Judge: California police targeted gays in sting operations

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Bil Browning

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A judge who said police improperly targeted gay men in sting operations has dismissed charges of lewd conduct and indecent exposure against a man who was arrested in a public bathroom.

Superior Court Judge Halim Dhanidina ruled Friday that Rory Moroney’s arrest in 2014 was based on discriminatory enforcement and prosecution, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

If convicted, Moroney would have been required to register as a sex offender for life.

Moroney, 50, was arrested after a detective acting as a vice unit decoy said he exposed himself in a bathroom at Recreation Park in the Los Angeles suburb.

Moroney said the detective, who smiled, nodded and made eye contact in the restroom, appeared to be interested in sex.

During the trial, police indicated that they had arrested about 55 men for lewd conduct in the past two years.

Police said they based lewd-conduct operations on complaints, but the judge said there was little evidence of such complaints at the men’s restrooms where most stings took place.

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