Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is outrage over sexual propositioning ethics and morals, or simply prudery?

By now, you've probably heard the story about Idaho Senator Larry Craig. An undercover policeman alleges that while in the airport bathroom stall next to Craig, Craig used silent signals and body language along with "stall peeping" that are "well-known" methods of propositioing for sex. Apparently men propositioning other men in the Minneapolis airport bathroom has become a problem, and the police began an airport bathroom sting four months ago.

Since then, they've arrested 41 men including Senator Craig.

The cause for the arrest? Peeking in a stall, placing one's luggage in front of the stall door, tapping a foot, and reaching a hand under the stall wall. This is exactly what Senator Craig did.

Senator Craig protested the arrest and stated his actions had been misinterpreted; he also cited his position as a senator. However, when the police did not dismiss the charges, Craig quietly---without legal representation or disclosure---plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, which was probably a compromise from the peeping charge he could have received.

Most of the other men also quietly accepted the criminal charges.

I think we can imagine why. Homophobia is rampant in this country, and many of the men were prominent businessmen.

Some of the cited evidence seemed awfully thin to me, for example, the man arrested in a "raid" of the bathroom by police because, as the officer left the bathroom with three men under arrest, this man turned from the urinal and "exposed himself."

Ummm, aren't urinals sort of out in the open, and wouldn't one, you know, in the "act," be exposed when turning?

I imagine, like Senator Craig, most men wanted this settled as quietly as possible.

I'm sure that a good number of the cases were men on the make, so to speak.

But I admit I'm a little stymied about the outrage over this. It's poor manners, to be sure, and one ought to be able to go to the bathroom without being solicited. But is it a crime that is worth the outrage and calls for Craig's resignation?

I can tell you from personal experience that you have a chance of meeting a man on the make almost anywhere. I've met men on the make in grocery stores, offices, pharmacies, restaurants, bars, open air festivals, and more. And I'm no Michelle Pfeiffer. To be fair, I'm sure there are plenty of women on the make too. I've known a few. Flirting happens; I've just grown to accept it to a degree and have developed the ability to deal with it.

I think that most people have developed fair judgment and use wisdom and courtesy in this. However, some people seem to believe that, regardless of where you are, the simple fact that they find your attractive or that they are sexually aroused means all's fair in propositioning. In underground sexuality---which seems to be almost anything other than sexually objectifying females of any age---there is a network, out of a degree of necessity. I'm sure word spread about the bathrooms.

I strongly believe that so long as we continually repress most healthy sexuality and force homosexuality underground in large part, we're going to continue to see "bathroom" sorts of incidents. It's tricky, isn't it? Especially if you are gay...how do you tell if someone is not just available, but available to you?

A tapping foot is pretty vague, as is luggage placement. If you don't know what this could mean, you probably don't even notice it. You certainly don't respond. A woman might inquire if her stall neighbor is in need of paper, but I have it on excellent authority that Men Do Not Speak to One Another Period in the bathroom.

I find it interesting that this sting is limited to men.

Are there no similar incidents with women? Or do women just not---pardon the expression---get their knickers as twisted over it? Are women simply used to being propositioned?

Also, why the outrage, in particular over Senator Craig. he's being asked by his party---who is loudly sanctioning him---to resign.

Seriously?

Although he is technically guilty, he does deny that he intended his actions as criminal level disorderly conduct, peeping, and solicitation. Still, I'm hard-pressed to figure out why I ought to care.

I'm more concerned about how he's been caught up in sexual impropriety in investigations at the senate on more than once occasion; each time he skated free, loudly proclaiming his innocence. In those case, it was mostly about bosses propositioning employees.

That does cause me concern.

I lived through extreme sexual harassment in the workplace. My story (a small sampling of which I shared here) would horrify you.

If two coworkers voluntarily, with no coercion, opt into a relationship, that's one thing. But when an authority figure uses his power to pressure or harass, that's appalling. In general, I have absolutely no interest what two willing adults do with one another.

So again, I ask, why the big public GOP outrage against Senator Craig now?

"Senator Craig pled guilty to a crime involving conduct unbecoming a senator," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. "He should resign."

Craig "represents the Republican Party," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, who called the behavior unacceptable and was the first in a steadily lengthening list of GOP members of Congress calling on Craig to quit.


Is it the propositioning aspect?


Or is it the homosexual aspect?

Hoekstra denies both of these and calls Craig's denials unbelievable

"I think it's important for Republicans to step out right now and say, 'No, this behavior is not going to be tolerated,'" he said. "It's not a judgment on gay rights or anything like that. This is about leadership and setting a standard that the American people and your colleagues in the Republican Party can feel good about."


Where is this outrage when we find politicians involved in financial improprieties and conflicts of interest?

If the allegations are true, and Craig did proposition someone he believed was simply a fellow traveler, then that's where it ended. He didn't touch the officer, didn't rape anyone, didn't harm...merely propositioned, and, at this point, he denies doing so.

Consider what he plead guilty to: disorderly conduct. Consider what he was charged with

Craig was arrested on June 11 in a Minneapolis airport men's room after an undercover officer observed conduct that he said was "often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct." He pleaded guilty by mail this month to a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.


There was no lewd behavior. There was no contact.

Was there even really a crime?


Check out the police report at The Smoking Gun.

See what you think.

Does that meet these criteria

(c) A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who:

(1) surreptitiously gazes, stares, or peeps in the window or other aperture of a ... place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy and has exposed or is likely to expose their intimate parts, as defined in section 609.341, subdivision 5, or the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts; and

(2) does so with intent to intrude upon or interfere with the privacy of the occupant.


If you answered "yes," then is that behavior worthy of forcing Craig to resign his position and the current level of reaction by many of his fellow Republican politicians?

Is the real cause for concern Craig's behavior, or is it---and let's be honest---the election coming up, and does the GOP not want a stain on its reputation as voters consider who to cast their vote for?

The outrage, in my opinion, seems politically motivated. Again.

I have tried and tried to find the numbers and types of criminal charges filed against politicians because, in my mind, it seems that hardly a week has gone by without some allegation of a crime by a politician, some of them egregiously wrong.

I'd like to see this level of energy and concern directed in some productive directions, such as healthcare, education, poverty, disaster struck areas, and so forth. I'd like to see this level of outrage when crimes that really harm people are perpetuated by politicians.

This seems disastrously like worrying about mowing the lawn when there is a nuclear bomb falling.

But politics and politicians aside, I'm curious what the average person thinks about this.

Am I desensitized, or too accepting? Should we be appalled by his behavior to this level? What is an appropriate response here? Is this about ethics and morals, or is it simply prudery?

And what, I wonder, provoked police to prioritize this sting and assign undercover officers to arrest men who simply "sent signals" but had not engaged in any "lewd acts."

Is this a valid priority in Minneapolis?

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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36 comments:

Emily said...

I wish politicians cared as much about the environment as they do about one another's sex lives.

Lawyer Mama said...

I think the arrests are because of the homosexuality aspect not because of the propositioning. Women are propositioned by men - strangers - every. single. day.

They're asking him to resign because they don't want to risk losing a firmly Republican seat. It's been held by Republicans since like 1976.

Kyla said...

Is sex in a bathroom illegal?

Because...

Heh. No, seriously, is it a crime? Because, if it is, then I can see how propositioning might be an issue, I guess. If it isn't, then why does it matter if he was hitting on someone, in a rather mild manner at that. It isn't like he banged on the man's door and verbally propositioned him. If there was a civilian in the stall who wasn't interested, he wouldn't have responded or even understood the "signals". No big deal.

I do think this is more about party politics, holding on to seats, and keeping voters happy than it is about what actually went on in the bathroom.

If he had propositioned an undercover female at an airport bar, would the level of outrage be the same?

Gwen said...

Loved Emily's comment!

Are people actually outraged by this? Perhaps I should watch the news more ....

What really fascinates me is this whole underground language of Minneapolis airport pick-upese. Where does one learn these things?

painted maypole said...

you have really great points about whether or not we should be concerned about this, and I agree that homosexuals should not have to hide their behavior so much, and the witch hunt for them is astounding. However, the senator pled guilty to something, and now stands before us and tells us he is not guilty. He either lied to the judge or is lying to the public. Either way, as the person who has been entrusted to write and uphold the law, he should not so willing and blatantly break it. Don't lie about something you did or did not do. And that is what bothers me.

Magpie said...

Huh. My knee-jerk reaction to the news of his arrest/plea was "yeah, another one bites the dust". But, you make some very good points. I think it may well have been overkill to have been doing a sting operation in the airport loo, and I think it probably is more about the homosexual aspect than the propositioning aspect. Thanks for the balance.

flutter said...

Weren't the officers posing as underage kids? If that's the case, then it takes on a whole different tone.

But, seriously, if it's all consenting adults, who cares?

Julie Pippert said...

Emily, I agree 100%.

I wish they cared as much about women and children who are raped. The outrage over "poor male victims" who had to bear being propositioned by these bizarre and complex signals was so strong that police set up a sting operation. Where is this level of concern when women are harassed and propositioned, and even RAPED, by men?

Homophobia is apparently more compelling than violence against women.

Color me disgusted.

***

LM, I agree completely. I think it is BS.

***

Kyla, this whole thing is a BIG reach.

Sex and propositioning in bathrooms is old news.

The allegations are Peeping (for looking through stall crack---as cited in my post) and Disorderly Conduct.

Your last question is KEY.

***

Gwen, OMG are they EVER. It is astonishing to me.

When he was in scandals at congress, where was the outrage and call for his resignation then?

And my gosh, McCain, so outraged...where's his support to impeach Cheney then?

I touched on the underground culture, but TBH I have NO idea where one picks up these things, although they did mention a chat board (that police used to arrest other people for simply TALKING about hooking up with one another in the bathroom) where people met, all focused on this airport. Maybe there?

You know the more I think about it, the more confused I am that police dedicated resources to this. How much did that cost? How much did it help? What lost resources in the interim?

Why isn't the media asking this?

LOL

***

PM, I agree. I think politicians ought to be more accountable to the law, too. But then, think how many would be arrested tomorrow if that were true, including our very own Vice President.

I'm sure he did it, and I'm sure that's why he plead.

Still, overreaction all things considered IMHO.

***

Magpie, sure! I did the same at first too, but it was so bizarre I read more and read more. Then I was really baffled.

***

Flutter, in all the things I read, including the police report, I did not see anything about posing as underage. The officer in question looks to be in his late 20s or so to me.

If you've read anythign about that, send it along because I haven't heard about it.

My understanding is that males had complained about being "bothered" in the bathroom and this prompted the sting.

That's why I thought it was all about consenting adults.

slouching mom said...

What Emily said. We have an unfortunate tendency in the United States to pick the wrong battles. There are so many more pressing concerns. Why do we keep wasting time and resources on this kind of idiocy?

What does it matter what the man does in his private life? How does that affect his ability to be a Senator?

Mrs. Chicky said...

Why is he being asked to resign? Simple. Because he's a Republican - a Senator no less - and Republicans do not have sex. Period. Ever.

Unless of course it's for making babies and even then there is no pleasure taken from it.

And gay sex? It doesn't exist.

That's the feeling I get from the GOP anyway. Sex = burning in hell.

Julie said...

Since I live in a shell and actually hadn't heard this story or the resulting hullabaloo, I just can't help but find it all so amusing and random. If I didn't trust you, Julie, I would think you made it up. Being arrested for placing one's suitcase in some certain position and tapping one's foot seems so very The Onion. Are you sure he didn't, like, have a gun clenched between his big and second toes or something?

Jeff said...

There is an interstate rest stop just north of Minneapolis that has been closed several times due to rampant homosexual bathroom sex, so it doesn't surprise me that they're doing sting operations at the airport too.

Needless to say I never stop at that rest stop to go to the bathroom.

Terri said...

Well, I'm technically a Republican. And for the record, I enjoy sex and am not repressed in the least. I felt the need to share that after reading some of the comments. LOL

Any time a Senator breaks the law, it's a big deal. Homosexuality is neither here nor there. I'm sure Craig's wife feels differently however! I think considering he has the power to create laws, that it's not right that he breaks them. Because of that, I think he ought to resign. Not because he's probably a closet gay. I could care less. It's about integrity.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Um, speaking as an outsider, going by the coverage here, I thought the main outrage was the fact he is married with kids?

Thus, I thought the outrage was more for the deceit than the homosexuality.

But that's just how I reacted.

Julie Pippert said...

When i read the quotes from the members of the GOP calling for his resignation, they weren't, to my mind, citing that Craig hid the charges and subsequent guilty plea or did this while married with children.

None of the quotes I saw (and I acknowledge there must be more than what I read) mentioned that.

They (or more specifically he, being Norm Coleman also out of Minnesota) were appalled by the *behavior* that led to the arrest, charges and guilty plea, and called it unbecoming of a senator. Thus, they asked for his resignation.

If you review voting and platform records for the members of the GOP calling for Craig's resignation, you won't see a pattern of bigotry per se, but you will see leaders in the party against same sex marriage and rights for homosexual couples.

So I do think it is about the homosexual aspect.

Coleman is an equal opportunist. He's also demanded Kofi Annan resign and was the leader in the attack against Michael Brown.

MY MAIN POINT

And I do have one LOL.

My main point is the hypocrisy I perceive. I don't see the same level of outrage against things that I think are wider, deeper and more serious problems

It might be that this is the straw that broke the camel's back for Coleman, McCain and others wrt Craig, who, as I said, has a long history of sexual impropriety allegations. If so, I wish they'd say that (and maybe they did, and that got edited by the reporter).

I don't disagree that Craig seems like he's got some ethical issues.

It just seems like a week hanger to hang a heavy coat of hair on, if you know what I mean.

Julie Pippert said...

Misc Mum, oh DUDE, are you serious? This news left the US?!?!

Can you link up an article in your part of the world, possibly?

I'm so interested.

***

Terri

YOU GO GIRL!!!

***

Jeff, I'm glad you know the potties to avoid. LOL

No really, this is interesting. This is why I asked if this was enough of an issue to warrant the resources.

Are the men who use those bathrooms in danger (if that's their only purpose in going there)?

I don't hear about that around here. My husband is unaware of bathrooms to avoid, and has never noticed anything odd here, or in airports.

We did sit and think and thought of a gay district of town, a gay theater, and a "hook up" spot at a park. There were some men who angrily chastised us for bringing kids to a gay restaurant (our bad...we mistook it as a tex-mex restaurant). We've both used the bathroom there and no bizarre hand signals or anything.

Maybe open gayness is less accepted some places and more so in others, necessitating differences like this?

What's your read on that in MN?

thailandchani said...

In the final analysis, I can't help but think it's much ado about nothing.

I don't honestly care about the sex lives of politicians (or anyone else) and gayness doesn't bother me in the least.

If anything ~ if the guy did this ~ he's stupid and desperate.. but I don't think it's criminal.



Peace,

~Chani
http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

NotSoSage said...

"Tea rooms", as they were called back in the '70s are really only necessary when people are closeted and requiring some way to meet other men who may be interested in sex but aren't comfortable showing their face in gay establishments. It's sad, really, that it's still necessary for people to find sex partners this way, rather than just living openly. I don't judge them, but the society we live in that forces them into that position.

At the same time, it makes me crazy that any kind of police energy was spent on this. Kyla's point is right on. As far as I know, the level of contact, let alone violence or coercion, in these interactions is really low. Most men who aren't involved don't recognise the signals and those who do can simply make it clear they're not interested.

Christine said...

i go back and forth. mostly i am just pissed that they have to spend so much damn time dealing with this when people don't even have food to eat in the country. geez--don't we have bigger battles?

and i was wondering if money was offered (or allegedly offered) or if it was just two adults no cash expected or offered.

jen said...

i am so sick of homophobia. and it's stigma. i could go on but am exhausted.

Snoskred said...

Have none of you ever watched those prostitution stings on COPS?

I find them very scary simply because the men involved deny deny deny - even when they are told - we have you on camera, we have your voice recorded where you agreed to pay this woman for sex - and they STILL deny they did it.

I mean, if you get caught, fess up and wear it. That's what bothers me, that this guy is pretending like he didn't do it.

I would be very surprised if this had not been recorded in some way, whether verbally or with a video camera.

The fact that he pled guilty speaks volumes to me. If you did not do something, you would never plead guilty to it, just to shut people up and in the hope it won't get out. If you're not guilty, you hire a bigmouth lawyer and you fight it to the death.

I'm all for what goes on behind closed doors stays there, but when you are doing illegal things to get your rocks off, that's a different story, KWIM?

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

Christine said...

just to be clear--i don't go back and forth because i have a problem with homosexual life, just unsure what the actual crime was, you know? i agree with sage, kyla, the others--so many people are so homophobic that sometimes it drives people away into these private lives. it SO shouldn't be this way! and once again: shouldn't we be focusing on the war, poverty, homelessness, civil rights,etc instead of this stuff?

Gwen said...

Julie, you bring up a great point about values ("deeper, wider, more serious problems"), and one I've been thinking of writing about. But why not just do it here? lol.

I remember after the last presidential election, there was talk about how people made their choices based on "values" and there was scattered applause for the fact that "values" still mattered in this country. The subtext was that people were voting against legalizing gay marriage, since Rove had pushed that agenda so hard in the last days of the campaign. That really pissed me off, because I, too, voted based on values--the value of a sustainable environment, the value of not bombing the shit out of innocent people, the value of finding ways to help the desperate instead of blaming them for their desperation. The idea that these don't count as "values" to be lauded is ridiculous! How can we really be so simple as to believe that values applies only to sexual morality? It's one of the tenets of the far Christian right, this focus on sexuality to the exclusion of all else, and I know this, having grown up in that culture where losing your virginity was the WORST thing you could do.

It's maddening, really, and I've had more than enough with the prurient interest we take in something so monumentally unimportant.

Christine said...

can i just say this--gwen rocks!

Lena said...

I think people are outraged, not because of the act itself, but because Craig is so vehemently anti-gay marriage and homophobic. I think the bigger issue here, and in many of the recent political sex-scandals, is the hypocritical manner is which the politicians act. Whether it's cheating on a spouse (David Vitter) or propositioning someone for sex in a men's bathroom, these politicians publicly denounce such conduct, then engage in it. Apparently, the rest of us should live by one set of rules and the politicians can live by another.

Julie Pippert said...

I agree with your overall point, Lena, but...is there actually PUBLIC outrage?

The only outrage I hear is from politicians directed to their fellow politician...and over this? My question to these outraged politicians is...where were you and your outraged morals when Valerie Plame was jeopardized, where is your outrage now, with over 50,000 people still living in FEMA trailers, which contain substances creating environmental illness?

Most of the public is...wha????

***

Snoskred

Uhhh and I say this with no judgment, but no, I haven't watched those shows. It's my blinders on, I admit.

If you read the police report, or listen to the now public recorded interview, Craig denied from the get-go.

To keep this quiet---for a variety of reasons I am sure, not the least of which is his reputation, his known anti-gay stance, and the HORRIBLE homophobic culture in the US---he pleaded to the lesser disorderly conduct charge and they dropped the peeping.

What he was "caught" at was SO ambiguous, really.

Lawyers have ripped it to shreds in interviews, said it's ridiculous and the stigma attached is the ONLY reason the police got guilty pleas because this would lose for sure in a court of law.

The police officer sounded a little homophobic to my ear, as well.

That said, I still suspect Craig was trolling for sex, but it WOULD be between consenting adults for no money. So really...the crime again was????

Honestly...people plead guilty all the time to things they may or may not have done. It's called mitigating risk. You take the safest bet, the potentially least damaging.

You don't really think the justice system is so perfect that only the guilty get caught and punished, and only the guilty plead guilty.

And that's point Chani made about illegal.

***

Sage and Jen, I agree, it's a sad culture that forces this. I'm more disturbed by the fact that this is what they feel driven to, and police feel driven to make it an arrest worthy thing.

***

Oooh Gwen, by all means...do it here. :)

I agree. Values are relative.

And let's not confuse values, morals and ethics, especially the subjective.

Oooh babe, I think you just suggested next week's hump day topic.

Cecilieaux said...

It's not the sex (yes, illegal), not the politics. It's the hypocrisy.

Julie Pippert said...

Cecilieaux,

Whose hypocrisy how? Or all of it? LOL

Homosexual sex as illegal is...silly. Period, IMO. Expending resources to catch it and prosecute it is ridiculous. Period, IMO.

Sexual propositioning as illegal? Not exactly, only elements of it may be, as a big stretch.

I didn't hear too much hollering when it was male senators propositioning female pages. And THAT is on the books specifically.

Although, to be fair, they did end up having to resign after an investigation.

But that got nowhere near this amount of attention.

Which leads me right back to homophobia.

***

QUESTION: Should Craig be forced to resign?

IMO? Yes, but not based solely on this; based on his overall record.

Snoskred said...

We're talking about an airport toilet. How many of you reading this have let your male kids go into one alone? Seriously? What if they'd walked in and witnessed some of these sex acts? Do you allow them to watch pr0n at home? Would you want it coming to them as a surprise in an airport toilet?

I don't care who does what to whom or how often or whatever, but please for the sake of all that is good and decent, get a motel room or take it home.

If it were men and women doing it, I'd feel exactly the same, if it were two women, I'd feel exactly the same.

I guarantee you, they had enough on him to get a conviction. If they did not, he would have fought it - with blaring media coverage, too. I would be willing to bet that they have video and audio footage of what went on, because that is how the police do these stings when it is prostitution, buying drugs, any kind of undercover work - to protect their own backs and to use in court as evidence and I have no doubt they do the same with this kind of sting. That would be why he pled guilty.

Innocent people should never be pleading guilty unless they ARE guilty. If they do, they are getting some terrible legal advice.

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

Snoskred said...

Oh, and you should try and catch some episodes of COPS, Julie. ;) I love that show. ;)

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

Julie Pippert said...

Snoskred, errrr

I don't let my kids go to public toilets alone out of concern for their safety, first. Kids can really harm themselves in toilets, trust me. Or harm the space. Another slice of my mind is concerned about the risk of strangers, a la kidnappers or pedophiles.

I'm not worried about homosexuals.

Also, I'm not sure what they report about the US justice system or this particular case in your country but...I think maybe it's a little skewed (big surprise LOL).

People plead and plea bargain here often. It's not necessarily bad legal advice, either.

Here's a few more things I think are relevant to consider:

1. It is legal for two consenting adults to discuss having sex, even if this discussion occurs in public. If this were not legal, bars would be having a really bad time.

2. People have never objected this loudly to sexual propositioning before. Women are "propositioned" to the point of harassment, often. Never has there been a sting operation to mitigate this. Women (including me) have filed police reports about stalkers, peepers, harassers, etc. and the police scoff, laugh it off, do nothing, certainly no stings or arrests.

3. It is illegal to have sex in public. This is not the same things as propositioning, which is all Craig was charged with.

Craig was not caught in a "lewd act" nor is it known that anyone intended sexual relations to actually occur in the bathroom. I'm not sure what these people do after the "hook up." It might take place in the bathroom. Jeff mentions a bathroom at a rest stop. Sex does often happen in bathrooms. I haven't heard an outcry over that before, and outside of adult locations like clubs, I haven't personally run across it (which isn't data, just anecdote).

But, we have no information about whether Craig intended a sexual encounter IN the bathroom.

All we know is that he was accused of propositioning in the bathroom, and plead guilty to disorderly conduct.

Someone elsewhere made the good point that this all comes too close to actively criminalizing homosexuality, setting it up for frequent prosecution. That's deeply concerning!.

4. If they were really concerned about sex IN the bathroom, then the officer could have, and should have, waited until the encounter progressed beyond signals that are up for interpretation.

It would be a much stronger accusation and case if they could have charged him with lewd behavior and sex, not just disorderly conduct.

Which sort of begs the question what their main concern is.

Public sex is illegal. The actual propositioning is not which is why they had to reach for the disorderly conduct and peeping statutes (which are pretty open to interpretation).

5. Again, this doesn't mitigate what Sen. Craig did...I'm simply asking that we explore what the law enforcers did. Focus on them, too.

One aspect of that is: is this fairly applied? Would it go after females and heterosexuals as well?

If not, it looks targeted and bigoted.

That's as bad as Craig, IMO.

I think the charges are ridiculous, as such.

Snoskred said...

I have to say if innocent people are pleading guilty, there is something very, VERY wrong with your justice system. :(

Again, I sincerely doubt this politician would have done it without knowing they had enough on him to make it stick in court - he would have known that it would come out in the media. Given all the apparent discussion in the past about his activities, he would not have wanted that to happen.

I feel that if he was not guilty he would have been shouting it from the rooftops and making speeches about how unjust the justice system is. I don't think he would have taken a plea. I know I would not have done it, and nor should anyone else have done it.

Police undercover tactics do involve the use of audio and video, in general they do not leave it to just the officers word against someone they were accusing of something like this. Clearly this was a problem that was going on in these toilets, hence the reason for the undercover operation.

Also just for reference, these days all police cars - even in Australia, we the backward country - are outfitted with cameras. There's a good reason for this - that way it is all on tape if there is ever any query or question about what happened. Shows like COPS and other tv shows get access to that footage and they make tv shows out of it.

I have no doubt that at some point the video or audio evidence will be "leaked" in order to make it very clear what did or did not happen. I'm surprised it hasn't already happened, especially considering the public bleatings of innocence from the senator involved.

Taking a look at the smoking gun website, which has all the Documents involved in the case, it is stated in the Guilty Plea that the court will not accept a plea from anyone who believes they are innocent and that by pleading guilty "I now make no claim that I am innocent of the charge to which I am entering a plea of Guilty".

Well, that was then - he's certainly loudly making claims that he's innocent now. It is apparent from the documents that he had NOT sought legal advice - which he should have done and anyone should do before pleading to anything!

What he was actually charged with was "Peep" - interference with privacy, which he did when he looked into the stall the officer was in. I expect when I am in a public toilet that people are not going to look through the crack of the stall and so does everyone else. If this had not been a police officer but had been a regular person using the bathroom being peeped on? That is a nasty thing to do, and apparently it is against the law there.

He was also charged with Disorderly Conduct. Now sure, that one might be a stretch, however by peeping he had basically broken this law.

There are many laws I don't agree with, but when you are in Rome you must do as the romans do - you must abide by the laws and it is your responsibility to be aware of what those laws are.

To me it smells of a coverup - the fact he did not even consult a lawyer, the fact that he pled guilty so easily without seeking legal advice, to me these are the actions of someone not altogether innocent and hoping to keep it quiet. But maybe that's just me. ;)

Some COPS is available on you tube, that clip is one where they're doing prostitute stings.

Snoskred
http://www.snoskred.org/

Snoskred said...

And maybe I'm just a bit biased, having watched so many episodes of COPS where they do these stings.. :)

Just watching that last cops clip, the last man left his wife at walmart while he went to pick up a prostitute, and he's worried that she's going to find out what he did! Eew!

ewe are here said...

I think the arrests were primarily about the homosexuality aspects, but partly about the proposition aspects. Last thing you want in a public bathroom are people soliciting for/having sex of any kind.

The outcry from the right and the 'forced' resignation were about homosexuality, period, though, especially when other alleged recent homosexual encounters came to light about the Senator. I think there would have been more of a (repulsive to me) 'boys will be boys' attitude had he been caught soliciting another woman. It's one of the reasons there are very few republicans I could ever vote for. Hypocrites, all of them. Stay out of people's personal lives/bedrooms!

Anonymous said...

Its not about being gay or even his behavior of finding love in a toilet stall. That is none of our business. Its about the hypocritical position he took of being somehow "morally superior" to the people he is seeking then minutes love affairs with. Another republican hypocrite slides down the tubes of life.

kim said...

So according to the criteria my children have all been guilty of a gross misdemeanor.