Previously convicted sex offender Scott Turner, 47, is reportedly the first person in Ohio facing prosecution under a new state law that bans and criminalizes Bestiality, the Dayton Daily News reported. After spending over a dozen years in prison for committing sex crimes against children, Turner is now accused of violating the new law.

Cleveland Animal Protective League charged Turner with “sexual conduct with an animal” – Ohio criminal statute 959.21B, according to court records. The alleged crime is a second-degree misdemeanor. According to Cleveland Municipal Court, Turner is scheduled to be arraigned in criminal court on October 5 at 8:30 AM.

Turner, of Cleveland, allegedly admitted to the Cleveland Animal Protection League that he violated a woman’s dog in May. He was caring for her dog, the News-Herald reported. The law became effective on March 21. If convicted, he can be sentenced up to 90 days in jail.

Before bestiality criminalized in Ohio, crimes charged as animal cruelty

Sharon Harvey, president of the Cleveland Animal Protection League, said animal cruelty laws were applied to bestiality prior to the new law. Because proof that the animal suffered was required, earlier cases, under animal cruelty laws were “difficult to prosecute,” according to WLWT.

Bestiality is a crime in nearly every state. The Humane Society of the U.S.

cities that the few states in which such conduct with an animal is not criminalized include Hawaii, New Mexico, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Washington, D.C., also does not have a law that criminalizes bestiality.

Perpetrator allegedly admitted to criminal bestiality

On May 13, Turner was reportedly caring for a dog, which is named Athena.

Turner, the accused perpetrator, eventually admitted to bestiality after investigators from the Cleveland Animal Protection League received a letter about the alleged violation.

Harvey said, “This is an unspeakable act,” the Post relayed. Under the new criminal law, she also stated, “But at least now we finally have something we can do about it.” Before bestiality was criminalized, city codes were applied by some municipalities in Ohio.

Harvey stated, “The victims in these cases couldn’t testify, of course, so they were difficult cases.”

Some states’ lawmakers mocked making laws against bestiality

Wayne Pacelle is the CEO and president of the Humane Society of the U.S. He called it astounding that lawmakers in some states mocked taking a legislative stand against bestiality. It is a form of animal abuse, he said. “In other states,” he noted, “bills have been delayed for years,” according to the Post. He explained that legislators refuse to talk about criminalizing bestiality.

Pacelle additionally said that enforcing the law in states with existing bestiality laws in effect can be lax. He cited a Wisconsin case in which a man exploited loopholes in existing laws.

Though convicted, the man managed to have his conviction overturned.

Correlation between sex crimes against children and bestiality

Leighann Lassiter, the Humane Society’s director of animal cruelty, said that studies show a correlation between sex offenders who assault children and bestiality. He also stated that 40 percent of sexual offenders, victimizing children, also admitted to having engaged in bestiality at some point, the Post relayed.

Turner was released from prison in 2015 after having been incarcerated in prison for more than 12 years, according to the Post. He was convicted in three separate cases that involved offenses against children – based on court documents. He also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape and kidnapping that was sexually motivated, the Post wrote. Every 90 days for the entirety of his life, he has to register his address so that the county knows his whereabouts. Until 2020, Turner will stay on supervised release.