Louisiana police use invalid anti-sodomy law to arrest gay men for agreeing to consensual sex

There have been 12 cases since 2011 in which undercover cops arrested gay men when no actual crime was committed

Topics: sodomy, anti-sodomy laws, Gay Rights, LGBT Rights, Homophobia, Discrimination, , ,

Louisiana police use invalid anti-sodomy law to arrest gay men for agreeing to consensual sex (Credit: Anton Prado via Shutterstock)

According to an investigative report from the Baton Rouge Advocate, there have been a dozen cases since 2011 in which undercover police officers in Louisiana have propositioned gay men for sex — agreeing to have sex in private, and without money changing hands — only to arrest them under the state’s anti-sodomy law, which was invalidated more than a decade ago by a Supreme Court ruling.

In one such recent case, an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy propositioned a 65-year-old man he met in a public park, asking him to join him for “some drinks and some fun” back at undercover officer’s apartment. The man followed the deputy home, and, upon entering it, was handcuffed and booked on a single count of “attempted crime against nature.”

As the Advocate’s Jim Mustian notes, there had been no discussion of exchanging money for sex, and the men were in a private residence when the arrest occurred.

A majority of these stings have taken place at Manchac Park, a popular “cruising” location, but talking about sex in public is not a violation of state obscenity law.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III told the Advocate that his office refused to prosecute each of these cases because no actual crime had occurred, though he added that “the sheriff’s office’s intentions are all good” even if “legally, we found no criminal violation” to justify the arrests.



Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks defended the practice, saying: “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. Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted.”

LGBT and civil rights groups have denounced the sting operations, and said that the sheriff’s office will find itself in serious legal trouble if it continues the practice of unlawfully arresting these men, as Peter Renn, an attorney with Lambda Legal, told the Advocate: “The fact that this has been going on for a two-year period is unbelievable,” Renn said. “This is basically like the police putting up a sign that says ‘Please sue me.’ ”

 

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...