Last edited: December 19, 2004

Man Acquitted In Virginia Sodomy Case

The Advocate Daily Report, September 10, 1999

A jury in Roanoke, Va., took just 15 minutes Wednesday to acquit a man of felony sodomy charges for cruising in a public park, the Roanoke Times reports. Jeffrey Anders, who faced up to five years in prison if convicted, was charged under the rarely enforced law as part of a police sting operation in the city’s Wasena Park. His attorneys had argued that the undercover policeman was the one soliciting sex and that the "crimes against nature" law was unfairly enforced. "This time it’s the gays. Maybe next time it will be someone else because this law could be used to prosecute 90% of the population," defense attorney Gary Lumsden told the jury in his closing arguments. The state’s law labels oral sex between consenting adults, heterosexual or homosexual, as sodomy. Police have arrested 18 men as part of their operation. Anders and another man have been acquitted, while one man was found guilty and sentenced to 60 days in jail. Twelve other men have pleaded guilty to the charge on the condition that they can challenge the constitutionality of the law.

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