Cedar Rapids Weather
Officials Weigh-in on Legality of Sex in JoCo Wildlife Reserve
By Justin Foss, Reporter
JOHNSON COUNTY — Since KCRG-TV9 News first told you about a park in Johnson County where people are meeting for sexual encounters, a lot of you have asked why law enforcement isn’t doing anything about it. And we have the answers.
When investigating this story, our crew found condoms, wrappers and tissues littering the make-shift trails at the Hawkeye Wildlife Reserve in Johnson County.
Tony Brewer saw two men having sex while visiting the area and says he was offended. "I'm afraid I would be out here with my kids and we're going to be hiking the trails and one will see something like that. Kids don't need to see that," said Brewer.
Just because Brewer saw naked men and was offended, Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said it's not illegal. "There's nothing under the obscenity section of the state law that applies to having sex out in public," said Pulkrabek.
Now, if this was in a city, that city might have stricter laws. Because it's not, the specific area falls under state law. Pulkrabek said for the actions to be illegal, not only does someone need to be offended, but the person doing the offending must also intend to satisfy a sexual desire in doing so.
"It's a difficult thing to investigate," said Pulkrabek. "Just being offended isn't enough to break the law?" Our reporter, Justin Foss asked. "No, that's not enough. You have to find that specific intent," said Pulkrabek.
Pulkrabek said even though the area is public property, it's still not heavily traveled, and so he guesses the people who go there don't expect on-lookers and thus don't satisfy desires because someone else is watching.
"The fact of the matter is, people have been going to remote areas and having sex since the beginning of time," said Pulkrabek.
Despite the strict requirements of the law, the sheriff said they still investigate any complaints.
Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said she agrees with Pulkrabek about the requirement of intent. She also said it is a very hard complaint to investigate and to prosecute.
You can read the full text of the law that would apply to this case in Justin's blog. Click on the link below:
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