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Tort Law

Bondage Case to Define Too-Unsafe Sex?

Posted Oct 11, 2007 4:39 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Both the victim and the perpetrator are dead. But the estates of two men who died as a result of a dangerous sexual practice are involved in a cutting-edge tort case that could help define what adults can and cannot consent to do.

Adrian Exley, a 32-year-old British stripper known as "Studpup," died during a three-day discipline and bondage session in 2006. Hooded and tightly wrapped chin-to-toe in plastic and duct tape, he suffocated after the straw inserted into his mouth for breathing allegedly became dislodged, reports the Associated Press.

He agreed to meet 48-year-old Gary LeBlanc in a "playroom" equipped with rubber mats, a hospital gurney and leather restraints in the basement of the sales executive's suburban Boston home. But Exley didn't know, when he did so, of LeBlanc's reputation as an "extreme edge player"—or agree to what LeBlanc (aka Rubrman) would do, contends the wrongful death case filed by Exley's estate against LeBlanc's.

"Just because you are agreeing that you will allow someone to tie you up temporarily as part of role-playing doesn't mean that you are consenting to be killed or to be left alone or to be abused," says attorney Randy Chapman.

And the way Exley died—alone in a closet, while bound, according to a note LeBlanc left when he committed suicide months later—violates accepted bondage protocol, which says an immobilized person shouldn't be left alone, the article explains. LeBlanc reportedly shot himself to death after police focused on him as a suspect.

But John Andrews, a lawyer who represents LeBlanc's estate, says Exley accepted the risk. "What occurred was an act or actions between two consenting adults, both of whom knew what they were doing, and it had a tragic end," he contends.

The Salem Superior Court case was filed in August 2006, according to the Guard Post, a gay leather-oriented newsletter. It says LeBlanc left $2.5 million that, under his will, would go to his family and a longtime companion.

A third man also was allegedly involved in the bondage session and helped bury Exley's body in a Rhode Island park. He, too, has also been named as a defendant in the estate's tort case.

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