18 L.A. Men Arrested in Public Bathroom Sex Sting
Police recently arrested 18 men thanks to a sex sting operation that took place in a public bathroom in Manhattan Beach, CA., ABC news affiliate KABC-TV Los Angeles reported.
The ritzy beachfront city of Manhattan Beach is located in southwestern Los Angeles County.
Lifeguards at the Marine Avenue headquarters contacted local authorities after they noticed "vandalism" and "suspicious activity" around the men's restroom. They also said they saw men "frequently using and returning to the same bathroom," and that some men were loitering around the facilities as well as inside the bathroom for long periods of time the article notes.
The police then set up surveillance around the bathroom and began keeping tabs on a number of websites where people were discussing the Marine Avenue bathrooms. The police soon had enough information to conclude that the bathroom was being used as a hookup spot for men.
Eighteen men were arrested for a number of different charges, such as engaging in lewd conduct in a public place, loitering around a public toilet for the purpose of engaging in lewd conduct, resisting arrest, indecent exposure, soliciting and more.
The men were released but have a scheduled court date or will be investigated further.
It should also be noted that KACB-TV published the mug shots and names of the 18 men who are only accused of the charges. They have not been convicted of anything.
In 2007 a Michigan-based advocacy group called the Triangle Foundation investigated a series of arrests in the state that were related to the Clayton Township police department trolling public restrooms for lewd gay activity.
"These situations have always been bad," public policy director Sean Kosofsky said, "but the fact that we just saw a wave of them all happen at once in jurisdictions where we weren't hearing about them before makes us concerned that this is a response to [Larry] Craig."
Craig was a former Republican politician from Idaho who was arrested in June 2007 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men's bathroom.
There was also controversy last year, when a married visiting executive was killed by police in Newark, N.J., after running from arrest during a similar sting in a public park. EDGE reported about the subsequent controversy. Police in Northern New Jersey previously had been subject to criticism for a similar sting in the Palisades, the cliffs overlooking the Hudson River across from Manhattan and the Bronx.