34 of 35 Gage Park arrestees convicted
The Topeka Capital-Journal, August 28, 1995
By Tim Hrenchir
All but one of the 35 Gage Park homosexual soliciting cases resolved so far in Topeka
Municipal Court has ended with a conviction or diversion agreement, court records show.
Only one case, which was against a 17-year-old youth, has been dismissed.
Several cases are yet to go to court, with one hearing scheduled for today and another
for next week.
Topeka police conducting sting operations since November have arrested 61 men in
connection with solicitation of sodomy at Gage Park. The arrests were made under a city
law that makes it a misdemeanor to solicit acts of prostitution or sodomy. Police most
recently made 17 such arrests during a sting operation Aug. 15 and 16.
Members of a local gay-rights group afterward questioned whether police conducting the
stings are going beyond the ordinance and charging people with soliciting for just
Three groups scheduled a "What s Really Going on in Gage Park?" forum for 7
p.m. Sept. 6 at the Washburn University School of Law.
Police Chief Gerald Beavers turned down an invitation to appear at the forum, saying
officers arrest only people who specifically ask a plainclothes officer for sexual
services, and they tape-record those conversations to prove it.
Beavers said almost every solicitation arrest--of those resolved to date in Topeka
Municipal Court--has resulted in a conviction.
Municipal Court records bear that out.
Those records show police before this month had made 44 soliciting arrests: 28 in
November and December, two in January, two in February, then 12 in late April and early
Municipal Court records show 35 of those 44 cases have been resolved.
Thirty-two resolved cases ended in convictions, two in diversion agreements and one in
Most of the men convicted hadn't contested solicitation charges. Municipal Court
records show how the men convicted are being dealt with:
- All but one were ordered to pay fines that were between $50 and $150, plus court costs.
In most of those cases the men initially were given higher fines, which were then paroled
to the lower amount. One man, after a court trial, was sentenced to a fine and jail term,
then paroled from both but ordered to pay court costs.
- Twenty-four of the men convicted were sentenced to jail terms ranging from five to 179
days. But most, if not all, of those men were paroled from their jail sentences.
- Six of the men convicted were ordered to stay out of Gage Park for one year, and three
for two years.
- Both men who received diversion agreements were sentenced to pay a $100 fine, court
costs and a $50 diversion fee.
- Police allege two men are repeat offenders. One was arrested late last year, placed on
diversion, then arrested again in January and convicted of solicitation. The other--who
had been ordered to stay out of the park after a soliciting conviction--was arrested there
this month in connection with soliciting and criminal trespassing. The latter case is
- Authorities chose to have one man, arrested in the park in December, charged in Shawnee
County District Court with lewd and lascivious behavior, a misdemeanor. District Court
records indicate that the man accepted a diversion agreement.
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