Man Convicted Of 'Crime' Of Gay Sex Will No Longer Have To Register As A Sex Offender

“I’m grateful to the court for putting an end to my nightmare,” Randall Menges said of the judge's decision that he would no longer have to register as a sex offender in Montana. The Attorney General's office, however, has filed a notice of appeal. 

Randall Menges Ap

A man convicted in Idaho of having consensual gay sex in 1994 will no longer have to register as a sex offender, according to a federal judge.

U.S. District Court Judge Dana L. Christensen ruled Tuesday in federal court that 45-year-old Randall Menges would no longer have to register as a sex offender in the state of Montana, where he now resides, after ruling there was “no rational basis” for the requirement in his case, according to the Daily Montanan.  

Menges was convicted in 1994 under Idaho’s Crime Against Nature statute, which has been interpreted as a ban on anal and oral sex between consenting adults.

When Menges was 18-years-old he had consensual sex with two 16-year-old boys, ultimately leading to the conviction.

He’d go on to serve seven years behind bars before being released on parole. Upon his release, he was required to register as a sex offender in Idaho.

That requirement also extended to Montana where he moved in the mid-2000s despite the fact that Montana formally repealed its “sodomy law” in 2013, according to a statement obtained by Oxygen.com from Menges’ attorney, Matthew Strugar.

The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled in 2003 that a Texas statute that criminalized sexual activity between people of the same sex was unconstitutional.

Strugar said Montana still continued to require individuals with sodomy convictions to register as a sex offender in the state if they were from a state that still required the registration for those convicted of sodomy—such as Idaho, South Carolina and Mississippi.

Menges filed a lawsuit in December of 2020 against the Montana Attorney General’s Office for requiring him to register as a sex offender in the state, arguing that forcing him to do so violated his Constitutional rights, according to The Missoulian.

“It is unconscionable that in 2021, Montana would still put people convicted of having gay sex on the sex offender registry,” Strugar said in the statement. “This kind of overt, state-sanctioned homophobia would have been surprising 30 years ago. Today it is shocking. And it is unconstitutional.”

The judge agreed that Menges should no longer be forced to register as a sex offender simply because “he was convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex with a person of the same sex, not because he had oral or anal sex with a minor or because such contact was nonconsensual. In sum, Montana has no rational basis for forcing Menges to register as a sexual offender,” her ruling stated.

Menges, who said the requirement had made it difficult for him to find housing or a job, was pleased he’d be able to regain his life.

“I’m grateful to the court for putting an end to my nightmare,” he said in the statement from his attorneys. “It should not have required a lawsuit to enforce the Supreme Court’s command from 18 years ago, but I am happy that it’s over.”

The Attorney’s General office, however, is hoping the decision won’t stand.

A spokesperson for the United States District Court District of Montana confirmed to Oxygen.com that prosecutors filed a notice of appeal in regards to the decision on Wednesday.

“We filed a notice of appeal because this order weakens our state’s sex offender registry law and opens it up to more attacks form out-of-state lawyers who are more interested in politics than the safety of Montana children,” Emilee Cantrell, press secretary of the Attorney General’s office told The Missoulian.

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