June 4 2017
The arrest of sixteen men was announced yesterday in Volusia County as a result of a four day “sex sting” in several of the local parks. Of the eighteen men, only one black man was arrested. The men were charged with various offenses relating to lewd and lascivious conduct. One was charged with “battery”, a non consensual touching.
All across Florida there are known hookup spots for gay men. These are mostly at County parks and public restrooms. I understand the police point of view that this conduct should not be tolerated in public. There is another side to this story. Throughout all of history, homosexuality has existed. It has been tolerated and at other times persecuted. The simple fact it that male homosexuality does exist. Rather than treat it as a crime, possibly a better approach would be to tacitly tolerate it in certain areas. What if there was a designated area where men could go and hook up? I agree that people visiting public parks and restrooms should not be subjected to men exposing themselves in a vulgar manner. Exhibitionism has existed throughout all of recorded time. Maybe a more civilized approach would be to designate certain areas where some conduct is tolerated.
As a criminal defense lawyer, I routinely represent men charged with these types of offenses.
I have never represented a woman similarly charged. Why is that? Have you ever heard of a lesbian being arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior in a public park? This is peculiarly a “male” issue.
Why was there only one black man arrested? Why were the remaining 17 men white and mostly middle aged? Is this conduct somehow connected to aging? Do some men as they age change their sexual preferences or orientation? Does it have anything to do with a change is testosterone levels? How many of these men were married? The sad thing is that arrests and criminal prosecutions and public humiliation do not seem to be the answer. Each of these men now has a blemish on their record. Many will be on “mugshots.com. Rather than make arrests, how about “warnings” or “citations” or a “summons to appear” in Court? There has to be a better way to deal with this problem.