Monday, July 29, 2013

Louisiana Sheriff claims he didn't know anti-sodomy laws were declared unconstitutional ten years ago

East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux

A dozen gay men have been arrested since 2011 by the Sheriff’s Office task force for merely discussing or agreeing to have consensual sex with an undercover agent. Not prostitution, as no money ever changed hands; and not sex in a public place - just consensual sex between two adults in the privacy of a home.

From the Advocate:

An undercover East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy was staking out Manchac Park about 10 a.m. one day this month when a slow-moving sedan pulling into the parking lot caught his attention. The deputy parked alongside the 65-year-old driver and, after denying being a cop, began a casual conversation that was electronically monitored by a backup team nearby.

As the two men moved their chat to a picnic table, the deputy propositioned his target with “some drinks and some fun” back at his place, later inquiring whether the man had any condoms, according to court records. After following the deputy to a nearby apartment, the man was handcuffed and booked into Parish Prison on a single count of attempted crime against nature.

The Sheriff now says he didn't know the law was invalidated by the Supreme Court.

"To our knowledge, the Sheriff’s office was never contacted or told that the law was not enforceable or prosecutable," a statement from the Sheriff's Office claims. It was issued Sunday after The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana exposed the illegal undercover sting operation.

That explanation doesn't square with Metro Councilman John Delgado.

“Does he know that slavery is no longer around?” an outraged Delgado told The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana. “Does he know that we have cars and no longer horse and buggies?”

The newspaper now reports that Delgado is demanding apologies be issued to the 12 men who were arrested, one as recent as this month.

(via the Advocate)

UPDATE:

On Monday, Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III issued a statement apologizing “to anyone that was unintentionally harmed or offended by the actions of our investigations.”

The sheriff said that he had instructed his employees to no longer use “this unconstitutional law,” and that he was conducting “a comprehensive evaluation of undercover operations made by our deputies and will make changes to ensure better supervision, training and guidance.”

Think Progress points out that 14 U.S. states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books despite their unconstitutionality.

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