Carlos Romero, the Florida farmhand, race-horse exerciser and groomer who was caught in a barn engaging in an intimate act with his miniature donkey, Doodle, and arrested in September, has accepted a plea bargain on December 17 in Marion County court, according to The Gainesville Sun.
Romero testified earlier this year that he wanted his case to go to trial and that he would fight to get Doodle back. The plea agreement was reached on the day jury selection would have begun.
The agreement also occurred just days after Romero’s three Assistant Public Defenders filed a motion in Marion County court on Dec. 6, challenging the constitutionality of the charges against Romero.
The legal trio handling Romero's case (on taxpayers’ money) -- Joshua Wyatt, Scott Schmidt and Joshua Lukman--claimed that Florida’s relatively new anti-bestiality law, prohibits any and all zoophilic acts, infringes upon Romero's due process rights and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution by interfering with “personal liberty and autonomy when it comes to private intimate activities,” according to documents obtained by The Gainesville Sun..
They claim that there was no injury to the donkey, and that prosecutors can't claim that act was non-consensual.
"The personal morals of the majority, whether based on religion or traditions, cannot be used as a reason to deprive a person of their personal liberties."
“If the statute were to require sexual conduct with animals to be nonconsensual or to cause injury in order to be a crime, then perhaps the State would have a rational basis and legitimate state interest in enforcement,” the motion stated.
The attorneys also claim that the statute's designated punishment for a first-degree misdemeanor conviction, a year in county jail, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and is excessive.
“The classification of zoophilic acts as first-degree misdemeanors is grossly out of proportion to the severity of zoophilic acts,” they added.
Zoophilia or bestiality are terms from the Greek (zṓion, "animal") and (philia, "friendship" or "love") is the practice of sexual activity between humans and non-human animals (bestiality), or a preference for or fixation on such practice, according to Wikipedia.com.
When Carlos Romero, 32, was arrested in September after being discovered engaging in some taboo behavior with Doodle, he declared that "Florida is a backward state." (Note: As of 2012, having sex with animals is illegal in 37 U.S. states. Most of the individual anti-zoosexual state laws were created recently (between 1999 and 2012.)
When Marion County Sheriff’s detectives questioned him about the incident, they state in their report, “Romero admitted that, when the donkey is in heat, he will stand behind her, scratch her withers and masturbate.” He says he “likes the way her fur feels on his privates,” according to WSTP-TV.
Romero denied doing anything sexual to the donkey "because she's blooming into maturity" but said he eventually would have. He provided a lengthy, very graphic description to Sheriff’s detectives regarding his prior sexual involvement with horses and his long-time sexual attraction to them. (See link below/)
The plea-bargain agreement reached will not include any jail time, but Romero will pay a fine of $200 and be on probation for one year. He also agreed to undergo STD testing and submit to a psychosexual evaluation. He will be prohibited from all contact with children or animals. This offer was originally refused by Romero because he claimed he would not be able to work and would become indigent.
JUDGE REJECTS CONSTITUTIONALITY ARGUMENT
Marion County Judge Steven Rogers did not grant the argument made by Romero’s lawyers that laws on the books in Florida prohibiting sexual contact with animals violated the U.S. Constitution, opining in part:
“Upon reviewing the subject statute, this Court is confident that a person of ordinary intelligence would have ample notice that sexual conduct or sexual conduct (as defined by the statute) with a donkey is prohibited.”
Romero states he will appeal the court’s decision, but explained that his decision to enter into the plea agreement was based the fact he can do more work on an appeal being free on probation than if he were serving time in jail. It was unclear whether an attorney would be involved in his intended challenge.
The judge earlier had delayed a hearing to determine whether Marion County can officially take legal custody of Doodle, for whom he claims he paid $500. Doodle is currently being held at the County animal shelter and the County wants to put her up for adoption. The custody hearing was delayed to November 11.
SEX WITH ANIMALS – A SIN OR A CRIME?
Although sex with animals is not outlawed in some countries, it is not explicitly condoned anywhere. In most countries, bestiality is illegal under animal abuse laws or laws dealing with crimes against nature.
Passages in Leviticus 18 (Lev 18:23: "And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it: it is a perversion." RSV) and 20:15–16 are cited by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians as categorical denunciation of bestiality.