Skeletal Defense: Swedish Woman Charged With Necrophilia For Relations With Skeleton

Warning: This story is really really gross. However, there is an intriguing (if icky) legal point but you have to wait for it. A Swedish woman has been charged with necrophilia in Gothenburg. Police discovered various skeleton parts and skulls in her apartment including a picture of her licking a skull. They accuse her of having sex with the skeletal remains. However, is that truly necrophilia?

Under Swedish law, this might be easier to prove since they call it “violating the peace of the dead.” However, the woman is accused of intimacy with skeletal parts, though only the licking of the skull is specifically referenced. The woman had pictures of morgues and cemeteries and reportedly sold skulls over the internet.

Licking a skull would fall considerably short of necrophilia in most states. However, even if something more intimate is alleged, would sex with a skeletal part meet the elements of the crime. Here is a standard provision from Rhode Island:

SECTION 11-20-1.2
§ 11-20-1.2 Necrophilia. – Any person who performs the act of first degree sexual assault upon a dead human body shall be guilty of the crime of necrophilia. Any person convicted of the crime of necrophilia shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten (10) years and may be fined in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Is a skeletal part “a dead human body”? The crime is defined in terms of a “body” not a body part. It is the difference between grand theft auto for stealing a car as opposed to a chop shop crime of stealing car parts. Medical journals also refer to sex with a corpse as opposed to a skeleton. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 1102 (15th ed. 1985) (“necrophile” defined as “one who has a morbid interest in dead bodies or who has intercourse with corpses.”_

Other states like California read sexual relations into more general laws:

Health and Safety Code section 7052 provides: “Every person who willfully mutilates, disinters, or removes from the place of interment [*544] any human remains, without authority of law, is guilty of a felony.”

Under the more expansive Swedish definition, any bone would satisfy the element of a corpse even though it is no longer part of a corpse. It seems that such crimes are better charged under body part statutes and illegal handling of remains, if that is a crime. What is interesting is that skeletons have been widely sold around the world and thus not treated as corpses in terms of handling or possession. Do all of those schools and individuals have corpses in their possession if they have a skull or skeleton on the wall?

What do you think?

Source: Local as first seen on Reddit

32 thoughts on “Skeletal Defense: Swedish Woman Charged With Necrophilia For Relations With Skeleton”

  1. I wasn’t able to immediately find the Swedish statute, much less translate, but going from what was in this article it is all a matter of the elements of the crime being met.

    I can say this would not be a crime in our state because it requires contact with the sex organs etc of the corpse and there are none of these on the skeleton. It would seem at least the Swedish law must be more loosely interpreted

    RCW 9A.44.105

  2. Re Gingerbaker:
    I think you misunderstand the concept of violating the peace of the dead. It is not based on religious superstition but rather on respect for the relatives and loved ones of the deceased. Now, in this case it may be difficult to establish exactly who those loved ones are, but that is whole different question.

    [hulu id=213307]

  3. Not necrophilia and as John Lennon sang, “Whatever gets you through the’s alright.”

    When I worked @ Leavenworth there was an inmate nicknamed “Chicken Man.” I first assumed it was just a “Chicken Man…he’s everywhere” thing. I soon learned it was because Chicken Man worked in the kitchen. On baked chicken day he would take out a chicken that had been in the oven ~10 minutes and then have his way w/ it, to be delicate. He also would do the same w/ partially baked loaves of bread. He was taken off of kitchen duty.

    1. I loved that radio series – Chi-kinnn-maaaannnn, HE’S EVERYWHERE, HE’S EVERYWHERE!!

  4. I’m with Spinell on this one. Maybe should be some criminal act for how she acquired the bones, but, if she’s got them legally, then shouldn’t be a law against licking them.

  5. Well said, Gingerbaker. This is disgusting, and downright weird and creepy, but it’s ridiculous to have the law involved here.

  6. “Violating the peace of the dead”?

    Ya gotta love the law. Here we have a woman doing something in the privacy of her own home, bothering no one. Yet, she is prosecuted for disturbing what are unfounded religious sensibilities.

    The “dead” have never been demonstrated to have any emotions, including “peace” or lack of it, and whether the skeletal bones of a deceased person, upon being applied in sexual frisson with some poor Swedish woman, would experience a sense of “violation” (as opposed to, say, bliss?) is pure speculation.

    I’m surprised she wasn’t prosecuted for witchcraft while they were at it. That she was spared this additional charge, must have been an “Act of God”, right?

    As I am not lawyer, I guess it falls on me to point out to you all, since no one has yet made the point, that perhaps the legal system has an obligation to not prosecute people for crimes based on religious fantasies. That before someone can be prosecuted for “violating the peace of the dead”, it would be incumbent on the law to be satisfied that the dead actually have a “peace” which can be “violated”?

  7. Disgusting, and sad, but I agree with Mike S. that if she had the bones legally, she should be allowed to do whatever she wants in her own residence.

  8. It should be noted that she isn’t charged with “Necrophilia,” presumably because Swedish law like most Civil Law systems doesn’t have that offense, but with “Disturbing the Peace of the Dead.”

    I think we see here the umpteenth iteration of the “should human dignity be protected by criminal law?” divide between Civil Law and Common Law systems.

    Civil Law systems generally think that even remains should be treated with dignity, while Common Law adheres generally to the “”Sticks and stones may break my bones [sorry!], but names will never hurt me” maxim.

  9. to me there are two key questions. The first is did she obtain the bones legally? Since she seemingly was charged with obtaining them illegally, I would assume they were rightly in her possession. As for the necrophilia charge I think it should’t hold. While this is certainly a woman one wouldn’t want to bring home to ones parents, or even be involved with considering her proclivities, I fail to see how her using those bones in masturbation is chargeable. Disgusting as it is, on the facts we were given, this is a victim-less crime. I have a big problem with the problem of prosecuting such “crimes”..

  10. Of course if it was a male skeleton what harm is done.? How ugly was she?
    Maybe the guy had a boner. No pun intended.

  11. If I were less dignified I make a ‘boning’ joke here but not me 😉

    I guess this is one of those cases where reality far outpaced the minds of the people writing the laws. I didn’t see where she got the bones from but that could create additional charges. Meanwhile, they might have to draw a very fine line if they try to write additional prohibitions so as to not outlaw legitimate research and medical uses. But then again the incidences of this sort of thing have to be so ridiculously small as to not warrant further legislation.

  12. Creepy but not necrophilia. Over charged. She would be better charged under body part statutes and illegal handling of remains if applicable.

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