Last edited: March 26, 2005

Bath Raid Divides Calgary Gays, January 25, 2003

By Rich Peters, Western Canada Bureau Chief

Calgary, Alberta—Seven of the 18 men charged after policed raided Calgary’s only bathhouse have pleaded not guilty. The others entered guilty pleas in a court appearance this week. They’ll be allowed to take part in alternate measures and avoid criminal records.

The December 12, 2002 raid and the mixed pleas entered by the defendants have divided the city’s gay community. About two dozen gays waving white towels protested the raid on Goliath’s Sauna outside the courthouse.

"We’re here to show support for the people who were arrested—so that they know the community is behind them and so that we can move forward from this point," said Keith Purdy, co-chairman of Pride Calgary.

"We’re very concerned about what might happen in terms of further action," he said.

One protestor, David Bennett, said: "An injury to one is an injury to all. We want to talk about the fact these men’s lives have been shattered."

But, other organizations have refused to participate in opposing the charges.

Charges after raids on bathhouses in Toronto in 1981 were dismissed. Since then charges laid under the seldom used bawdy house laws have been dismissed in other cities.

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