean the idea is withering on the vines. It just means that Sloss was a little too quick on the draw. He’s backing down because everybody needs a little more time to consider the deal. The city may also have to request more bids on conversion before it could move forward with the idea.
Gridiron, the annual roasting of political types sponsored by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is coming up next week. Tickets are still on sale.
The dinner and cabaret-style show is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11, at the Renaissance Hotel, with proceeds going toward journalism scholarships for college students. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., dinner will be served at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $100 each. The deadline for reservations is Oct. 4. For information, call 780-3306.
Tickets will also be available at the door for the dress rehearsal 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Tickets for the rehearsal, which is usually almost as much fun as the show, are $10. Seating is limited. Doors open at 7 p.m.
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