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Manhattan Beach Police Arrest 18 in Sex Sting: VIDEO


Police have arrested 18 men in a sex sting at a Manhattan Beach, CA public restroom.

Watch an NBC Los Angeles report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. The police could have easily handled these "crimes" by taking preventive measures first (posting notices, taking doors off stalls, etc). Instead, they decided to make a number of arrests first to make an "example" of these men, complete with photos released to the local newspapers & media (1950s redux). Manhattan Beach, like other cities in the South Bay area of LA (Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach), have no ordinances banning discrimination against the LGBT community. There's only one gay bar in the entire area, but a sizable gay community (So. Bay Gay Community Services Ctr. is located in nearby Gardena). I doubt very much that police bother to arrest heterosexuals when they're caught having sex on the beach- it's treated more like an infraction. That should have been the case here. Instead, these men will probably be required to register as sex offenders, and their life prospects will be permanently damaged.

    Posted by: My 2cents | Apr 4, 2012 10:33:06 PM

  2. Note to self: Don't take a sh#t at Manhattan Beach. No doors.

    Posted by: Eddie | Apr 4, 2012 11:16:07 PM

  3. Why are lifeguards spying on people in bathrooms? Why did lifeguards leave their post to do this? How did they have a full hour to monitor a man's trip to the men's room, and to ensure that it wasn't actually two separate trips? Who might have drowned during that time, and how do we know?

    When did bathrooms become public space? Are we all allowed into any bathroom of either sex now? Of course not. Bathrooms are not public. Privacy is expected.

    Now the doors have been removed? How is someone supposed to take a dump? This is a remarkable step to take. After certain meals, sometimes there isn't a lot of warning. What a humiliating experience that would be. It's unjustifiable.

    In these debt-ridden times, I don't think taxpayers want their money spent on police interfering with consensual sex. Their time would have been better spent finding out who cut the hole, because that is actually damaging property.

    I hope taxpayers will be refunded the cost of the doors, which were needlessly removed.

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 4, 2012 11:25:49 PM


    Posted by: Shannon | Apr 4, 2012 11:41:41 PM

  5. The police were reported to lure them in on sites like craigslist. So that's entrapment. It's not that the homophobic police wait to catch these men in the act, they PURSUE them ...then arrest them. With all the unbelievable amount of crime all over L.A, AND Manhatten Beach area (study theft there) that they would seek this as a priority speaks volumes.

    Posted by: IonMovies | Apr 5, 2012 6:14:45 AM

  6. You would think the cops would have better things to do. Oh wait, they do. But that's not nearly as exciting as catching the gay guy.

    It's stories like this that make me want to tell EVERY closeted LGBT to come out, and be proud, and not be ashamed of your lover and partner. Be it holding hands, or kissing in public. These cops are essentially trying to send a message to us, and what better way to promote LGBT rights than being out and openly gay.

    Posted by: Jeremy L. | Apr 5, 2012 6:16:26 AM

  7. Ditto My 2 Cents.

    The LGBT community should offer support and comfort to these men, however foolish their behavior, because this was an aggressive, vindictive "witch hunt". 1950s redux indeed.

    There will be closeted men engaging in this sort of "anonymous" sex for a long time to come. The deep-seated homophobia in our and other cultures produces them. These men, however distasteful, are victims not criminals.

    This is not "community-based" policing.

    Posted by: Fahd | Apr 5, 2012 8:14:06 AM

  8. These comments are crazy. As if sticking your junk through a glory hole at a public restroom is a civil right. Victims? People going to a beach bathroom for sex are doing so with complete understanding that they are engaging in risky, illegal behavior, and that's probably half the attraction. So guess what? These guys got caught this time. Nobody should be surprised. Nobody should be shocked. Nobody should be outraged. Let's move on.

    Posted by: Hank | Apr 5, 2012 9:40:27 AM

  9. No, Hank, we will not move on. First of all, most guys in these situations don't even identify as gay. They identify as straight, closeted, or bi-married. So it's not even about that, embarrassing our community or these men engaging in behavior that, yeah, I will say, isn't something I support, I think it's gross, for obvious reasons. But here's the thing, Hank, what this is about, first of all, are men who are either sexually repressed and/or damaged by homophobia to the point they would rather engage in sexual activity in these restrooms than actually live as openly gay/bisexual and find men in a more healthy, appropriate way. That's the GLARING sign that homophobia is still a serious, serious problem in our world. And this is L.A. A lot of these guys like the thrill and feeling of danger but the truth is very few of these men would engage in this opportunity if they weren't pushed into it. In that sense, they are victims, victims of a homophobic society that damages people living in it to the point they would do things that go against their very own personal well-being.

    Secondly, these are cases of ENTRAPMENT pure and simple. Virtually every single one of these cases are cases where police are intentionally seeking gay men, men they suspect as gay, or men they feel they can seduce, into doing something sexual in nature, so they can arrest and humiliate them. That is ILLEGAL but it continues to happen across the country. You can disagree with what these closeted men are doing but no, they should not be preyed upon and treated like murderers. They should not have their lives destroyed. Gay people should not have to worry about police looking to get their rocks off by discriminating against us.

    The police-enforcement field is one of the most male-dominated, conservative, homophobic fields of work around. Instead of supporting them and their continued actions against our community, support the people who are discriminated against because of their hatred against homosexuality and homosexual persons.

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 5, 2012 10:16:54 AM

  10. @Hank: No one is condoning the behavior, but homophobia is a fact and hiding legitimate same-sex yearnings & their expression is one of the outcomes. Many of us are astonished that the police would respond so severely, and that the media would act as co-conspirators in what is plainly an overreaction to what was actually done. Were there no robberies, car thefts or other crimes in Manhattan Beach that week? I can remember a time when two men kissing in public was considered "lewd & lascivious" behavior. People actually went to jail for it. The penalty these men will pay is out of proportion to their crime, and would have been treated differently by police and the media had it involved heterosexuals. When was the last time you heard of heterosexuals being arrested with photos posted to media, for having sex on the beach- a common activity in most beach towns?

    Posted by: Jerry | Apr 5, 2012 10:18:36 AM

  11. Guys, I really think your sociological apologetics are clouding the simple truths of this matter. Maybe you are Manhattan Beach residents with greater access to the facts of this investigation, but from the information available on this site, I don't see any cause for accusations that these men were "preyed upon," "treated like murderers," or "discriminated against" by cops "getting their rocks off."
    Nor do I see that the police responded "severely," or that the media has acted "as co-conspirators in what is plainly an overreaction to what was actually done." And I see no facts here that suggest entrapment. To the contrary, the facts suggest the opposite -- that the law enforcement here was pretty well-considered and even-handed, and triggered by conduct that apparently was longstanding and flagrant.

    I am not really sure what points you are trying to make here in regard to the specific facts of this case. Should lifeguards and police NOT have been concerned about men spending hours around this public toilet, three in a stall, drilling holes to suck each other off? When they received complaints, should they have responded, "Sorry -- we are going to ignore this for the time being, since we understand that these repressed folks really do need a public outlet to have sex, and this restroom is a great place for them to do it." Maybe it was no business of the lifeguards to be concerned about the activity and to report it? Should they have not started closely monitoring the restroom to observe what was going on? Maybe they should have posted a sign on the door saying "Ejaculation-Safe Environment." Okay, perhaps I am being a bit cute here, but really, I don't see what alternatives you are suggesting. If you are going to complain about something, then you should offer up a practical alternative solution. Should public restroom sex be legal? Is that what you are really asking for here? Or maybe you want it to remain illegal, but perpetrators should remain anonymous and given verbal warnings? Or maybe you want it to be illegal, but arrests should only occur if a uniformed police officer first announces his presence with a bullhorn outside the restroom, then waits ten seconds, then proceeds inside to discover if any illicit behavior is taking place. Rather than playing the homophobia card, please be explicit about what you recommend should have been actually done here.

    Posted by: Hank | Apr 5, 2012 11:38:33 AM

  12. 1) In most "sex" crimes, the identities of the accused and accuser are kept confidential; why are these men's faces and names being published? Their future job prospects are forever affected at the least. It's plain wrong.

    2) Larry Craig put the nail in the coffin of bathroom sex meetings. Even 6 year olds are now aware of "funny things men do in bathrooms". He should be held responsible.

    3) Surprisingly, the men are not all trolls. I would think Mr. Rathburn and Mr. Tamahana would easily be able to find someone on the Internet or in a bar. Maybe there is something about the immediacy and anonymity of such places that a gay establishment can address?

    Posted by: Sean | Apr 5, 2012 11:48:20 AM

  13. we can't give support, outreach and honest-to-God *help* to grown adults who choose public bathrooms as their only "gay outlet"

    I understand the pressures of a closeted life.....but these kind of encounters not only come with the risk of being Outed, but with being charged with a criminal offense.

    i don't care who has a fetish or turn-on for public bathrooms. your fetish or turn-on cannot take precedence over not only common sense, but the fact that these facilities are also for people who DON'T have your fetish or turn on.

    and no, i'm not "sex-shaming" - by all means, get your freak on. but it's 2012, and this is North America. find a place where you can do it where it aint ILLEGAL.

    better yet, put your hormones on hold, use your computer, and find legit LGBT Outreach resources. support lines. support groups. come to terms with and address your sexuality, if you're questioning then find people to help with those questions.

    while i'm no fan of the money-wasting and indeed-prejudiced "vice squad" nonsense that has been going on forever, i'm not also no fan of grown-up adults thinking with their penises and not their brains.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 5, 2012 1:21:53 PM

  14. they look homeless.

    Posted by: alec | Apr 6, 2012 2:33:33 AM

  15. First, off I am angered by some of the comments as they are missing the point and stereotype these men. Others, have hit the point right on the mark.

    They are not perverts, deviants or homeless. They have respectable lives, but many resort to this illegal behavior as they are afraid to come out to a homophobic world. The stigma is soooo strong and there is for many much shame, so they get their needs met anonymously knowing the risks.

    One of these men is a friend of mine and the posted pictures, with dates of birth, and city in which they live, was "outed" to everyone including his family, work, friends, etc. The picture has turned his world upside down...he may lose his job, his most beloved coaching job that he has been doing over 20 years and life as he knew it.

    What they did was illegal and quite dangerous, but the major problem is that the pictures were released which probably wouldn't have happened and this probably wouldn't have been such big news had they not been gay...welcome back to the 1950s.

    Posted by: Snoopy | Apr 7, 2012 10:02:35 PM

  16. For a 'wannabe' upper middle-income Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach has a lot of dirty laundry to be ashamed of. The city council was reported to have paid its city manager $270,000 to walk away from his job after he admitted to inappropriate behavior with at least one female city employee (LA Weekly 4/7/11)-no one was arrested. This is also the city that gave us the Mc Martin Preschool satanic & ritual sex abuse mass hysteria trial, which produced zero convictions but was one of the longest running and most expensive criminal trials in history. Manhattan Beach police were also involved in a botched hit and run accident a few months ago (LA Weekly 1/19/12), that has cost city taxpayers so far more than half a million dollars to settle.

    Were Manhattan Beach police looking for a way to "score big" and regain the respect of the community, or merely responding to complaints? As noted by others, the police have a wide latitude on how to handle public nuisances and alleged lewd behavior. At the least they could or should have closed the beach bathroom, and that would have stopped all activity immediately. The arrested/accused don’t appear to have been predators, preying on unsuspecting/unwilling individuals. The publicizing of their names and photographs amounts to a public shaming, resulting in ruining the lives of these individuals arrested for relatively minor crimes, for which they have NOT yet been convicted. This brings to mind the kind of routine thuggish behavior that was all too commonly applied against LGBTs historically: bar shakedowns, raiding public meetings, surveillance of legitimate protest gatherings, etc. Police in general have often used the full force of the law to entrap LGBTs, seeing them as fair game and easy marks, capitalizing on public hysteria; the media exposure is seen as positive in building their law enforcement cred, and deserved damage for the alleged perpetrators.

    Posted by: So. Bay Resident | Apr 8, 2012 1:32:31 PM

  17. i'm not sure what these "welcome back to the 1950s" comments are supposed to mean.

    it's 2012. The people stuck in the 1950s are not just the vice-squad cops, but the men who continue to give excuses for these behaviors.

    i truly don't get it. if you're that Closeted, any by closeted i mean secretive about your sexual desires and not just orientations, then why on EARTH are you risking something this big? you won't just get OUTED, you'll get ARRESTED.

    it's 2012. it's not 1950. of *course* it's "hard" to Come Out in a homophobic world...but this is 2012 in north America. people have been coming out for decades. stop with the excuses. nobody has it easy when coming out, and if they have i've certainly never met them. but saying "guys, coming out is scary" is not justification for this.

    heck, we have incredibly brave LGBT people who are coming out, and being visible, overseas where there are actual laws criminalizing their very being. they still come out. at some point adults need to be adults and start understanding the differences between Reasons and Excuses.

    in 2012, in the USA, if you're a grown-up adult you need to address reality; saying "it's hard" is not justification for continuing to risk exposure and arrest with these clandestine encounters rather than working on Coming Out.

    there are resources. use them. no more excuses.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 8, 2012 1:48:11 PM

  18. GO TO MANHATTAN BEACH! Go there, bring it. That gay-man hating woman cop needs to see swarms of fags parading up and down their nice little beach all day for a long time.

    And all you little conservative queers, I saw your ads for CPAC on Craig's list.

    Posted by: gljcb | Apr 9, 2012 3:52:00 AM

  19. @littlekiwi. The men are not making excuse. In fact, they have not said much. I'm glad that you find it easy to come out, but it still is greatly stigmatized and many, many, many homosexual men and women find it extremely difficult especially if their parents are from the 50s and 60s. You are sadly, mistaken if you think that it is easy in 2012. People who are gay, still find it difficult to come out due to society's general homophobia, shaming and in this case embarrassment. The 50s and 60s seem to have returned with the discrimination. The pictures would not have been shown had they not been gay. See video to find out what it was like:


    Posted by: Snoopy | Apr 9, 2012 12:23:18 PM

  20. snoopy - at no point did i say it was easy. i've never met anyone who found coming out "easy".
    where are you getting that from?

    here's the thing - if being Outed or Coming Out is really and truly something that one is scared of, then WHY are they risking not only Outing but ARREST by engaging in these behaviors in public places!?

    it's 2012. it's America. there are other outlets. re-prioritize. lgbt outreach. support groups. support lines. there are no legit reasons for grown adults to NOT DO THAT and choose instead to risk arrest and Outing by engaging in what are still illegal behaviors in a public facility.

    but i'm not sure what point you think you're making by saying 'it's hard to come out, society is still homophobic'

    well, duh. i came out years ago - i'm well aware of how hard it is, i lived it then and i still live it each day as an openly gay man. i'm also aware enough to know that it will not get better for ANY of us unless we act like responsible grown-ups and open the doors for others via visibility.

    "it's hard, society is homophobic" is not a reason to be closeted. it's an excuse. unless you're saying that the only people who are Out are those who "had it easy" then i'm not sure what point you think you're making. i've never met anyone who Had it Easy in fact, it's often those who've had it hardest that Come Out earlier - the drive to ensure that others don't go through that B.S. is a real catalyst for positive change.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 9, 2012 12:39:47 PM

  21. @littlekiwi,

    I get what you are saying. But, many of those who are not out for whatever reason. (I know of men who didn't come out or are not out and they are in there 40s-70s. For some, the wanting for sex is greater than taking that risk of being arrested. The thinking that it won't happen to me. I'm not saying that it is right, but it is the reality even in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. By the way, I am not trying to argue about this. I just have much emotions about this. I also have a couple of friends who were arrested and know their story. I think that I am venting my anger here. Sorry if I'm coming off too strong.

    Posted by: Snoopy | Apr 9, 2012 1:03:49 PM

  22. you're not coming off too strong, i just don't see the point in what you're saying. at all.
    at some point adults need to be adults, and that means you stop giving the same excuses you gave as a teenager. we've all heard the "reasons" people give for not Coming Out - *I* gave them, myself, when i was a teen. But the reality is that they're not reasons, they're excuses, and they become excuses even more so the older you get.
    If their desire for sex is greater than the sobering reality of risking arrest, which will indeed leading to criminal charge AND being Outed, then i'm not sure what specific sympathy I'm supposed to be having. there are resources to help these people. none of which are found at a gloryhole.

    people need to stop reinforcing lies to themselves - do it for too long and you start to believe them. telling yourself "I can't come out because _______" is a surefire way to waste a few more years of your life.

    if you're a grown adult in north america who is willing to risk arrest and Outing by engaging in illegal sexual activities in a public facility then any excuse you give for "not coming out", or at least not working on understanding and accepting your attractions with the many resources available, then you're just reinforcing your own lies every day. and saying "i can't come out, it's hard" is not a reason. its an excuse. it's the same excuse every Out person told themselves when they were still closeted.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 9, 2012 1:29:33 PM

  23. yeah...as SEAN said: why ARE their faces published in the article??!

    i've never seen that before. except in the case of larry craig...but he was a public figure.

    this smells foul to me.

    Posted by: redball | Apr 9, 2012 1:44:03 PM

  24. no doubt - the published photos are a witch-hunt throwback to a bygone era. vice squad nonsense all over again.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 9, 2012 2:05:19 PM

  25. Homosexual activities are useless & harmful - Homosexual & lesbian activities are comparable to drug junkyism-it's best for homosexuals & lesbians to be celibate even if orientation doesn't change. Sex is supposed to be limited to penis-vaginal sex only between man & woman.

    Many 'gay bashings' happen after gays harass other men in public restrooms & the man reacts by bashing or killing the gay. Any1 who sees nothing wrong with homosexuals harassing others in the bathroom has something wrong with them. It wouldn't surprise me if some of these 18 homos have committed homosexual rapes on others in the bathroom. We need 'gay bashings' to stop homo like these. This article proves just how evil homosexuals are. Finally Matthew Shepard was a METHEW Shepard.

    Posted by: snowisfun | Apr 9, 2012 3:41:29 PM

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