15 Charged in Bathhouse Raid
December 14, 2002
By Rich Peters, Western Canada Bureau Chief
Calgary, Alberta—Anger and fear swept through
Calgary’s gay community Friday following a police raid on the city’s only
bathhouse. Police entered Goliath’s Steam Bath shortly after 6 p.m. on
Thursday night arresting more 13 patrons and two staff members.
The patrons were charged with "being inmates of a common bawdy
house." The two employees were charged with "keeping a bawdy
house". Police also say charges of keeping a common bawdy house will be
laid on the owners of the club.
Vice squad head, Staff Sgt. Joe Houben says the charges were laid after a
two month undercover instigation. Houben alleges that officers found common
areas were being used for sex. But, he denies the charges were laid as a
result of homophobia.
Roy Heale, publisher of Outlooks magazine Calgary’s GLBT publication,
says there also has been a crackdown on hustlers and street cruising.
Bawdy house charges date back to the mid 1800s and are regularly used
against prostitution agencies. The charges have also been used in other
bathhouse raids in Canada.
On February 5, 1981 Toronto police raided several steam baths charging
dozens with bawdy house offences. The police action resulted in massive
protests and is credited as being the start of a widespread gay rights
movement in Canada. Almost all of the charges were thrown out.
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