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Law & Justice

Judge: Montana Can't Force Man Convicted Of Sodomy To Register As A Sex Offender

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A man challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s “infamous crime against nature” law will no longer have to register as a sex offender in Montana.

In 1994, Randall Menges pleaded guilty to having sex with two 16-year-old boys shortly after he turned 18. One of the boys and Menges both said in a police report that the sex was consensual.

The Supreme Court in 2003 found sodomy laws to be unconstitutional, but they remained on the books in many states.

Menges ultimately spent seven years in prison and is required to register as a sex offender for life in Idaho.

When he eventually moved to Montana, state law there forced him to register since he’d been convicted in Idaho.

This week, a federal judge there said Montana “had no rational basis” to force Menges to register as a sex offender. That’s because if the boys had been girls with the same age difference, Idaho law wouldn’t have required someone convicted of statutory rape to be on the sex offender list.

Montana has until May 21 to permanently remove him from the registry and expunge all state records relating to his registration.

A federal judge in Idaho heard arguments last month on the constitutionality of the state’s so-called crime against nature law, but he hasn’t yet issued a decision.

Emilee Cantrel, press secretary for the Montana Attorney General's Office, said the state is appealing the decision.

"...this order weakens our state’s sex offender registry law and opens it up to more attacks from out-of-state lawyers who are more interested in politics than the safety of Montana children," Cantrel said in a statement.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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