Ipswich mans pleads guilty to two counts of bestiality

Elisa Sand
esand@aberdeennews.com

An Ipswich man admitted he engaged in a sexual act with two calves after unsuccessfully arguing the charges he faced were unconstitutional.

James Schumacher, 57, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two charges of felony bestiality. Bestiality prohibits sexual acts with animals.

According to the charges, one of the instances was between April 26, 2016, and Jan. 1, 2017. The second was on July 27, 2017. Schumacher admitted he inserted his genitals into the mouth of two different calves.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set.

Schumacher was arrested in July 2017 by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office after a farmer near Bath reported finding a man with one of his 4-week-old calves.

Initially Schumacher faced six charges. According to a plea agreement, four of the counts will be dismissed.

Schumacher’s attorney previously argued the bestiality charges were unconstitutional, citing Supreme Court decisions that uphold a person’s right to intimacy. But Judge Scott Myren rejected the argument and ruled South Dakota’s law prohibiting bestiality is not unconstitutional. While several high court rulings have upheld a person’s right to intimacy, Myren said, they deal with specific issues like same-sex partners or same-sex marriage.

“It is my conclusion that those cases do not create a fundamental right to engage in all types of sexual conduct,” he wrote in his decision.

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