Last edited: February 14, 2005

Cruiser Showdown in Virginia: Documenting Those who Profit from Cruiser Arrests, Those Who Defend Them

News Release, LLC, 519 Castro Street, Suite 46, San Francisco, CA 94114
June 23, 1999 -- For immediate release.
Contacts: Keith Griffith -- 415-680-2311

 In Virginia they are arresting men in public parks for the 'crime' of asking undercover policemen to engage in consensual sex. The busts have caught the attention of many since the Commonwealth Attorney "decided to intensify charges in order to send a message to cruisers" by bringing felony charges. Award-winning writer and Virginia-native Kirk Read has been asking around to find out what is really going on in his home state: who stands to make money and gain politically. Read has also been talking with those who believe these men should be left alone. In a 3-part series commissioned for the website, Read lays out the facts in a candid expose of how the system is used to destroy the lives of men who seek homosexual sex.

Among the facts uncovered in the 2 month investigation by Read:

  • Police in Roanoke claim to have started their campaign when a single caller complained of finding a condom in the park. For this complaint dozens of men had their lives exposed to public humiliation in the media, faced large legal bills, and ultimately became felons.
  • Roanoke Vice Squad Lieutenant R. E. Carlisle acknowledged that police cast their net so wide many gay men would be arrested simply for being in a public park. Carlisle offered this comparison: "It's like catching dolphins when you're fishing for tuna because you cast the net so wide."
  • One Richmond police officer acknowledges that the man he arrested merely talked about going elsewhere for a liaison and gave the officer contact information -- an act that led to arrest for felony solicitation.
  • During a 5 hour evidentiary hearing two sex therapists testified that oral sex was something they recommended to their clients -- oral sex being illegal in Virginia.
  • A group comprised of lawyers, a PFLAG mom, and even an old-style activist have put together a multi-prong approach to not only defend cruisers, but also repeal the laws used to crackdown on them.

The 3 part series began will continue through June and early July at is the most popular website targeting a gay and bisexual male audience with close to 800,000 individuals making use of the site each month.

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