Why A Montana Man Served Seven Years In Prison for Gay Sex

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday May 13, 2021

Randall Menges, front, along with his attorneys Matthew Strugar and Elizabeth Ehret, pause outside the Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in March, 2021, in Missoula, Mont.
Randall Menges, front, along with his attorneys Matthew Strugar and Elizabeth Ehret, pause outside the Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in March, 2021, in Missoula, Mont.  (Source:Associated Press)

After nearly 30 years on the sex offender registry in Montana, Randall Menges is finally getting his justice.

Menges was reportedly 18 years old when he landed on the list for having gay sex with two 16-year-olds. Although the act was of the age of consent and consensual for all parties involved, gay sex was illegal in the state at the time and Menges was convicted of "Crimes Against Nature," Vice reported.

"Convicted for a 'Crime Against Nature,' Menges ended up serving seven years in prison," Vice reports. "And, thanks to a constellation of state laws, he's been required to register as a sex offender ever since, even though the Supreme Court overturned all state laws against homosexual sodomy in 2003."

A judge ruled this week that Menges should be removed from the sex offender list and all records of him ever having to register be erased.

"Having consensual intimate sexual contact with a person of the same-sex does not render someone a public safety threat to the community," U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen wrote in her decision.

Menges had to sue to get himself off the registry. However, the state of Montana doesn't seem to want to let him go. Montana's attorney general is reportedly appealing the decision to prevent the ruling from being used to remove sodomy laws in Idaho, Mississippi and South Carolina.

"Under both Idaho and Montana law, what Menges did would not qualify as statutory rape for multiple reasons, including the fact that 16 is the age of consent in Montana, both in 1993 and now, Menges' lawsuit alleges," Vice reports. "This case involves the lingering effects of centuries of homophobic 'sodomy' prohibitions."

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