Last edited: February 14, 2005

Eight Men Convicted of Felony Sodomy

Hampton Roads Daily Press, June 10, 1999
7505 Warwick Blvd, Newport News VA 23607

ROANOKE - Eight men were convicted on felony sodomy charges Tuesday for asking for oral sex from undercover Roanoke police detectives at a city park.

The cases involve the city's first felony prosecutions aimed at the solicitation of gay sex in public places. Previously, police brought misdemeanor charges such as indecent exposure against suspects in such cases.

Sam Garrison, lawyer for the eight, said he will appeal the convictions on the grounds that a state law making consensual oral sex a felony is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. Virginia is one of 14 states that prohibit consensual sodomy among adults.

The men entered Alford pleas in which they did not admit to the crime, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, but believed the prosecution had enough evidence to convict them.

Roanoke Circuit Judge Robert Doherty ordered each to pay a $1,000 fine and suspended each of heir one-year jail sentences as long as they stay out of all city parks and commit no other crimes for the next five years.

Doherty also said he would not impose the sentence until the appeals are decided.

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