Wisconsin is Not for Dead Lovers: Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Necrophilia is a Crime

The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed a lower court and reinstated the criminal case of sexual assault against win brothers Nicholas and Alexander Grunke and Dustin Radke. The lower court had ruled that Wisconsin law does not expressly make necrophilia a crime.

The decision was 5-2 with Justice Patience Roggensack, writing a majority opinion with three other justices, ruling that assault occurs where sexual intercourse occurs without consent and the dead cannot consent. “A reasonably well-informed person would understand the statute to prohibit sexual intercourse with a dead person,” she wrote.

Actually, there is a legitimate question as to the applicability of assault as opposed to a statute that directly prohibits necrophilia. The victim is a corpse, not a person. Once you die, there is a change in legal status. For example, you can defame the dead and a corpse can be harvested for parts. The men now face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Obviously, few people are sympathetic with the men, who can be charged with criminal trespass and other crimes. They went into a cemetery in 2006 to dig up the body of a 20-year-old woman who died a week earlier in a motorcycle crash. Only the concrete lid prevented them from carrying out their intention to have sex with the corpse.

The trial court decision was upheld on appeal — holding that the law did not expressly cover necrophilia. I find those opinions persuasive. A host of other crimes are implicated in this conspiracy, but assault is not a clear fit.

For a copy of the opinion, click here.
For the full story, click here.

8 thoughts on “Wisconsin is Not for Dead Lovers: Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Necrophilia is a Crime

  1. Prof. Turley,
    How can these crazies be charged with sexual assault when they didn’t even touch the body. Did I miss something in the story? As you suggested, I can understand charges for trespassing and maybe a criminal charge for desecrating a grave, but how can they get charged for thinking about assaulting a dead person? If they can be prosecuted for thinking about having sex, there are alot of teenage boys who are really in trouble tonight.

  2. “Once you die, their is a change in legal status”
    Is their a legal status before your born?

    Your no longer a human when you die, so your not human before your born!

  3. […] That leads to some trouble in the courts. In Wisconsin a few years back, three young men were arrested while trying to dig up a corpse for sex. Since the state didn’t have an explicit necrophilia ban, they were charged with attempted sexual assault for their intent to have sex with an unwilling party. But an appeals court threw out their conviction, saying a corpse isn’t a person under state law, and therefore consent isn’t an issue. (The state Supreme Court, apparently afraid of suborning a corpse-banging epidemic, voted 5-2 to restore their conviction on shaky legal grounds.) […]

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