Police in New York City are allegedly targeting gay men in video stores and other adult establishments for arrest under the charge of prostitution.
The arrests seem to follow a similar pattern time after time: a handsome young man chats up an (often older) gay man, suggests that the two leave the business in order to engage in consensual sex, and then, as the pair leaves the establishment,
offers to pay for the encounter.
The comment about payment does not have to be acknowledged or agreed upon to in order for police waiting outside to seize the target and place him under arrest.
It seems that gay men have become pawns in what may be a legal game to target and close adult oriented businesses under the city's so-called nuisance abatement law, which provides grounds for the city to order the closure of businesses at
which criminal activity is demonstrated.
And it's certainly no coincidence that these sex stores are getting closed down after a slew of prostitution arrests.
Update: False Arrests
15th February 2009. See Gay City News
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has agreed to meet with community leaders about the false arrests of gay men for prostitution at Manhattan porn stores.
State Senator Tom Duane said, I told him why it so important to meet and why the community is up in arms about this and he agreed, though an exact date has not been set yet.
On hand were a number of familiar LGBT activists: Brendan Fay, Gilbert Baker, Ann Northrop, Father Tony, Eric Leven, John Weis and journalists Andy Humm and Duncan Osbourne. It was Osbourne's relentless pursuit of this story that brought the
entire illegal campaign to light.
A New York group protesting against a number of arrests of innocent gay men in adult businesses for allegedly loitering for the purpose of prostitution has met with the District Attorney for Manhattan.
Members of the Coalition to Stop the Arrests held a meeting with DA Robert Morgenthau after string of about 30 arrests.
According to the coalition, there has been an epidemic of false arrests of gay men who were targeted by undercover police posing as prostitutes.
Gay City News reports that the DA voiced his willingness to act on the arrests.
The first thing Morgenthau said was, 'We are going to investigate all these cases,' said Joey Nelson, a member of the Coalition to Stop the Arrests.
Robert Pinter, also a coalition member and one of the men who was arrested last year said: They really seemed genuinely concerned that something wrong was happening here.
The group was founded by Pinter, after his own arrest.
Pinter has said an attractive young man approached him at the Blue Door video shop last October. As it turned out, the man was an undercover police officer.
He described the man as charming and persistent , adding that they agreed to go home to have sex but as they were leaving, they man offered him $50 for the meeting.
Pinter said he thought it strange but did not respond. He then alleges he was hustled by a number of other undercover officers and arrested for loitering for the purpose of prostitution.