News - January 1996

Plea bargain struck in transgender "consensual sex" case

Fighting to avoid 32 years of possible imprisonment, Sean O'Neill, a 20 year-old transgender person, has reportedly agreed to a plea bargain offered by the Colorado Springs District Attorney.

His lawyer, Public Defender Bill Martinez, had previously sought to fight all charges head on in court. However, the district attorney, currently engaged in a statewide election campaign, responded by simply adding more charges and more potential jail-time. Faced with this, Martinez apparently felt O'Neill had no choice but to accept the plea bargain.

O'Neill is charged with the sexual assault of four girls who claim they engaged in consensual sex on numerous occasions but were unaware that O'Neill, born Sharon Clark, was actually "a lesbian." O'Neill, who does not use the words "transsexual" or "transgendered," reportedly has a fluid approach to gender and lives primarily as a man, preferring male pronouns.

Although the events in question occurred years ago when both O'Neill and the women were teenagers, O'Neill is being charged with 11 felony counts, including sexual assault, criminal impersonation and sexual assault on a child.

O'Neill is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, February 16th, at the Colorado Springs Courthouse. Martinez has invited the Transsexual Menace and all concerned people to demonstrate in support of O'Neill.

Charges were originally brought by two policewomen in the ultra-conservative Colorado Springs area, when O'Neill was picked up on a minor charge and admitted to having vaginal sex organs.

O'Neill's case was covered in detail by Donna Minkowitz in the October issue of OUT Magazine.

General information: Jeff Walsh
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