I’ll Have What She’s Having: Leading Atheist Arrested For Making Sexual Noises

We previously saw how police charged atheist activist Ellen Beth Wachs, 48, with unauthorized practice of law after she confronted local politicians over prayer at public meetings. Now, Wachs (the legal coordinator for the Atheists of Florida) has been arrested with a sexual performance in the presence of a child. The police, however, admit that no one saw any sexual act. Rather, she is accused of making sexual noises.

Police say that Wachs had asked a neighbor’s 10-year-old son to stop playing basketball early in the morning because she felt sick and the noise was bothering her. The boy stopped but a few minutes later he reportedly started again — with his Dad. They then say that they heard “moaning noises of a sexual nature” coming from her house. Deputies arrived and arrested her.

Atheists are objecting that this is a pattern of harassment by local officials directed at Wachs while police insist, while no one has been charged for sexual noises before, they have brought this charge in other cases. It turns out that making basketball noises is not a crime.

This could lead to an interesting first amendment claim as to why some noises are allowed while others are criminalized. This is akin to criminalizing swearing in public where the sounds themselves are considered profanity. I personally believe that Captain & Tennille’s Muskrat Love is highly disturbing. While a crime against art and society, it is not a crime. Seriously, the question is where is the line drawn on “sexual noises” under the criminal code?

We have seen a woman arrested for broadcasting porn near a school, but not the claim of sexual noises.

What is clear is that Meg Ryan should stay clear of Florida. In Florida, it turns out that “what she’s having” is a criminal felony charge:

Source: ABC

Jonathan Turley

92 thoughts on “I’ll Have What She’s Having: Leading Atheist Arrested For Making Sexual Noises”

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  9. Cross examination of first prosecution witness:

    Q: Now you testified, did you not, that what you heard was “nffff Nfffff oooooaaaaah, ah ah ah ahhhhhhhh, nfffffffffffoooooooooahhh!”

    A: No.

    Q: Will the court reporter please read back the testimony of this witness.

    Pros: Objection, judge!

    Judge: Uhhh…ah….mmmmmmmmmmmm!

    A: Your Honor may I respond?

    Judge: Was it good for you?

    A: Excuse me?

    Judge: No.

    Pros: Then it’s overruled?

    Judge: You’re very strict! Go on, counsel.

    A: What is the objection?

    Pros: Um, outside the scope of direct.

    A: No it’s not!

    Judge: What was that direct again?

    Court reporter: Did you want me to read that back or not?

    Judge: Read it back.

    Court reporter: He asked, Now you testified, did you not, that what you heard was “nffff Nfffff oooooaaaaah, ah ah ah ahhhhhhhh, nfffffffffffoooooooooahhh!”

    A: No no, I meant read back the testimony that this witness gave on direct.

    Court reporter: Oh. Um…here it is: “nooffff Noofffff oooooaaaaah, ahow ahow ahow ahhhhhhhh, noofffffffffffoooooooooahhh!”

    A: I stand corrected. May I rephrase the question?

    Judge: um — what was it she said again Ms. Court Reporter?

    Court reporter: Um, … “nooffff Noofffff oooooaaaaah, ahow ahow ahow ahhhhhhhh, noofffffffffffoooooooooahhh!”

    Judge: Court is adjourned for five minutes. Ahem.

    Bailiff: ALL RISE.

    Judge: That won’t be necessary — I’ll be back in five.

    Pros: Will that be a high five, Your Honor?

    [Shrill voice heard from back of courtroom: Mommy how come she doesn’t believe in god?”]

  10. Mr. Turley,

    EllenBeth Wachs has now been charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

    Read about it here:


    I’m really interested in hearing your opinion on this (as I usually am about most of what you have to say lol). The timing of these allegations are incredibly suspect (the first two arrests took place just before depositions were to take place for her and Atheists of Florida’s lawsuit against the City of Lakeland).

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