Utah Man Fights Sodomy Charge
Associated Press, July 10, 2001
SALT LAKE CITYA man charged with sodomy for
having oral sex with a 16-year-old girl is fighting prosecution, arguing that
the law violates his right of free expression.
He is the first person to be charged under Utahs anti-sodomy laws since
1990, and his may be the first consensual sodomy case in more than 15 years. A
hearing was scheduled for next week.
Derrick Sundquist was 19 when he was charged last year with misdemeanor
In Utah, a 16-year-old may have consensual sex with a person who is no more
than four years older.
Sodomy was outlawed in Utah even for married couples until 1977, when the
law was changed to apply only to unmarried people. It is punishable by up to
six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If the girl was younger than 16 or Sundquist was older than 20, he could
have faced felony charges of sodomy of a child, which are more common and not
in dispute, said attorney Brian Barnard, who has filed a brief supporting
Sundquist on behalf of the Utah Civil Rights and Liberties Foundation.
In recent years, Utah judges have dismissed lawsuits challenging sodomy and
fornication laws, saying that because people are seldom prosecuted, plaintiffs
are not in imminent danger of going to jail for having sex.
Sundquist was charged after the girl told police about the consensual sex
in American Fork, 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.
His attorney, Laura Cabanilla, has filed a motion to dismiss the charge,
arguing the law is an unconstitutional violation of her clients right of
Tucker Hansen, city attorney for American Fork, did not return calls
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