UPDATE: Sheriff’s Office apologizes and promises not to enforce invalid law!
The year is 2013, and apparently the good folks at the Sheriff’s office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana never got the memo the United States Supreme Court ruled all anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional over ten years ago. The good ol’ boys who made the 12 arrests are apart of the Special Community Anti-Crime Team, a task force from the Sheriff’s Office that sets up prostitution stings and targets child predators. They arrested these men even though there was never a sex-for-money deal, and they did not agree to have sex in the park.
As the two men moved their chat to a picnic table, the deputy propositioned his target with “some drinks and some fun” back at his place, later inquiring whether the man had any condoms, according to court records. After following the deputy to a nearby apartment, the man was handcuffed and booked into Parish Prison on a single count of attempted crime against nature.
That’s right, they were arrested for agreeing to have consensual sex in the privacy of their own home. The good news is District Attorney Hillar Moore III said his office has refused to prosecute each of the cases because no crime had occurred.
Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, denied the anti-sodomy law was being misapplied because it is still on the books.
“This is a law that is currently on the Louisiana books, and the sheriff is charged with enforcing the laws passed by our Louisiana Legislature,” said Hicks. “Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted.”
Of course the local LGBT community is outraged by the blatant, targeted, harassment of gay men. Bruce Parker of Equality Louisiana shared his frustration and likened the hook-up spot to hooking up in a bar. “It is frustrating that the police are using their resources to pursue issues like this and arrest people for attempting to pick someone up and go home with them. It’s perfectly legal, and we would have to close down every bar in Baton Rouge if that weren’t the case,” said Parker.
Spokeswoman Hicks disagreed with Parker, saying a park “is not the place to initiate or attempt to initiate sexual relations.” Hick continued, “the issue here is not the nature of the relationship but the location. These are not bars. These are parks. These are family environments.”
Sorry Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Department, but as I’m sure we all have been told after being pulled over, ignorance of the law is no excuse! I’m sure you’ll have your asses handed to you by several lawsuits.
UPDATE from Think Progress: Sheriff’s Office Apologizes!
The Sheriff’s office apologizes that the way these investigations were handled made it appear that we were targeting the gay community. That was not our intent. The Sheriff’s Office also apologizes to anyone that was unintentionally harmed or offended by the actions of our investigations. While sections of La. R.S. 14:89, Crimes Against Nature, have not been removed from the Louisiana law code, they have been deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional. The Sheriff’s Office will not use these unconstitutional sections of the law in future cases. We are committed to working with all branches of our government, as well as the LGBT community, to find acceptable ways to keep our community safe.
It’s great you’ve apologized and all, now what are you going to do for the people you’ve wrongfully targeted?
Photo via here.