Criminal Justice

Rape Law Bans Sex With Dead Bodies, Wisconsin Supreme Court Says

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Reversing lower court judges who said Wisconsin criminal law doesn’t prohibit necrophilia, the state supreme court held today that rape law bans sex with dead bodies.

Because rape law prohibits sex with an unconsenting victim, “a reasonably well-informed person would understand the statute to prohibit sexual intercourse with a dead person,” writes Justice Patience Drake Roggensack in the 5-2 majority opinion (PDF).

Two dissenting justices said the law was intended not to ban necrophilia but to permit rape charges when the victim was also murdered, according to the Associated Press.

The case arose from an alleged attempt by three young men carrying shovels, a crowbar and condoms to dig up a corpse in a Wisconsin cemetery in 2006 after one saw an obituary photo of an attractive 20-year-old woman who had been killed in a motorcycle accident a week earlier. Although they reportedly couldn’t get into the concrete vault in which she was buried, they were charged with attempted sexual assault and theft after a police officer responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the Cassville cemetery.

“The ruling reinstates attempted sexual assault charges against twin brothers Nicholas and Alexander Grunke and Dustin Radke, all 22,” the AP article recounts. “They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.”

A defense lawyer for one points out that the charges have not yet been proven.

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