RYE, N.Y. – Rye Judge Joseph Latwin clarified his reasoning for sealing court documents regarding the Rye Colony bestiality case, citing civil rights protection under the law as the purpose for redacting the personal information of the victim and the victim's owner.
Under the law, the identity of any victim of any sex offense of the penal law must be confidential.
As first reported by The Daily Rye on Feb. 16, Kujtim Nicaj, the former building superintendent of Rye Colony, was arrested and charged with burglary and sexual misconduct of a dog on Feb. 8 by the Rye City Police Department. The case was first sealed by Rye Judge Joseph Latwin, and then court documents with specific information redacted were made available.
When asked if the definition of the sex offense victim pertains to animals as well as humans, Latwin said that the language does not specify or discriminate.
"The law doesn't distinguish between animal, human or anyone else," Latwin said. "Whether it's an animal, mineral or vegetable it's a victim."
Latwin also suggested that the victim's owner, a Rye Colony resident, could also be considered a victim.
"It could be, and I'm looking at the language of the state law, the identity of any victim," Latwin said. "I would suggest that the victim is the owner as well."