Enumclaw horse sex case
|Date||July 2, 2005|
|Location||unincorporated King County, Washington, United States (near Enumclaw)|
|Cause||Acute peritonitis caused by traumatic perforation of the colon|
|Participants||Kenneth Pinyan (Mr. Hands), James Michael Tait, an unidentified male, and a stallion|
|Deaths||1 (Kenneth Pinyan)|
The Enumclaw horse sex case was a 2005 incident in which Kenneth Pinyan (June 22, 1960 – July 2, 2005), an American Boeing engineer residing in Gig Harbor, Washington, died from injuries received during receptive rectal sex with a stallion at a farm in an unincorporated area in King County, Washington, near the city of Enumclaw. Pinyan distributed zoophile porn under the alias Mr. Hands.
During a July 2005 sex act, videotaped by a friend, Pinyan suffered a perforated colon from receptive anal intercourse with a stallion and later died of his injuries. The story was reported in The Seattle Times and was one of that paper's most read stories of 2005. It was informally referred to as the "Enumclaw horse sex case". Video footage of Pinyan and a horse was later disseminated through the Internet.
Pinyan's death rapidly prompted the passing of a bill in Washington prohibiting both sex with animals and the videotaping of the same. Under current Washington law, bestiality is now a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
A documentary of the life and death of Pinyan, and the life led by those who came to the farm near Enumclaw, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival 2007 under the title Zoo. It was one of 16 winners out of 856 candidates for the festival, and played at numerous regional festivals in the United States thereafter. Following Sundance, it was also selected as one of the top five American films to be presented at the prestigious Directors Fortnight sidebar at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Kenneth Pinyan had worked for Boeing for eight years. He was previously married to a woman and had children with her. He had previously moved from Seattle to Oak Harbor, Washington. Before his death Pinyan was building a new house and a barn, in which he planned to place a horse, on the Key Peninsula Highway in Gig Harbor, Washington. He was about to begin making payments on his 30-year, $144,000 mortgage on it.
Pinyan previously lost the ability to experience certain sensations after suffering from a motorcycle accident, and became involved in increasingly extreme sexual acts such as dildos, fisting, and sex with horses. He was a part of a group of men who received anal sex from horses and sometimes had sex with one another afterwards. In 2015 Charles Mudede of The Stranger wrote that the men had a sexual fixation on large penises "that may have had nothing to do with horses." He also believed Pinyan did not truly love horses and was not a true zoophile.
The incident occurred at a 40-acre (16 ha) farm, located in an unincorporated area in King County, Washington, northwest of the city of Enumclaw. Pinyan, and a man named James Michael Tait (who lived in a trailer next to the farm), plus another unidentified man, often visited the farm to engage in sexual intercourse with the horses inside.
Prosecutors later determined that the horse had not been injured by being forced to engage in sex in this manner. According to the Medical Examiner's Office, Pinyan "died of acute peritonitis due to perforation of the colon", and the death was ruled accidental.
He was anonymously dropped off at the Enumclaw Community Hospital. On July 2, 2005, a man asked hospital staff for medical assistance for his companion. Pinyan was found dead in the emergency room, aged 45. The man who brought Pinyan into the hospital had disappeared by the time hospital staff came to contact him.
Media reports at the time of the trial suggested that despite seizing and examining carefully a large number of such videos from the property, no evidence of injury to the horses was found, precluding animal cruelty charges, and that the trespass charge against Tait were brought due to lack of grounds for any other matter:
It was only after Pinyan died, when law enforcement looked for one way to punish his associates, that the legality of bestiality in Washington State became an issue [...] The prosecutor's office wanted to charge Tait with animal abuse, but the police found no evidence of abused animals on the many videotapes they collected from his home. As there was no law against humanely having sex with one horse, the prosecutors could only charge Tait with trespassing.
The prosecutor's office says no animal cruelty charges were filed because there was no evidence of injury to the horses.
After Pinyan died, the authorities used his driver's license to find acquaintances and relatives. Earlier news reports stated that the authorities had used surveillance camera footage to track down Pinyan's companion. Using the contacts, the authorities found the farm where the incident occurred. The police tracked down the rural Enumclaw-area farm, which was known in zoophile Internet chat rooms as a destination for people who want to have sex with livestock, and seized hundreds of hours of videotapes of men engaging in receptive anal sex with horses. One of the videotapes featured Kenneth Pinyan shortly before he died on the 2nd of July.
Jennifer Sullivan, a Seattle Times staff reporter, said that originally the King County Sheriff's Department did not expect the newspaper to report on the event, because "it was too gruesome." After an Associated Press report stated that the farm where the event occurred attracted "a significant number of people" who wanted to partake in bestiality, the Seattle Times decided that it needed to write articles about the case, since multiple people were involved.
Criminal charges, guilty plea, and sentencing
The photographer, 54-year-old James Michael Tait, was charged with criminal trespassing in the first degree, because the owners of the farm, a third party, were not aware that the men entered the property to engage in bestiality. The third man was not charged since he was not visible in the videos seized by investigators. On November 29, 2005, Tait entered an Alford Plea, and Judge David Christie gave him a suspended one-year sentence, a $300 fine, and one day of community service. Judge Christie ordered Tait to never visit the farm again.
After Pinyan died, Pam Roach, a member of the Washington State Senate and a Republican from Auburn, crafted a bill that would ban bestiality in Washington State. Senate Bill 6417, which made bestiality a Class C felony, passed on February 11, 2006 with all 36 state senators voting for it. Bestiality had been legal in Washington state since 1976; It was incorporated in Washington's Sodomy criminal statute RCW 9.79.100 and repealed by the state legislature in 1975. Mudede wrote "It was an almost comically easy law to pass." Bestiality had no political support in Washington state, and no group in Washington state advocated for bestiality. The law is RCW 16.52.205(3). Mudede wrote that reading RCW 16.52.205 "is very much like reading hardcore porn." In addition, the law prohibits "videotap[ing] a person engaged in a sexual act or sexual contact with an animal" "either alive or dead." Because of the provision against videotaping, Mudede stated that the law "points an angry finger directly at James Tait."
After the laws changed, people who engaged in bestiality moved to other states which did not yet criminalize bestiality since they did not wish to be prosecuted for their acts. In 2015 Mudede said that he was unaware of any bestiality arrests in Washington State since the Pinyan incident.
In 2009, Tait and two other people were jailed in Maury County, Tennessee, accused of engaging in bestiality. In January 2010 Tait pleaded guilty in a Tennessee court to engaging in sexual acts with animals, and he was placed on probation.
Mudede wrote that at the time of the incident the residents of Enumclaw were shocked and angered by the incident. In 2015, ten years after the incident, Mudede wrote that Enumclaw residents were unwilling to acknowledge the incident.
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- Horse Riding Mr Hands, Washington
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- State of Washington, Fifty-Ninth Legislature (March 8, 2006). "Animal cruelty in the first degree". RCW 16.52.205. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
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- "Man in infamous Enumclaw horse-sex case faces new charges in Tennessee ." The Seattle Times. October 20, 2009. Updated October 21, 2009. Retrieved on February 7, 2016.
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