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Police Charge 24 in Huntsville, Alabama Gay Sex Sting

Montesano

Law enforcement authorities in Huntsville, Alabama conducted a weeklong sting spurred by what they said were complaints of gay cruising at the Monte Sano scenic overlook outside the city that resulted in charges being filed against 24 men:

"Police officials said the investgation began in response to complaints from citizens about sexual activity involving men at one of Huntsville's most scenic sites. During the investigation, officers obtained warrants for 22 alleged offenders and arrested two people at the overlook. The offenders with charges pending against them were contacted to either come to the Huntsville Police Department to turn themselves in or to face officers coming to their home or business and being arrested, officials said. Those who are arrested will be charged with Sexual Misconduct and could face fines, jail time, probation, and be required to register as sex offenders after their conviction, investigators said. All offenders were also trespassed from all city parks for a period of one year and will face being arrested if they violate that trespass warning."

According to local news station WAAY, which published a mugshot gallery and a list of the alleged offenders (a tactic we've seen before), "Police officials said they will continue to want all locations in Huntsville that have been on an ongoing basis for criminal and immoral activities."

Said Huntsville Police Sgt. Mark Roberts: "What we're saying is we're getting serious with this problem. We had to look at another sense, because we knew law enforcement alone was not working and that it didn't matter to them if they got caught or not. We're hoping in the future this is a better place and hope the design change makes it a better place for the community."

(image flickr user WhitneyGH)

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Comments

  1. Where is a press release statement from the Obama campaign condemning this action? If Obama truly is on the side of the LGBTQ community then he will take a position on the matter. However, I will not hold my breath waiting for him to respond to yet another breach of our civil rights.

    Posted by: HOGB a/k/a ThatsRich a/k/a ANOTHERDEMOCRATICIDIOT | Aug 22, 2008 8:57:12 AM


  2. Um...so. People shouldn't be having sex in public anyway. There are plenty of places to fuck around besides the side of a scenic highway.

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 22, 2008 9:07:01 AM


  3. Why don't the police ever engage in mass arrests of heterosexual couples who are parked on the proverbial lover's lane?

    I'm sure sex phobic Pam Spaulding supports this mass arrest of gay men given her previous hysterics against toe tapping in toilet stalls.

    Posted by: HOGB a/k/a THATSRICH a/k/a ANOTHERDEMOCRATICIDIOT | Aug 22, 2008 9:14:49 AM


  4. Sheesh, Pam has really hit a nerve with the delusional Log Cabinoids. They can't stop talking about her.

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Aug 22, 2008 9:37:55 AM


  5. So let me see if I got this right:
    1. These men should be allowed to have public sex because if you stop them you are violating there righs because the are gay
    2. If people complain about public sex - they are violating gay mens rights.

    This is bull@@@@ No one should be in a State park in ull view of the public having sex (gay or straight) Get a room! The police should have waited for conviction to post pictures and names but the arrest were set off by complaints!!! People do not want to see people having sex in the park!!! what if a parent with kids decided to picnic is it O.K for the kids to see the naked people having sex??? Again get off the gay thing who cares if it was 2 men or 2 women or even 2 animals take sex home or to a rented room - somewhere private the rest of us do not need to see you.

    Posted by: micky | Aug 22, 2008 9:47:02 AM


  6. JOHN IN MANHATTAN:

    I love how in your little world you see everything as black and white, Democrat or Republican, and assume that I'm a Log Cabinoid because I do not support the Democrats who are little more than derivative of the Republicans.

    Previously I voted for Bill Clinton twice for President (only to be betrayed by his enactment of DOMA and DADT), voted for Al Gore for President, and even in this Democratic primary supported Obama. Indeed, if you followed the political blogs, you would know that I was a strong supporter of Obama.

    However, I rejected Obama as it became clear to me that he was just another tool from the South Side of Chicago who was willing to make unprincipled deals with the Teamsters Union, supported John Edwards for AG notwithstanding his ties to several convicted racketeers, and began moving to the right with his Christianist views on marriage, his new-found support for warrantless wiretaps, etc.

    My beef with many Democrats -- including Pam Spaulding -- is that they often are engaged in the same hysterical judgmental and self-righteous views on sex as the religious right, and I'm amazed how they got their panties in such a bunch over the McCain affair 30 years ago or the toe tapping of a gay man in a toilet stall.

    I'm voting my heart and principles, and I'm voting for the Green Party. You really should check out its platform on LGBTQ equality: the Green Party actually supports us. Can you handle it? Or would you rather continue to be a whining victim clinging to the skirt of the Democratic Party you call your mama?

    Posted by: HOGB a/k/a THATSRICH a/k/a ANOTHERDEMOCRATICIDIOT | Aug 22, 2008 9:52:04 AM


  7. Once again ---the sex police have saved the day for all of us. No comment on the fact that calling it a gay sex sting is not entirely accurate. When the morality police set their sites on "cruising" spots the folks they snare usually identify themselves as heterosexuals and are often times married and come from all professions and socio-economic backgrounds. It is a discrete way to fulfill a suppressed desire.

    Posted by: Nick | Aug 22, 2008 9:57:14 AM


  8. @hogb

    Both parties are hypocrites. And living in a city where green party candidates are on the city council - all I have to say is that you are nuts. Green party may fully support GLBTQ...whatever (OH NOOOS! - i put the G first!) but their platform on everything else is ludicrous (for example - our wonderful green party tried to ban circus's animals last year - yay!)

    Saying that - having sex in public is idiotic - stop doing it. Go online, go to a bar, go to the supermarket to pick up guys.

    Posted by: yoshi | Aug 22, 2008 10:04:14 AM


  9. I think a lot of these men get a kick out of the danger factor. Well, looks like they got what they were tempting. A lot of these men are probably straight-identifying with wives and a family.

    Personally, I'm opposed to flagrant displays of public sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual in nature. The police, if they are to have a moral consistency to their position, must also arrest any straight couples having public sex.

    Posted by: jason | Aug 22, 2008 10:04:35 AM


  10. I guess these guys do not have computer access in Alabama?

    Posted by: Troy | Aug 22, 2008 10:05:37 AM


  11. Yes, I agree with the poster who suggested that a lot of the men who go to these cruising sites are closet bisexuals with an urge for quick and easy sex.

    Posted by: jason | Aug 22, 2008 10:07:08 AM


  12. Sorry folks. I'm on the side of the police department's efforts. People having sex in public areas run the risk of getting busted if caught. And yes, even if they are targeting gay cruising spots over hetero "lovers lanes". Just because I am a gay male doesn't give me the "right" to hook up and get my rocks off wherever and whenever.

    And for those who are ready to flame me for my POV, don't waste your post. Trying to justify their actions because the accused live in some podunk town where they are forced to hide their sexual identity and resort to anonymous sex doesn't hold water. There are many other ways to fulfill one's sexual desires/needs.

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 22, 2008 10:09:13 AM


  13. I couldn't help myself. I'm sure Derrick will be all over my ass on this.
    Once again, I don't understand how people can defend sex in a public space as being a right.
    If this is so discreet, then why were there public complaints about it? That's where the problem lies. If, I repeat, if this were so discreet, then perhaps people who cruise for sex in parks, etc, wouldn't have such a problem. But, for some reason, public parks and restrooms seem to be the area of choice to meet and have sex. Hardly discreet at all.

    Posted by: D.R.H. | Aug 22, 2008 10:09:40 AM


  14. It is so obnoxiously hypocritical that we spend so much time fighting for equality in the law and then then think we shouldn't have to abide by them.

    HOGB, you bitch about marriage equality and then think we should be allowed to have public sex in clear violation of laws?

    In a world prior to the internet and increased acceptance of gay people, perhaps this was the only route for gay men looking to get off. It isn't anymore, and each one of them should be arrested.

    Posted by: Dan B | Aug 22, 2008 10:12:03 AM


  15. As usual, the morality police out in force, this time with a special campaign twist from thatsrich.

    The "public" sex, if you read the article, was in a pavilion from which the participants could clearly see the parking lot and see who was coming. I. e. no one ever stumbled on them actually having sex.

    The local TV station set up a hidden camera -- that did actually catch some men, until one stole the tape from it and was later charged with theft.

    So the local paper applauds hidden cameras in the woods (big brother, anybody?) but documents not one case of actual people stumbling onto sex. Maybe some day those satellite cameras will be able to see us all outside, just to be sure we never get it on in nature. I'm sure that would please everyone here.

    Flagrant displays of public sex = sex on the main town square, in the middle of the city. It does not happen. Sex in a pavilion far from a parking lot at an overlook is neither flagrant nor public. If you argue that it's public because it's public land, that would mean that any time you visit a national park, you should abstain from sex in your tent.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Aug 22, 2008 10:15:24 AM


  16. PS: What a motley crew!

    Posted by: Dan B | Aug 22, 2008 10:17:03 AM


  17. "If this is so discreet, then why were there public complaints about it?"

    You're kidding, right?

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Aug 22, 2008 10:17:26 AM


  18. Creeps who pull this kind of stunt are doing a lot more damage to gay rights than the cops who arrest them.

    Posted by: Meanwhile | Aug 22, 2008 10:21:44 AM


  19. "HOGB, you bitch about marriage equality and then think we should be allowed to have public sex in clear violation of laws?"

    It's not that I'm in favor of public sex in clear violation of laws. Obviously the state/city has the right to prohibit such conduct and enforce violations although I do not believe "public sex" in the woods actually constitutes an end of Western civilization as some would portray.

    My beef is that raids on public sex are inevitably against gay sex, and although heterosexual lover's lanes have been around as long as Happy Days the local law enforcement seems not to be as outraged by straight public sex. To me the "public sex" outrage seems reserved for gay men -- whether closeted men, married men, or whatever -- and there's an awful lot of homophobic joy in their persecution.

    Posted by: HOGB a/k/a Thatsrich a/k/a ANOTHERDEMOCRATICIDIOT | Aug 22, 2008 10:29:46 AM


  20. I'll start by saying simply that I don't think police should spend time or effort pursuing people meeting for sex outdoors, whether or not they're gay.

    As a "younger" gay man though, I continue to be perplexed by gay men who in this day and age use "known" meeting places for anonymous gay sex. They always seem to be older.

    If you check out the published "mugshots" all but one of the arrested men appears to be in his 50s and 60s - so this isn't a problem endemic of a younger generation of guys. Even if my friends and I will vouyeristically pass through the Meat Rack on Fire Island, I don't know anyone who's actually done anything there. We're all in our mid and early 20s.

    I wish someone would tell these older guys about the Internet - if not the concept of coming out of the closet altogether and having "normal" relationships. As someone who has had anonymous hook ups himself, I think its better if people can conduct them in privacy. If you live in a part of the country like Alabama where there isn't a lot of gay culture or gay venues, the Internet would seem to be the perfect place to scour the community there for potential mates. Bringing gay sex life to a park just seems to reinforce the bad view the public, especially in that part of the country, has of gay people.

    Posted by: Mike Hines | Aug 22, 2008 10:39:38 AM


  21. Some of the men arrested in this sting should seek to dismiss the charges on grounds that local law enforcement is engaged in selective enforcement of the law -- i.e., applying it in practice only to gay sex but not straight sex -- which would be a clear violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments.

    Posted by: HOGB a/k/a ThatsRich a/k/a ANOTHERDEMOCRATICIDIOT | Aug 22, 2008 10:41:47 AM


  22. I'm still not sympathetic even if the men were targeted because they are gay. They knowingly broke the law, and they are suffering the consequences of it.

    For the record, I am unaware of any straight "lovers lanes." I don't know where to find them outside of period movies.

    Posted by: Dan B | Aug 22, 2008 10:42:04 AM


  23. I agree with Derrick. (or will, once he comments)

    As for some of the others, please get off your moral high horses and spare us the sermon. I do not believe that the punishment fits the crime in this case. These men will be registered sex offenders which puts them in the same category as pedophiles and rapists.

    indiscreet, yes; criminal, no.

    Posted by: Mark in MYC | Aug 22, 2008 10:51:00 AM


  24. Registering as a sex offender makes it pretty serious doesn't it? It's all just harmless fun untill they post your photo on the web with the dangerous perverts. I don't know exactly how the land lays at this place and I'm pretty sure no one else chiming in here does either. So the wild assumptions about how public it was and the means evidence was captured by is so much noise. My personal testimonial is this; Any of the cruising areas I have checked out for public sex had too little cover for me to be comfortable. If I moved farther down the trails there was no one cruising. Don't try to sh!t a sh!tter, we all know how close to public view this is happening. Do I think society is too uptight? Yes. Do I want my mom to see you screwing in the bushes in the park near her home (a popular cruising spot she jogs by 5 days a week)? NO!

    Posted by: Rikard | Aug 22, 2008 10:55:07 AM


  25. Wow, I'm agreeing with THATSRICH; that may be a first! But he's absolutely right.

    While it's true that "public" sex comes with risks and that guys who engage in it should be aware of those risks (and not completely surprised when they get busted), as usual, people have an erroneous impression that this sex is going on in full view of delicate families and children, when it simply is not.

    But, even if you disapprove of public sex that is actually secluded sex between consenting adults in the out of doors, look at the methods here: hidden cameras, shaming mugshots, registering as sex offenders etc. Look at the alarmist/homophobic wording of the news story about the sting. It's part of the idiotic sex panic that diverts law enforcement from the true sex criminals (mostly straight, mostly family members) and gives authorities an excuse to target and humiliate men who have sex with men. They wouldn't target straight couples because what would be the fun in that?

    Posted by: Ernie | Aug 22, 2008 11:05:54 AM


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