First person charged with bestiality in Ohio pleads not guilty

Posted at 1:12 PM, Feb 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-02 13:14:19-05

The first person charged with violating Ohio’s 2017 bestiality law pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Cleveland Municipal Court, court records show.

Scott Turner, 48, is charged with a second-degree misdemeanor of having sexual contact with an animal and faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine, the Journal-News reports.

“He had written a letter in which he indicated that he had oral sex with the dog and that the dog was in his custody,” said Sharon Harvey, president and chief executive of the Cleveland Animal Protective League, in an interview last year.

She said the league, which has enforcement power in animal cruelty cases, obtained the letter. The dog, named Athena, did not belong to Turner.

The incident allegedly occurred in May. After his plea Turner was released after posting $2,500 bond and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 5, according to the Associated Press.

Turner spent more than 11 years in prison for sex crimes against children. He went to prison in 2004 on multiple convictions, including rape and kidnapping, and was released under supervision in 2015, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website.

Harvey is believed to be the first person charged under Ohio’s bestiality ban, which took effect in March.

The Journal-News is a news partner of WCPO.