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Louisiana

Under fire for arresting gay men, sheriff says he will stop enforcing sodomy law

Monday, July 29, 2013

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Sheriff’s Office in East Baton Rouge, La., that arrested at least 12 men since 2011 under a sodomy law invalidated in 2003 by the U.S. Supreme Court, now says it “should have taken a different approach” to concerns about park safety, and will no longer enforce the outdated law.

The department came under fire this weekend when the Baton Rouge Advocate reported that a task force of undercover officers had been arresting men after they agreed to engage in private, consensual sex.

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux

The sheriff’s office said in a statement Sunday that it was simply responding to “reports of public masturbation, sex and other lewd activity in a park where children are playing.”

“Our intent was honorable. Our approach, however, is something we must evaluate and change,” the statement read.

Although sex in public and solicitation of “unnatural carnal copulation” for money are illegal in Louisiana, neither element was part of these 12 cases, and most of the men were arrested after agreeing to have sex away from the park at a private residence, District Attorney Hillar Moore III told the newspaper.

“The Sheriff’s Office’s intentions are all good,” Moore said. “But from what I’ve seen of these cases, legally, we found no criminal violation.”

In an earlier statement, Sheriff’s office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks defended the arrests, stating, “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,” said Hicks.

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Metro Councilman John Delgado said Sheriff Sid Gautreaux owes an apology to the men arrested and the entire community.

In an email to the sheriff’s office, Delgado wrote that its response Sunday sensationalized the matter by using terms like “lewd conduct” and “public masturbation” and suggesting that children were present during the arrests.

“These men were arrested even though they were innocent of any crime,” he wrote.

Delgado said he will file public records requests Monday to determine when the District Attorney’s Office informed the Sheriff’s Office that the men targeted had committed no crime.

“You cannot simply hide behind not knowing that the law had been changed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2003,” Delgado’s email says. “The Sheriff’s actions are a violation of the civil rights of these men under the 5th and 14th amendments. Ignorance of the law is no excuse … Doesn’t your office tell people that all the time?”

Gautreaux has told the Capital City Alliance, a local LGBT advocacy group, that deputies “will no longer be enforcing this law until the courts or the legislature removes it,” the organization said in an emailed statement.


Update:

Gautreaux apologized late Monday for the series of sting operations in which his deputies used an unconstitutional anti-sodomy law to arrest men agreeing to have consensual sex with undercover agents. More here

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Filed under: Louisiana

59 more reader comments:

  1. This guy must get some kind of sick charge out of his decision to Arrest people..ugh

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:23pm
  2. He´s just jealous because he´s not getting the bufu at home.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:25pm
  3. Duh. What a douche.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:25pm
  4. It´s time to retire. Go to a nursing home.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:26pm
  5. Wasted tax payers money.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:27pm
  6. i personally call it descrimination for him to do that

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:27pm
  7. Shame!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:28pm
  8. You never should have been enforcing it to begin with you prick.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:29pm
  9. You never should have been enforcing it to begin with you bigoted prick.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:29pm
  10. Finally. What a bigot.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:30pm
  11. Fate forbids that he´ll not gonna have grandchildren who are gays and or lesbians….!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:30pm
  12. I think it probably stems from having a tiny weenie :)

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:30pm
  13. Louisiana is a huge red state.. No matter right or wrong, the south doesn´t like us and obviously they see this as right… even though these men were wrongfully arrested, the outcome is s huge step in getting rights for our community down there

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:31pm
  14. Closeted ass hat Sheriff. He and county staff who are aware of his stupidity should all be fired! That and a massive lawsuit will wake those bible thumping rednecks up!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:32pm
  15. That´s sweet of him, why don´t they fire him.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:32pm
  16. Get a life!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:32pm
  17. I guess they better arrest some heteros….too…jails will be overfilled and what a revenue maker….

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:33pm
  18. Well now, let´s arrest him for immarality and toss the key away. Good grief. What an ass.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:39pm
  19. The DOJ will have to go down there and investigate.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:40pm
  20. North Carolina has done this too. Just not to this degree.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:41pm
  21. I hope they all sue.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:44pm
  22. Or should we say that these anti-gay individuals do have their sad experiences with their gay or lesbian lovers?
    I bet they were dumped, as a revenge…..showed bigotry…

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:45pm
  23. what an idiot. Reason No. 874 of why I left that state and will never return and thanking god my kids weren´t raised there.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:45pm
  24. Please let those men file civil suits against this guy.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:45pm
  25. : (

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:53pm
  26. How many straight people did he arrest for adultery?

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 5:56pm
  27. he needs a good FUCK

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:02pm
  28. Really, find something better to do, like catch a bank robber or something!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:05pm
  29. Seriously, what do public acts of masterbation around children and being a gay man have in common? How did they possibly find this link? Oh, right they´re homophobic and still believe the myth that gay men are child molesters! This man should be prosecuted having committed several hate crimes against these poor men!!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:12pm
  30. Now he´s going to concentrate on all of those couples violating the anti-miscegenation laws.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:15pm
  31. Arrest him now for breaking the law

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:21pm
  32. Fire him!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:29pm
  33. he is only butthurt cause he dont get none. i bet if it was straight people he would allow it.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:39pm
  34. Dickface.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:44pm
  35. Dude on a power trip with a FEAR–OBSESSION-based agenda.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:46pm
  36. I am always in parks, running and throwing whiffle balls and the like with children. I see lots of hetero-based indiscreet PDAs. Can´t recall the last gay person I saw doing anything close in a public place.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:49pm
  37. How can you say this guy´s intentions are good?! There is nothing good about lying and luring someone into a trap. Putting people behind bars for no damn good reason. He´s just trying to satisfy his own bs agenda and that district attorney should be ashamed for trying to justify it.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:49pm
  38. right on, Cristin Jonell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:03pm
  39. what these people do not understand is that sodomy laws DO NOT strictly limit to just homosexuals. it is open to heterosexuals too. read the def of sodomy

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:10pm
  40. it was already ruled unconstitutional so he´s just going to do what he was supposed to do in the first place…NOTHING!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:17pm
  41. Same shit, different day! I can´t imagine what these men went through. They should be compensated by the county and the state.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:23pm
  42. he needs to be removed from his job and loose all of his retirement

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 7:59pm
  43. he needs to be fired

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:14pm
  44. I thought sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional like a decade ago? Shouldn´t he be fired for this?

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:44pm
  45. DUH!! Enforcing that law is illegal, you idiot!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:47pm
  46. You can´t just “fire” an elected official.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:48pm
  47. i am sure he is still a bigot

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 9:07pm
  48. You can´t fire an elected official, but what dumb@ss elected him in the first place? Calling Sherrif DUH!! Learn the laws correctly.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 9:07pm
  49. sodomize him…dumbass

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 10:02pm
  50. Idiot

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 10:26pm
  51. Lived in Baton Rouge as a Kid….They were so crooked then…one of their officers placed a dead owl on Our car as a warning to leave town. Wont go into details..but dirty rice isnt the only thing being served up at the Jumbalia festival.

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 10:29pm
  52. This man needs to fight real crime,being gay is we are. Get over it!!!!

    Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 11:10pm
  53. …hate to say this…but it figures…Louisiana is so full of bigots and hypocrites…I will be out of here as soon as I can…but I must say there are some wonderful people here too…

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 12:00am
  54. oh, brother! what is this world coming too?

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 12:01am
  55. What´s next, arresting arresting innocent black people? Oh wait, that´s probably just under-reported.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 1:24am
  56. Spare us all your stupidity.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 2:14am
  57. He is probably gay himself.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 3:14am
  58. What an idiot or a homophobe! Or both.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 3:27am
  59. WOW! So many Southern States that are in trouble…

    Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 4:06pm