A Indiana man with a long history of repeatedly sexually abusing animals was released from prison in October 2017 but was not required to be chemically castrated as he requested.
Michael Bessigano, 46, was sentenced to time served on a probation violation in October and released from prison, according to the Chicago Tribune. Bessigano had been behind bars since he was arrested for sexually abusing a bird in 2013.
Bessigano pleaded guilty to stealing the bird and was sentenced to seven and a half years in state prison because he was a habitual offender, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana. He was set to be released in January 2017 when he was arrested on a federal parole violation charge.
In August 2017, Bessigano's attorney, Jennifer Soble, filed a sentencing memorandum requesting her client be released on time served and be sentenced to therapy and monthly injections of the drug Depo-Lupron. The drug would lower Bessigano's testosterone and effectively "chemically castrate" him.
"For obvious reasons, [more prison time] will hurt Mr. Bessigano: every day of incarceration is another day in which he is not receiving the hormone therapy that will end his sexual urges," Soble wrote in the court filing, according to The Times.
Soble also wrote that Bessigano's actions were "motivated by sexual desire, not by sadism or any desire to hurt animals."
"To the extent that Mr. Bessigano has accidentally injured or killed animals during the course of his sexual exploits, that harm is no greater than that imposed by meat-eaters and leather-wearers nationwide," Soble wrote, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Federal prosecutors disagreed with Soble, arguing that Bessigano should receive two more years in prison because of a psychological report stating his sexual affinity towards animals was partially motivated by sadism, according to The Times.
Bessigano's sentence will not include his requested chemical castration, but it will require him to participate in treatment programs for sex offenders and mental health programs, according to the Chicago Tribune. His computer and phone will also be monitored by probation officers.
Bessigano's trouble with the law started in 1993 when he was convicted of breaking into a barn and killing a dog, according to The Times. During his trial, Bessigano said he would rather live with animals than humans.
In 2009, Bessigano was sentenced to 33 months in prison for downloading bestiality porn on his computer. He was later arrested in 2013 for sexually abusing a guinea fowl, an African bird resembling a large partridge.