STORM LAKE, Ia. - In his blogs and academic papers, Kyle Payne presents himself as a crusader for women's rights and positive female sexuality. He has publicly proclaimed his admiration for the radical feminism of Andrea Dworkin, denouncing pornography as an oppressive symbol of "rape culture."
But the 22-year-old Buena Vista University dorm R.A. has a funny way of fulfilling those ideals in his private life.
The Iowa Independent reports:
"An Iowa blogger who claimed to use activism and education to promote “a more just and life-affirming culture of sexuality” for women, especially those women who have been victims of sexual violence, has pleaded guilty to photographing and filming a college student's breasts without her consent.
Kyle D. Payne, 22 of Ida Grove, presented his guilty plea Monday in Iowa District Court for Buena Vista County. He agreed he was guilty of felony attempted burglary in the second degree and two counts of invasion of privacy, a serious misdemeanor.
In documents filed with the court, Payne agrees that "with an intent to arouse my sexual desire, I photographed and filmed Jane Doe and her breast without her consent." A portion of the plea agreement stating that Payne was of sound mind when the incident took place in early 2007 was stricken from the document, leaving only the portion where Payne agrees that he is currently of sound mind.
At the time of the incident, Payne had been employed by Buena Vista University as a dormitory resident adviser. Police reports indicate that while attending to an intoxicated and unconscious female student, Payne reportedly assaulted and photographed her. The guilty plea entered Monday did not include assault charges. Tips received by police and campus security following the incident led to a 10-month investigation that resulted in Payne's arrest in February.
Payne has been posting to a personal blog, The Road Less Traveled, since November 2007 and has made violence -- especially sexual violence against women -- a focus of his writings there. In the "meet the blogger" section he writes:
"Kyle is a social justice educator, writer, and activist. Much of his work is concerned with putting a stop to violence against women. For years Kyle has served as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and other forms of abuse, in addition to promoting what he calls 'a more just and life-affirming culture of sexuality' through activism and education. As a researcher, Kyle has studied the feminist anti-pornography movement and is particularly interested in men’s roles in confronting pornography and the rape culture. In addition to his pro-feminist work, he is involved with anti-racist, free speech, peace, and anti-globalization movements."
The page goes on to list his educational degrees, awards and years of involvement in various groups.
Payne, who identified with radical feminists like Andrea Dworkin, attended a training for feminist anti-pornography activists in January at the University of Texas in Austin. An article in the Ida County Courier stated that Payne had "written papers and given several public presentations on feminist critiques of pornography, prostitution, and the 'rape culture,' in addition to serving as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence." According to a resume previously posted on his blog, he has attended many such conferences since 2004.
Payne faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500. As a condition of the plea deal, the state has agreed that no other charges will be filed as a result of this incident. Sentencing has been set for Aug. 11."