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Originally published Tuesday, July 19, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Nicole Brodeur

Details we can't quite comprehend

Like me, you may have spent the past few days starting questions that you just couldn't finish out loud. Questions about the man, the horse...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Like me, you may have spent the past few days starting questions that you just couldn't finish out loud.

Questions about the man, the horse and the goings-on at that farm in Enumclaw. Why would he ... ?

And then, how did they ... ?

But then, wouldn't it ... ?

There are answers, to be sure. Just none I can print here.

But this I can: On July 2, a 45-year-old Seattle man died from something called acute peritonitis. His colon was perforated while he was having sex with a horse.

The man, who died before he was dropped off at Enumclaw Community Hospital, was traced back to a 40-acre farm where investigators found hundreds of hours of videotape depicting men, including the one who died, having sex with horses. He had bought the stallion earlier this year. His family told a reporter they were surprised at the purchase.

Now we all are surprised — flabbergasted, really — at what was apparently going on down there while the rest of us were home reading John Irving, foolishly believing that Paris and Nicole milking cows on "The Simple Life" was as perverted as a farm ever gets.

Can someone tell me why a person would want to have sex with a horse?

"And you were referred to me?" asked Maureen Saylor when I called.

She seemed a logical choice. Saylor is a certified sex-offender-treatment provider and a psychiatric nurse who used to run the sex-offender program at Western State Hospital in Tacoma.

There is no profile for someone who has sex with animals.

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"It's like sex offenders in general," Saylor said. "A broad spectrum of individuals engaging in sex-offender behavior. High risk, low risk, a single offense or many."

Bestiality is identified in the diagnostic manual as paraphilia, a term used for various sexual deviations.

Over the years, Saylor has interviewed people who, in addition to whatever other sex offenses they have committed, tried to have sex with some kind of animal.

"I have no idea what the percentage is," she said. "But maybe it's something teenaged boys try for a lark and see how far it goes.

"It certainly is an aberration," Saylor said, calling it animal abuse. "But it is hardly new. It has been around probably as long as man."

And yet, bestiality is not against state law here.

Which leads to one more question: Are you kidding me?

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr told me about a case she investigated 15 years ago in which a boy was having sex with the family dog. No law against it.

"It was a real surprise to me," Rahr said. "We need to take a serious look at what the options are here."

State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, is already on it. She plans to draft legislation this week making bestiality illegal. Great, let's get it on the books.

But out of our heads, our conversations, our questions? That may take a while.

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.

For once, she's got nothing.

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About Nicole Brodeur

My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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