August 29, 2007

"Shouldn't we stick up for the poor guy? I can't believe it's a crime to tap your foot on the bathroom to signal that you want to hook up..."

Writes Jacob Weisberg, in a debate among Slate editors about how to handle the Larry Craig story. More:
David Plotz: I understand why they want to stop a bathroom from becoming a den of blowjobs, but this seems pathetic. Also—there is little deterrent effect in doing this generally. It is an airport, so by definition it caters to people in transit, who aren't going to know that it has become a police target.

John Dickerson: Seems to me you should have to go a bit beyond tapping your toes.

Jack Shafer: He pleaded guilty to lewd conduct.
He also stared through the crack into the stall.
Plotz: Jack, for a libertarian such as yourself to say that a guilty plea is the last word is crazy.... He is guilty—but of a fake crime. The fact of the guilty plea does not somehow end discussion. He pleaded guilty because he was scared and embarrassed about the public revelation. The problem—my libertarian friend—is that the government has put on its books a law that serves very little public purpose, and has given the police free rein to enforce it with heavy hands (and tapping feet). You should be objecting to the excessive power of the state being harnessed to create and enforce laws that serve so little purpose.
Plotz raises some good points, but he's missing the peeping aspect of the crime. You can see that "peeping" was one of the crimes charged. That is clearly defined and a proper offense. The other offense is charged was "disorderly conduct":
Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place, including on a school bus, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor:...

Engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.
Maybe there are some problems here. Did he have "reasonable grounds to know" that what he was doing would "alarm, anger or disturb" the police officer? I think only the initial peeping was a problem. A person who was not interested in sex should object to the first peep. It seems Craig made a series of subtle gestures and the officer let him go on. That would cause a reasonable person to think that he wasn't upsetting anyone but that his advances were wanted.

Dale Carpenter says:
Disorderly conduct is a notoriously nebulous crime, allowing police wide discretion in making arrests and charges for conduct or speech that is little more than bothersome to police or to others....

At most, Craig was implicitly inviting another adult to engage in some kind of sexual behavior in a public place. I'm not a Minnesota criminal lawyer, but I don't think asking a stranger for sex in a public place, while vulgar and rude under many circumstances, would by itself be a crime under state law. At any rate, Craig wasn't charged with that.

What really seems to have happened is that the airport police had received complaints about sexual activity and were acting over-zealously to deter it, regardless of the niceties of state criminal law. Many gay men throughout our history have felt the sting of these public decency campaigns, have been arrested for alleged sex crimes, and have pleaded guilty at unusually high rates in order to avoid the embarrassment and other consequences of being outed. When newspapers print their names, as they often do, the consequences can be devastating. Like them, Craig probably wanted to avoid publicity and pleaded guilty to "disorderly conduct" in a futile effort to save his reputation and his job. Whatever we think of Craig's views on gay rights, or of the cosmic justice in this particular Senator being ensnared in these particular circumstances, it's difficult to see how he's a criminal.
But how can you disregard the peeping charge? Here's the statute:
(c) A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who:

(1) surreptitiously gazes, stares, or peeps in the window or other aperture of a sleeping room in a hotel, as defined in section 327.70, subdivision 3, a tanning booth, or other place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy and has exposed or is likely to expose their intimate parts, as defined in section 609.341, subdivision 5, or the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts; and

(2) does so with intent to intrude upon or interfere with the privacy of the occupant.
Isn't this statute the basis for the strategy of having the police officer to wait inside the stall? And why isn't this an acceptable police practice to deal with the problem of a public bathroom that is used for sexual activity?

Captain Ed notes that Craig only pled guilty to the disorderly conduct charge. But I have to suspect that he decided to plead guilty to disorderly conduct to resolve the matter and that if he hadn't agreed to that, he would have faced the peeping charge. Captain Ed sees a way to defend against that charge: Craig was three feet away from the door and perhaps the police officer looked at him first. But he didn't choose to fight the charges. I'm not an expert on criminal law, and I would like to hear more discussion of how a good lawyer would have resolved the case for him. Isn't what he chose to do the most sensible path? And if the man is competent to be a Senator, shouldn't we assume that he looked at his options and chose what was in his best interests?

Whether Craig is gay or not is irrelevant, but I should note that Craig has made a point of telling the world he's not gay.

ADDED: I said above: "I have to suspect that he decided to plead guilty to disorderly conduct to resolve the matter and that if he hadn't agreed to that, he would have faced the peeping charge." Beldar agrees and amplifies:
Sen. Craig was almost certainly given an accommodation here by the prosecution and the court in being allowed to plead guilty to the crime that, of the two charged, has by far less social stigma attached to a conviction. Yes, disorderly conduct is a broad and vague charge — one that doesn't much seem to fit the facts alleged. But it's entirely possible that it was charged in the first place as an obvious, attractive basis for compromise, i.e., a charge with at least some factual correspondence to what happened, and upon which a more attractive plea could therefore be negotiated (especially for someone with no criminal record or other indications of dangerousness)....

[T]his plea, like countless others every day, aptly reflect[s] the litigants' well-informed judgments as to their respective risks and benefits from going to trial....

That said: Once Sen. Craig voluntarily pleaded guilty, he became guilty of disorderly conduct, conclusively and irrebuttably, under the Rule of Law as it speaks for our society. Whether he mighta, could, shoulda won if he'd fought all the way through is irrelevant, and it's unproductive to even speculate about. He has deliberately forfeited his right to even hint — ever, to anyone, for any purpose — that he was "really not guilty" of disorderly conduct in that airport men's room. That argument insults the listener (us) and only further degrades the maker (him); it is the argument of a scoundrel who thinks he's arguing to fools.
I think that last paragraph is too broadly stated, but in this case, Craig needs to find a better way to deal with his predicament.

By the say, Senator McCain has called on Craig to resign.

161 comments:

Roger von Oech said...

Concept I learned from this affair that I'd not really thought much about before:

"I have a wide stance when I use the toilet."

Richard Fagin said...

Let's see - Ted Kennedy committed intoxication homicide against his female employee but is considered a model supported of womens rights. Gerry Studds actually committed statutory rape yet was considered a model of support for gay people. William Jefferson had 90 grand of bribe money in his freezer and yet is considered a model of support for his impoverished constituents. Oh, wait - President Clinton was credibly accused of sexual assault, but he's considered a champion of womens rights as well.

Larry Craig is the hypocrite, though. Go figure.

They used to tell a joke about Gerry Studds - the reason he didn't used bookmarks was that he bent over the pages. But Larry Craig is the nasty pervert who should lose his job. Blaahhhh!

Seven Machos said...

1. This story only has wings because of the Elmer Gantry subtext of it all.

2. Let's please keep the exchange her above the level of a Blueboy short story.

3. There's no excuse whatsoever for the police to be running stings for this crime. This is a crime -- like most crimes -- that ought to be deterred, in this case by having the police walk around the lavatory, especially at the airport, where people could be doing seriously bad stuff like putting together pipe bombs in the bathroom as well. Having a sting for this is purely fascist. Get off you asses, fuzz, literally, and deter.

4. Do women engage in this kind of thing?

AllenS said...

The police responded to complaints that travelers had made about the homosexual behavior in the restrooms. I expect the police to act, when complaints are made. St. Paul, MN have taken a proactive stance against prostitution. Go to Google, type in: St. Paul Police prositution. You'll see some of the sorriest looking people who prowl the streets looking for sex. It makes the neighborhoods or restrooms where this takes place unsafe. In public places, nobody wants to be sexually harassed. Having your name and picture posted is supposed to help stop this.

Seven Machos said...

I expect the police to deter crime when complaints are made. I don't expect them to set up a sting operation for every kind of crime, or even most crimes. It would be ludicrous.

corporate law drudge said...

"the man is competent to be a Senator"

Now that's a high bar.

Sloanasaurus said...

Richard is right. The double standard is obvious.

As Althouse pointed out, Disorderly conduct is the catch-all charge. I was a prosecutor long ago and we charged anyone who raised their voice or did something weird with disorderly conduct. It means nothing. It’s usually the charge that results if a cop has to show up and finds you on the scene.

Craig did not plead to lewd conduct, yet that is what has been reported. According to the police report, however, Craig did nothing lewd.

In fact, Craig was quite "private" in his attempt to "solicit" the undercover officer considering that his first "moves" required a response by the officer. Craig did nothing that could be witnessed by anyone else in the bathroom. A whistle by construction guys as women walk by is technically more "lewd" than what Craig did.

As for peeping, what did Craig actually do? Does checking to see if there are feet in the various stalls (so you know which ones are occupied) constitute peeping? I imagine there is a lot of unintentional peeping going on in restrooms.

The story is starting to sound a little hokie. I still believe the cop in his statement and that Craig was probably doing these things. However, its worth investigating. How is it that the cop showed his badge only after Craig supposedly ran his fingers under the stall? Isn't this jumping the gun a little? At that point, what was Craig's crime? How could the cop expect any sort of conviction from what Craig had done up to that point? Was the cop just a rookie and made a rookie mistake?

Had the cop been sitting there all day long without any results. Did the cop need an arrest to justify his time there. Or, more devilishly, was the cop there specifically to bust Craig.

Seven Machos said...

I'm going to bring this up just because no one else has. At most airports these days, the stall sides run pretty much from the ground to the ceiling. It's nice and private. How do you peep in that circumstance?

The Exalted said...

do you enjoy misrepresenting the facts? as althouse clearly stated, craig stared through the crack of the stall, he wasn't checking to see if there were feet.

as to "did the cop make a rookie mistake" it seems clear that 1) craig (or all but the most disreputable) would have won if he had contested the charges, and 2) nobody contests the charges because of the PR damage and instead take the hit for a cryptic "disorderly conduct."

the cops stop it way early because they can. thats all.

Mindsteps said...

If Craig is a suspected 'peeper' should he undergo a sex offender evaluation?

Should our government, academic institutions, and society devote more resources to the study of sex offenders, its etiology, development, course, and treatment or should we place more of our eggs in the policing and correctional basket?

Richie D said...

Will you be posting anything about DePaul University professor Norman Finkelstein's denial of tenure and cancellation of his classes this year?

Hazy Dave said...

He doesn't look very gay to me. In fact, I bet he could use a stiff dose of gaiety right about now. On the other hand, the word "pervert" seems to fit. Got any "Get Out of Jail Free" cards left, Senator?

Pastor_Jeff said...

"Engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others."

Blog commenting is a misdemeanor offense?

Bruce Hayden said...

If Craig is a suspected 'peeper' should he undergo a sex offender evaluation?

No for a couple of reasons. First, he plead to disorderly conduct. Part of the implied deal was that this would not be treated legally as a sex offense.

Secondly, Criag probably could have pulled a Kennedy (was it Bobby Jr. this time?) and just blow them off. Craig was likely immune from arrest under Article I, Section 6.

Indeed, my guess is that the reason that he waived immunity was to make it go away fast. Minn. never coule have gotten a sex offense against him, even if there had been a lot more on Craig's part, and there wasn't (again, remember Gary Studs).

Seven Machos said...

There are two Americas, Mindsteps, one that has no struggle with sexual feelings whatsoever and another who, because of a lack of Big Government Programs, languishes with sexual confusion. And I believe that we, as Americans, can work collectively to help those unfortunate souls in the second group. What we need is more caring, and more money.

Now, hurry along now. Your 100-level philosophy course starts soon and I know you don't want to miss a bit of it.

Doyle said...

It's great that you put your revered legal mind to work on the really pressing issues facing the country.

US Attorneys? FISA? MCA? Leave that to Volokh and Kerr.

But if you need extensive analysis of whether a Republican senator really committed a misdemeanor in a public restroom, this is the place.

PWS said...

Richard and others mentioned the double standard ... It is true to some extent, but isn't it just each party trying protecting their own or doing whatever is politically expedient at the moment? What about Newt Gingrich?

As far as Craig, the plea to the charge of DC is a common way to resolve all sorts of more specific charges that benefits both parties. The police/DA don't have to waste time with litigation and the offender can plausibly deny the more specific conduct whether it be lewd or something else.

Craig's problem is that it didn't really matter how the situation got resolved legally; he could have gotten Barry Scheck et al. on his side, but the arrest report still would have surfaced.

Given there is some ambiguity in the facts and the possibility of arguing for alternative explanations for his behavior, I think he would have been better off pleading not guilty. (Yes, it's true he would have invited the problem of scutinizing the event through the legal system, but that scrutiny was going to come either way.) Then at these press conferences he would have more room to maneuver. He took a gamble that pleading guilty would bury it and he lost.

Bruce Hayden said...

Larry Craig is the hypocrite, though. Go figure.

I think Richard Fagin has the right idea here - pretty much all politicians are hypocrites, in some way or another, and often in many. My view is that the longer they are in office, the worse it gets, since they are that much more willing to do what it takes to stay on the gravy train.

Sloanasaurus said...

and 2) nobody contests the charges because of the PR damage and instead take the hit for a cryptic "disorderly conduct."

It could be that the result with Craig was an unintentional result of a program designed to stop sex solicitations at the bathroom.

If the police got other convictions it would be interesting to see what those convictions were. What if the police are charging people with "lewd behavior" knowing that they would never get a conviction, but using the charge as leverage (to reputation) to get the person to plea to disorderly conduct. After all, being charged with lewd conduct is enough to destroy a reputation. That would seem to be the case in the Craig incident.

Is that proper prosecutorial conduct? If Craig would have fought these charges, there is no doubt they would have been dismissed, but he would have had to appear in court and his reputation would forever have been damaged.

Seven Machos said...

Doyle -- Which governing or judicial body ever in the history of time in any place has found FISA or anything done regarding U.S. attorneys unconstitutional or even wrong?

I'm sure your response will be illuminating.

Also, if you are so interested in those pressing issues, why are you here? Why does any blogger have any responsibility to blog about what you want them to blog about?

Please, tell us: how is Althouse a public utility? Or your private utility?

Seven Machos said...

Thankfully Craig avoided damage to his reputation.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that bathroom hookups are so prevalent in the Minn. airport that they actually set up sting operations. I also have to ask who did the cop piss off to pull that kind of assignment? I mean that really defines having ‘shit duty’.

Then again, based upon the previous thread on this issue, I think it’s hysterical to see the usual lefties come out ripping Craig for his behavior. To me the real unseemly aspect of his behavior is his choice of venue. Had the attempted hookup been in a non-smoke filled bar over martinis and then a quickie romp in the hotel room no one would have been the wiser or cared. In my opinion it’s not his sexual persuasion that is questionable but rather his methods of seeking a partner to satisfy his needs is disgusting.

On a similar note, is someone’s unwanted sexual advances regardless of the location considered a criminal act? I find it amazing that the ACLU does not challenge this as I mentioned in an earlier thread, they are attempting to overturn a local ordinance in my state banning convicted child molesters from being 1000 feet of parks or other areas where children congregate. On the other hand MN seems to be able to arrest people who solicit sex in a public place simply by foot tapping and luggage placement. I mean unless the person soliciting persists or tries to force themselves on the person, what ‘crime’ is committed that warrants an arrest and fine?

ZPS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZPS said...

The troubling point for me here is that a major US lawmaker was arrested, charged, pled guilty, and sentenced and no one knew about it until months after it happened? Ridiculous.

Glad he got a lawyer now, AFTER the case has been closed.

Makes sense. I mean, anytime I get arrested for something I didn't do I always plead guilty right away because who wants to bother with protecting their reputation to a few cops and a judge when you can just do it later in front of the whole world, after you've confessed. Talk about a genius...I bet Larry knows a thing or two about swaying public opinion- only instead of swaying public opinion it's where to find the top 10 cruising spots in Boise.

What a legacy this guy will have. In the past 25 years...underage Pages, cocaine, undercover cops, gay sex, bathroom glory holes...does he actually think that ANYONE will believe him at this point?

Some people (even on the left) think that making public scenes and "outing" people like Larry Craig is spiteful and playing politics.....uhh yeah. Not so much. He pled guilty to a sex crime in a public place! People like Craig (Democrats, Republians, all of them) are EXACTLY the people who should be put on display because of their outrageous hypocrisy, as evidenced by this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lvMYgIAAkk

MadisonMan said...

President Bush should just pardon him. He's suffered enough!

I echo Ruth Anne's observation from yesterday: Why the scarcity of blog posts lately? Is NYC sapping the bloggyness out of Professor Althouse?

mcg said...

Here's a wrinkle I haven't yet seen addressed. Is it really peeping if the "victim" is fully clothed and doing nothing private? I think it is clear that is the case here. After all, the cop was not actually using the facilities---he was posing as a loiterer waiting for an encounter. All of us peek in closed stalls sometimes to confirm they are not empty. If I see even remote evidence it is in use I would not look again, certainly. But if not I can't say I might not do so again with the thought, "is he going to do his business or not?". Of course, I would not then proceed with foot and hand signals soliciting sex :-)

Peter Palladas said...

How on God's earth do you 'peep' with your hand?

Do I read that somehow the Senator squirmed down and stuck his face under the partition? I think I don't.

I read rather that he made a swiping motion with his hand.

Eyes in the back of your head is one thing, but a left thumb? That's going some.

You people!

Palladian said...

"Not so much. He pled guilty to a sex crime in a public place!"

He did?

jane said...

How many of us women have wondered about privacy in gas station toilets or in motels, even 4-star hotels, about peeping holes and tape and video recorders in the ladies rooms at frat houses? Pervies have their fun with unsuspecting women (and men) more often than we'd like to admit.

The peeping angle to the disorderly conduct charge is kind of interesting, given the often considerable spaces between stall doors and jambs and also how men’s restrooms aren’t always consistent about affording privacy with either function. To be really sexist (and not principled) about it, most of us don’t react with alarm at the idea of a grown man looking at another grown man in a restroom or a locker room, etc. And the foot tapping and hand under the stall are more overture than indecent acts in themselves, yes?

My conclusions: Craig is no newcomer to gay sex and in public places. And, I will always be careful how I ask for TP when the dispenser is out and put my hand under the stall wall to receive it.

Jim said...

All this peep talk reminds me of that SNL skit from this past season where Rainn Wilson (Dwight from "The Office") is arrested for peeping. Unfortunately I can't find it on YouTube.

AJ Lynch said...

Madison Man asked:
"I echo Ruth Anne's observation from yesterday: Why the scarcity of blog posts lately? Is NYC sapping the bloggyness out of Professor Althouse?"

I am guessing the NY city pace is faster than Madison and Ann has found fewer coffee shops where she can feel comfortable to linger long in their crowded seats while she posts stuff to her blog.

Or she is in lust and can't give a hoot about her readers anymore.

Zeb Quinn said...

How on God's earth do you 'peep' with your hand?

That's not it. What I read, and what I believe Ann is alluding to, is that he stood outside the stall and peeped through the crack between the door and the frame, staring at the guy inside. And not just briefly. He did that for several minutes or longer. That's where the peeping charge came from.

As somebody else pointed out, what did Craig see when he did that peeping? He saw a fully clothed man who did or said nothing to dissuade or to communicate that any of this peeping or further contact was in any way unwanted.

Fundamentally, Craig was busted for making a homosexual pass.

Roger said...

I guess we all choose our "narrative" about the Craig situation. To me this isnt about the legalities of his arrest, his pleading, nor the homosexual aspects. Craig is a public servant, and because he is, he is held to higher standard of conduct. That comes with the territority of public service, it seems to me. Doesnt matter wether its "fair" or not. This man is highly privileged and enjoys the (excessive) perks of public office. If he can't comport himself accordingly, then tough.

Meade said...

This has probably already been mentioned but, especially if I were gay, I would be very offended by all of this homophobia labelled as "gay" sex. To my mind, "gay" denotes an authenticity, awareness, and honest acknowledgement of one's sexual/gender orientation.

"I'm not gay. I am not gay!"

Yeah? Right. You most certainly are not.
But what does that have to do with anything? Based on your self-serving press conference yesterday alone, you're still obviously a creep and a perv who shouldn't be a United States Senator because you lack the fundamental ability to make good judgements. (Not, so it would seem, that that disqualifies the majority of that particular branch of government.)

Seven Machos said...

At the end of the day, Roger is right. The man should have called an escort service or done it some other way.

If is innocent, he sure did handle it stupidly.

And always remember people: innocent people get really angry, even irrational when they are falsely accused of a crime. Therefore, if you want people to think that you are innocent, act angry and irrational.

Sloanasaurus said...

Fundamentally, Craig was busted for making a homosexual pass.

I tend to agree with this. In fact the "pass" was one of the most discreet "passes" I have ever heard about.

still, from the cops point of view, their mission was to stop lewd behavior in the airport bathroom. One of the ways is to end the practice of the bathroom being known as a meeting place to begin with. It's similar to Giuliani policing - stop the small crimes to prevent the big crimes. Except in this case, a homosexual pass is not a crime.

You could argue it would be like the police busting people for disorderly conduct when all they are doing is wearing gangster rap clothes at the bus station in an attempt to reduce crime in the area. Do you think the ACLU would accept that?

Luckyoldson said...

I can't believe how many here are defending a Senator who was slinking around a public bathroom, peering into stalls no less, looking to hook up.

What a bunch of sorry saps.

*And I'd love to see the comments if Craig was a...Democrat.

J said...

I have to plead guilty to having needed to use a toilet stall in a public restroom when all were in use, noticed that the occupant of one of them was apparently "finished" (i.e. pants no longer down), and finally "look(ed) through the crack between the door and the frame" to see what the hell was taking so long when they lingered excessively. I'll be more careful in the future.

In the meantime:

"The defendant had placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door, which Sergeant Karsinia's experience has indicated is used to conceal sexual conduct..."

Can somebody tell me where else you would, or even could put a rollaboard bag in a toilet stall? I guess he could leave it outside and hope nobody stole it; there was a cop there, after all.

Original Mike said...

The double standard is glaring. Craig should be shown the Senatorial door, Studds should have been expelled, Clinton should have resigned, and Jefferson and Kennedy should be in prison. But only one of those things is likely to happen.

That said, I have no sympathy for Larry Craig.

Original Mike said...

What Roger said (10:10 am).

Hoosier Daddy said...

I can't believe how many here are defending a Senator who was slinking around a public bathroom, peering into stalls no less, looking to hook up.

I don't think anyone is defending him as much as expressing discomfort that undercover cops are pulling stings in airport bathrooms. As I mentioned previously, it's not his behavior that is repulsive but rather his choice of venues to hook up. If you're repulsed by him using the bathroom to fulfil his sexual needs, join the club, If you're condemning him for being gay then you're not quite the liberal you say you are.

And I'd love to see the comments if Craig was ...Democrat.

No doubt your tune would also change to fit your party line.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan says: "In fact the "pass" was one of the most discreet "passes" I have ever heard about."

You should know.

Luckyoldson said...

Hoosier says: "I don't think anyone is defending him as much as expressing discomfort that undercover cops are pulling stings in airport bathrooms."

People take their kids into these bathrooms.

That doesn't concern you?

MadisonMan said...

Original Mike: remind me -- what law did Studds break?

Luckyoldson said...

This almost as embarrassing as Craig's stall peek-a-boo:

January 24, 1999

A finger-wagging scolding to then-President Clinton: "Well, I don’t know where the Senate’s going to be on that issue of an up or down vote on impeachment, but I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure resolution and it’s a slap on the wrist. It’s a, bad boy, Bill Clinton. You’re a naughty boy. The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.

I’m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy."

Luckyoldson said...

Hoosier,
You never responded to my question about the "kids" being exposed to such behavior.

Do you have kids?

Would you object?

Original Mike said...

MM: Busted. For Studds, I'm accepting Richard's discription as statutory rape. If that's incorrect, I withdraw Studds. I stand by all the others.

Pogo said...

All Craig needs to do is cahnge parties, and all will be forgiven.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Craig is a public servant, and because he is, he is held to higher standard of conduct.

Roger, I tend to agree with you but I think one problem with holding politicians to higher standards is first you have to define what those standards are. We tend to condemn politicians for engaging in behavior of lifestyles that we condone among ourselves or our peers. While touring public restrooms for casual hookups is almost universally condemned, what about a single politician’s sex life? Should he or she be refrained from casual sex or even sex with a committed partner but not married? What about their drinking or smoking habits? What if he/she frequents Vegas a couple times a year like the blue hairs and blows a wad of cash? How do we shy away from a pol who is divorced when 50% of the country has walked down the same path?

My expectation is that they are held to the same standards I am. Anything more only lets them assuming an elitism which Craig displayed when he handed the cop his card and said: “what do you think of that?”

Simon said...

Fine - call it conduct unbecoming a Senator. Public officials should be held to a higher standard, and certainly Republicans ought to be.

Zeb Quinn said...

I'm not defending Craig. He did what he did, and his just deserts are his just deserts.

But there's no getting around the fact that when you filter out all the surrounding swill it's not very complicated: Craig was busted for making a homosexual pass at a man who he believed was also homosexual. That was the sum total of his crime. And the leftists in their blind glee at seeing a repub go down this way, seem completely oblivious to the disconnect in what they say they support and what it is that they are rejoicing.

Meade said...

That's right, Pogo. And as a bonus, Craig would find himself in the familiar homophobic good company of Luckyoldson.

Simon said...

MadisonMan and AJ Lynch - I'm just guessing, but it's the start of term in an unfamiliar teaching environment. I'd guess that's taking up time.

Luckyoldson said...

Zeb, Sloan, Hoosier, Meade,

Kids.

In the same bathroom.

You don't care?

MadisonMan said...

That was the sum total of his crime.

I disagree. I think he really compounded it by flashing his Senatorial Credentials and asking What do you think about that. It could be that he thought the person would get off on sex with a wizened old senator (I doubt that) and let him go. But it sure seems to me like he was trying to abuse his position to extricate himself from his predicament.

Roger said...

hoosier--one would hope a code of ethics would be the solution--I think the clause "actions that bring the institution into disrepute...." is probably what applies here. Our Congress is clearly bad enough, but Craig's action, like Vitters, further arms the institution which, of course, is chugging along at a 18% approval rate. Not good for their credibility

Luckyoldson said...

Zeb, Sloan, Hoosier, Meade,

Let's try this again:

This this case...the kids...who are in the bathroom...with Craig...have parents...who...are Republicans.

Now do you care?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier,
You never responded to my question about the "kids" being exposed to such behavior.

Do you have kids?

Would you object?


For God's sake Lucky, 7 minutes passed since your first post. Were you page refreshing every second?

Well lets see, if they're behind a closed bathroom stall, how are they exposed? Unless I have my kid crawl under there, I fail to see how they'll see anything.

I know you are very concerned about his because of the 'children' and that is comendable. I am far more concerned with paroled pedofiles wandering around schools or parks scouting out kids than I am with two adults engaing in toilet sex behind a stall door. But then I don't see many on the liberal side demanding much be done about them other than to ensure they have equal access to these areas.

From Inwood said...

I leave Minn Crim Proc to the experts & on the political side I agree with R Fagin.

As others have noted, voting for gay marriage, unfettered abortion, & the all inclusive & ever impressive Women's Rights is to the PC what "Carbon Offsets" are to environmentalists. Or it’s like medieval indulgence selling. As long as you follow the rules, you get a get-out-of-jail-free card.

I also agree with Seven about the earlier post. It seems to have had Gaydar.

Elmer Gantry. I like it!

Cedarford said...

The public has a right to domestic tranquility in public spaces. From the dawn of history, society has set norms of what is and is not permissable in public spaces.

Part of that is being able to roust and rid ourselves of drug dealers, graffitti artists, whores, gay cruisers, aggressive beggers and other assorted scum that occupy and ruin our public spaces. Neighborhood streets, parks, rest stops, public bathrooms.

Seven Machos argument that this trivial stuff be ignored so police can concentrate on "real crimes" forgets the fairly well proven "broken windows" theory of lawless society. Put up with the doings of minor scumbags and the major scumbags soon are at work...

And it isn't enough to just say, "move on" because then you just have a moveable feast of street trash and pervs going from place to place with no consequence other than "move on" chase outs, until they find a place where the cops just ignore them as not worth the effort since no arrests or repercussions happen.

So arrests are necessary to establish a record of anti-social behavior and consequences to transgressors.

And I disagree with people that argue the stemming the disorderly conduct and rousting and arresting whores, gay cruisers, park pervs and such - requires an evidentiary burden on cops and courts as high as murder or treason. And that records do have to be maintained. If the cops, prosecutors, and courts know it is the 5th time a perv has been arrested for peeking under young girls skirts in a park - they obviously should be going more towards maximum punishment than with a 1st time offender.

******************
I do see the current law enforcement model as badly flawed because certain very low "magnitude" crimes like an old fag being a minor pest in public restrooms - can have life-destroying consequences as the community and public (and fellow gays who may wish to destroy a "closeted gay").

I'd like to know how other advanced nations handle these "minor misdemeanor crimes" of low legal consequence but with the power to totally destroy careers and families if they go into the modern American version of the Puritan Stocks in the public square? Or the American media method of sewing a permanent Nazi pink triangle onto Larry Craig that will be with him wherever he goes the rest of his life?

Do people have better privacy rights in other countries to safeguard marriages and jobs from public destruction for minor misdemeanors?

There are other embarassing events where we have decided the "public's right to know" in legal matters - divorce details, suicide attempts, details of mental problems that required court intervention. juvenile crime records, blackmail attempts - are trumped by individual privacy concerns. Those with a societal need to know, do, but not the media or general public.

I believe the deliberate infliction of humiliation, embarassment, and life and career repercussions to people being listed in a newspaper busted in a prostitution sting, a gay rendezvous rest stop bust - far outweigh the legal punishment commensurate with the misdemeanor crime.

If other societies do it better, we should follow their lead.

Mark said...

Here's my question:

Has any Senator or Representative ever been asked to resign for committing a misdemeanor? I can't recall any.

So, if it's not the crime that's the issue, the only thing left is that he's gay and lied about it. Is that a good reason to kick someone out of office?

mark

Roger said...

Question: I assume in many places sex in public places--variety notwithstanding--is considered lewd. I know urinating in public was also considered lewd behavior. Seems to me that while sex is normal behavior, as is urination and defecation--but we do not need to see it public places irrespective of who is doing it. I mean--thats what motels are for!

Joseph Hovsep said...

Some people seem here only to seem to be able to see this issue (and other issues) through partisan lenses. Sometimes people have opinions about whether something is right or wrong independent of whether the its been done by someone with a D or an R next to their name. I'd say most commentary has not been excessively partisan and has been about as fair as reporting on a salacious story like cruising for sex in public restooms can be. Lots of liberals have noted the hypocrisy while criticising the strange use of limited police resources and overbroad penal laws.

What Gary Studds or David Vitter or Bill Clinton or Mark Foley may have done in the past is irrelevant to whether Larry Craig committed a crime here or whether there are problems with the laws he was prosecuted under.

Pogo said...

LOS,
Sex in public stalls is not OK. Cops should make an obvious and regular sweep through to eliminate this. No one seriously questions that. Your question is idiotic.

At issue here is why the cops are going after gays soliciting sex. It's not clear to me that Craig intended a tryst in the stall. I don't know how that even could occur in a busy airport bathroom without disturbing the horses. [Plus (a) Eeew. and (b) Oww.] It's possible he intended a tryst elsewhere. Who knows?

1. Craig should resign.

2. Mpls Airport cops should concentrate on looking for terrorism, theft, and sex acts, pedophilic behaviors, and avoid suggestive hand-waving activities as their basis for arrest.

3. Craig should become a Democrat, support gay causes, and be forgiven by the media for all his infractions forever.

Palladian said...

"gay cruisers"

So what do we do about straight cruisers?

"If other societies do it better, we should follow their lead."

Oh, Cedarford, the Internationalist! What do you suggest, Sharia Law? You'd probably love it if it weren't perpetrated by all those nasty brownish persons!

danny said...

Umm, no, Inwood:

"As others have noted, voting for gay marriage, unfettered abortion, & the all inclusive & ever impressive Women's Rights is to the PC what "Carbon Offsets" are to environmentalists. Or it’s like medieval indulgence selling. As long as you follow the rules, you get a get-out-of-jail-free card."

Democrats have been arrested with crimes like these before. It's just that when it's a republican, they always seem to be holding a "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do card."

The hypocrisy comes with being against gay rights and then actually being gay, especially when you're married to a woman, with children.

Get it, dummy?

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo asks: "At issue here is why the cops are going after gays soliciting sex."

Uh...maybe because it's public bathroom at an airport?

Luckyoldson said...

Hoosier says: "Well lets see, if they're behind a closed bathroom stall, how are they exposed? Unless I have my kid crawl under there, I fail to see how they'll see anything."

You've got to be kidding.

Do you generally blindfold your kids when entering and leaving public bathrooms?

Luckyoldson said...

mark,
What part of slinking around public bathrooms don't you understand??

Are you saying that if Craig was caught doing this BEFORE running for office...you'd still vote for him??

Mindsteps said...

Seven Machos said...

Now, hurry along now. Your 100-level philosophy course starts soon and I know you don't want to miss a bit of it

Seven Machos:

Because I'm a nice guy, I am going to give you the benefit of my plan for dealing with your insults. I am using a behavior extinction paradigm to eliminate them. Thousands and thousands of extincition studies examining the behavior of very simple organisms, through mammals (rats have typically been used), and people have been conducted. While there are some individual differences, basically all behavior, be it from single cell organisms to humans, follow the same pattern in response to an extinction procedure. Once extinction has begun (in this case I will be ignoring your insulting remarks), we typically see an initial increase in the unwanted behavior (called a frustration burst) eventually followed by a gradual decline in responding. Your behavior has followed this pattern nicely.

At some point, I wll probably respond to you when you have something of value to say in response to what I have written.

In the meantime 7, let me give you something to think about. Some responses do not follow the extinction pattern outlined above and may even get worse during an extinction procedure. Can you guess what some of these behaviors might be?

John Stodder said...

This topic was covered pretty exhaustively on the prior thread, but Ann's post brings up a question:

What's the incentive for a person like Craig to plead guilty to the seemingly innocuous "disorderly conduct" charge, ostensibly to settle the matter quietly, if the police report is going to get global publicity two months later?

As a legal gambit, the guilty plea has obviously backfired. He might as well have fought the charges and put the cop's weird behavior on trial. By pleading guilty, he has acceded essentially to every word in the police report, true or not.

Also, to repeat myself from the prior thread, I don't understand how it's a disincentive to public restroom sex to enforce it via undercover means. The "broken window theory" would call for a more apparent police presence, not a hidden one.

As much as braindead blog trolls like LOS want to make it so, this is not a partisan issue.

Peter Palladas said...

he stood outside the stall and peeped through the crack between the door and the frame...

OK, then arrest the door for being an accessory before the fact.

And if the alleged 'crack' between the door and the frame is so wide that he could see the anything apart from the very edge of the back wall, then arrest the builders for being perverts themselves.

Or was the officer jammed up against the side of the stall wall waving and blowing kisses?

I stick the to the thumb angle. He must have been wearing high-gloss mirrored nailpolish - an old cottaging trick.

The Exalted said...

as if the media and the right wing noise machine wouldn't crucify a democrat for this behavior..give me a break

we'd get to hear your heroes hannity and rush and the faux news all-stars talk about the perversion at the heart of the democratic party, and see journalists wring their hands "what do we tell the children??"

Simon said...

danny said...
"This post is so long, almost like a GG post! That must mean that its content is false and unworthy of a response!"

1) Most of this post is quotations, not commentary.
2) The problem with Greenwald's writing isn't aggregate word count, it's concision vs. prolixity: the ratio of words to ideas. It's no comparison to say that if Althouse writes a lengthy but consise post then she's doing nothing different to a Greenwald post taking an inordinate number of words to express a simple idea.

danny said...
"The hypocrisy comes with being against gay rights and then actually being gay, especially when you're married to a woman, with children."

1) Funny how the left suddenly temporarily understands hypocrisy when it suits them, huh?
2) Unless you're characterizing gay marriage as being about gay rights, an arguable point at best, what other votes do you have in mind?

Ann Althouse said...

Danny: You are a banned commenter. Don't post again. I will delete everything you post without reading it. As a new commenter, you made no effort to accommodate yourself to this forum, and you set about abusing people without doing one thing to establish yourself as a person people would want to hear from. Plus, I suspect you're a sock puppet. Don't respond.

Zeb Quinn said...

Kids.

In the same bathroom.

You don't care?


So, losing the argument, your strategy now is to insert facts that weren't there and argue as if they were?

There were no kids in there ever at any time.

One of the charges --the peeping charge-- was that he peeped in through the door crack for several minutes. There were no kids in there. He was obviously determining that the adult man he knew he was looking at was another homosexual looking for action just like he was, notions which the cop never disabused him of.

No "kids" component here, mmm-kay?

But I'm also wondering about the suggestion implicit that Craig, being a homosexual, is also therefore automatically a child-molesting a pedophile.

The ideas you liberals embrace when the object is bringing down a repub is more than stunning. Might say that you out yourselves for the two-bit phonies you really are. Yeah, I will say that.

Luckyoldson said...

A dramatic reading of the charges:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-hipp/idahomosexual-public-serv_b_62300.html

Luckyoldson said...

zeb,
What part of the "argument" am I losing?

Trumpit said...

If prostitution were legal then Senator Craig could have legally hired a male prostitute to meet his sexual needs. Then lawyers, judges, & criminologists can look for work somewhere else, not in a bathroom stall. Craig should still have been outed for being a hypocrite. Now he's a pervert and a hypocrite with a criminal record.

Luckyoldson said...

zeb,
When did I ever say there were kids in the bathroom during Craig's visit?

Luckyoldson said...

zeb asks: "But I'm also wondering about the suggestion implicit that Craig, being a homosexual, is also therefore automatically a child-molesting a pedophile."

Who said he or any other homosexual is a pedophile?

You're way off base here.

Larry said...

Are we seeing arguments here that "Really Stupid" is a highly desirable trait in a Senator?

Palladian said...

I love when the lees at the bottom of the left barrel start calling guys cruising for other guys "perverts" and start believing in police power so much that they profess to support arresting someone for tapping their foot in a bathroom stall.

Dear God, think of The Children™!

Surprisingly, there are some on the left who are looking at this case with a principled rather than political eye. I applaud that. As for the cheap hacks that have taken the predictable political route, well, I never expected anything better, so who cares? Advice to all gay people: be wary of "liberals" who profess to care about your rights; they're as likely to throw you to the lions as any scary Republican if it suits their "cause".

Hoosier Daddy said...

You've got to be kidding. Do you generally blindfold your kids when entering and leaving public bathrooms?

Lucky, maybe you frequent different kinds of public restrooms than I do or you are being deliberately obtuse. The public restroom I go to have a urinal and also a toilet enclosed with a stall with a door that locks. Now perhaps you can see through doors but I can assure you that I can’t and neither can my kid.

And since you seemed to be very concerned with ‘protecting the children’, do you support harsh laws dealing with pedofiles such as Jessica’s Law, mandatory 25 year sentences for conviction and banning from public areas where children congregate? Cause if not, you lose this one.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If prostitution were legal

I always wondered why I would be arrested for paying a woman for sex but if I bought her flowers, dinner and took her to a play and then had sex, it's called a date.

davidc. said...

First let me say that I consider this guy to be a creep on the basis of his political stance (I am a Republican, but not like him in political belief). Now as to his actions, I have often "peeped" into a closed stall to see if it were occupied. Did I break the law? If someone were looking at me for more than a moment to ascertain if the stall was occupied, then the police would be the least of his problems.

Next, I have tapped my foot in a stall for private reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Did I break the law? Finally, if someone waved at me beneath the stall, then that person would again need the police.

But what I would like to know, if I went to a bar in the airport and said something to a woman with the intent of getting to know her, have I broken the law? Is there a similarity here in two gay guys trying to hook up?

As to kids in the public restroom, if you are a parent who allows a child to go without you into a public facility, then you have a problem with the law. As to open sex in the restroom, things must be different up where you people are for if that happened in the South, they people would again need police protection.

Cedarford said...

Stodder - The "broken window theory" would call for a more apparent police presence, not a hidden one.

No, Chief Bratton knew he couldn't put a cop everywhere, so he made extensive use of undercover cops. The deterrent for a pack of 'hos looking to set up biz on a good street corner is not to look at see a cop posted on street corner after corner until they find one free of a uniform cop posted - or gays looking for a "safe" park or restroom to solicit strangers. It is deterring such "broken windows" by knowing you could be arrested at any street corner or public restroom by uniforms cruising by or by undercover agents.

Palladias - I was wondering about how other countries do it. Not calling for Sharia. Just wondering if other countries avoid making the consequences for the lives of certain "morality misdemeanor committers" worse than the damage they would face in their lives for doing a serious felony. Like not telling the public the names and details, though the law is involved, as with suicide attempts and juvenile records that could wreck lives if publicly known....

It is a problem.

Perhaps a place like France or Sweden has a better way...

*****************************

My cousin is a detective in Florida, and has had times when the Force is ordered to clean out a park of junkies and gay cruisers. And he believes it is absolutely necessary for the public good and safety. And he is no huge gay rights fan. A few times, on "sweeps" -he has let stupid users dump their grass or coke score and go..A few times he has let gays go with a warning, like when he let a fellow cop from a nearby town go, a couple of AF officers...Other times he arrested ...a judge, a married minister, other AF - and wondered if his actions may have destroyed them needlessly...

"It's too bad, it's my judgement call, maybe if they are lucky enough to get a good judge, a good lawyer, or forgiving wife...but it is the law, and they break it, they should know they may not get a break. From me or others. Some cops will bust anyone they can that I would cut some slack to, but you know, many cops are hardasses that love it. It's too bad really, if cheapshit busts end up making people lose everything over a little coke or looking for a homosexual BJ."

He did hear a married minister, maybe not the one he busted because he didn't want to look too closely - did lose his job, wife, and killed himself.

He thinks public nuisance gays, junkies should be arrested for "disorderly" and fined. But that the records with all the details should be sealed away from the media, employers, and the public.

Peter Palladas said...

...thats what motels are for!

Have you ever tried asking reception if you can have a room for ten minutes while you take a dump?

I admit it's a service they could and maybe should offer. Not too hard on the accounts either: one third the half-hourly rate for a knee-trembler - but no towels.

Are you listening motel moguls? There's some business to do here.

BTW - I'm posting a lot about this non-event in order to distract from the near hysterical pain of some major dental work. What's anyone else's excuse?

Apart from Maxine, of course, to whom I owe much thanks for some valuable insights [peeps even] into the hidden world of female lavatories. Does anyone ever leave the seat up?

Cedarford said...

Davidc - As to kids in the public restroom, if you are a parent who allows a child to go without you into a public facility, then you have a problem with the law.

Ignorant assertion from someone ignorant of the law.

I ever tried walking into the ladies restroom with my two daughters asserting I was on "lesbian patrol" to protect them - yes, then I would have a problem with the law.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

Peter P,
What seat?

Luckyoldson,
I'm trying to get your point about the children. Back when I was actively parenting, I never allowed the young children in my care to enter a public restroom without nonpartisan adult supervision. Was I a bad parent for that? Should I have disallowed Republican supervisors?

Let me ask you this: Do you understand Pogo's humorously subtle yet serious point? Republicans who cross these sorts of ethical/moral lines tend to lose their positions of power. Democrats don't. Do you have any idea why that is?

davidc. said...

Cedarford,

How often I have seen people on threads use the word ignorant or some other terms in a personal attack on an individual instead of addressing the topic. Why? It really reduces you. As to my reference, it was in part parody. But then, I have seen people who have gotten in trouble with social services for just such things. You see, we live in a society in which our government will not leave us alone!!

LoafingOaf said...

MCG: Here's a wrinkle I haven't yet seen addressed. Is it really peeping if the "victim" is fully clothed and doing nothing private? I think it is clear that is the case here. After all, the cop was not actually using the facilities---he was posing as a loiterer waiting for an encounter.

Althouse posted the statute. The person in the stall doesn't need to have been actually unclothed yet and already begun doing something private. He's inside a stall where he's likely to expose his intimate parts and expects privacy.

Craig allegedly kept gazing, staring, peeping into this stall over and over, for a couple of minutes. How you compare that with checking if the stall is occupied, I don't follow.

(However, I'd have a little more sympathy if the cop signaled to him that it was okay right off the bat.)

All of us peek in closed stalls sometimes to confirm they are not empty. If I see even remote evidence it is in use I would not look again, certainly.

Most people can "feel" the presence of someone occupying a stall, or hear their presence, or notice their feet under the door through the corner of our eyes.

I've never looked into an occupied stall through the crack in the door to find out if it's occupied because it's never been necessary. If it were necessary, I wouldn't have to keep looking in over and over, for minutes.

As I posted in the other thread, I feel sorry for Craig and hope social conservatives who are not accepting of gay people will reflect on what forcing people into closets is doing to them.

But I'm not accepting of people violating others' privacy in airport restrooms. I also think people who cruise in airport restrooms know they're taking a risk of arrest (because they know they're doing something wrong) and perhaps this is part of the appeal.

The reason police set up stings in airport restrooms (or on neighborhood streets where crackhead hookers become fixtures) is not because they like to go to so much trouble. It's a big pain in the ass. It's because people are pleading with them to do something about a problem in that spot.

So, if you're gonna make a restroom a cruising spot for anonymous, random sex, you better make sure you do it under everyone's noses without them knowing, because when it starts effecting others they will ask for it to be to be put in check with a crack-down. If it wasn't sometimes put in check, you know people would get over-more brazen and throw discretion out the window.

As an alternative, there's plenty of places people can hook up for anonymous, random sex without violating so many other people.

Pogo said...

Really?
Then what am I hanging around here for?



Kidding, kidding.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think there could be prosecutorial misconduct in the Craig case. It appears that the Police were charging people with crimes that could never be proven. Craig should have never been charged. There is no way from the facts in the police report that there is probable cause to charge Craig with any crime. The police and prosecutors know this, so they throw in the disorderly conduct (of which there was none either) hoping to get the suspects like Craig to plea to avoid embarrassment for being charged with a gay related crime, even though there was no disorderly conduct either. Basically, the police make it impossible for many suspects to fight the charges because of the stigma carried for being gay.

The goal of the police, to restore order to the public bathroom, is a good goal, however, the way they went about doing it is wrong. Craig should sue to get his guilty plea on the disorderly conduct expunged.

There could be probable cause for the peeping charge, however, I think the cop messed up with his facts. He states in the write up that other stalls were empty while Craig was hanging out looking at his stall. Therefore, Craig couldn't have been merely waiting to use a stall. However, everyone who has used a bathroom at an airport knows that a few of the stalls are always empty because they are clogged or have shit splattered all over the toilets. Moreover, eveyone has their own threshhold about using stalls that are messed up: some are willing to do a little cleaning, others won't touch the stalls.

The officer does not mention in the police report the status of the empty stalls. We should assume that he did not check. Therefore it is an arguable defense that Craig was waiting for a stall rather than peeping.

MadisonMan said...

Craig should sue to get his guilty plea on the disorderly conduct expunged.

Is it even possible to do that? Can you go back and successfully beg the Court to ignore a guilty plea that you made?

Anyway, if he does this, he's certifiable. Imagine the drawn-out weeks of publicity focusing on his sex life as the appeal drags on through continuance after continuance.

I agree with the statements, maybe read elsewhere, that he gambled on a guilty plea, hoping it would quietly go away, and it didn't. Tough luck.

And I have to say that the airport bathrooms I've been in -- even in that pit of an airport O'Hare -- have always been clean clean clean.

Sloanasaurus said...

And I have to say that the airport bathrooms I've been in -- even in that pit of an airport O'Hare -- have always been clean clean clean.

I agree that they are usually clean, but there are always a few stalls that are unusable at various points throughout the day because they haven't been cleaned recently after someone took a monster in them.

MadisonMan said...

It should be fairly easy to show that the cleaning logs of the airport restroom in question support (or don't -- my choice) the contention that Senator Craig was waiting for a clean stall.

But who knows -- maybe he likes is TSS dirty and was waiting for some filth.

Anthony said...

Y'know, if I really had to take a dump and all the stalls were occupied and I noticed that one had a fully-clothed person in it, I'd be staring through the damn crack too, wondering WHY THAT DOPE IS SITTING THERE WHILE I'VE GOT A TURTLE HEAD POKING OUT.

Michael said...

Excerpted from Minneapolis Airport Restroom Sting Nabs Idaho Senator

Karsnia was in the restroom as part of a sting operation to clamp down on lewd behavior. The restroom where Craig was arrested is well known among men who seek sex in public places.

Squirt.org is a site that runs a bulletin board for such men. "If you enter from the terminal, turn left and go past wash basins, urinals to the back where the stalls are. This place is THE most cruisy public place I have been," wrote one poster. "Just passed thru here the other day. This place is so hot. This place has a constant flow and variety of hot guys," wrote another. Even another poster wrote, "This is the best spot for anonymous action I've ever seen." Of all the postings in Minnesota, the airport restroom was ranked the top by that website.


The site, Squirt.org, lists how to get there: "Across from Food Court. Go through security to main Mezzanine where main shopping is located. Look for Starbucks Coffee stand and Men's Room is across from there," what to expect: "Very cruisy, no security cameras or guards. Most of the time, men will show themselves to you at the urinals and invite into stalls or nearby hotels. Plenty of dark stall action, too!Update: No one is permitted beyond the security checkpoints without an airline ticket now," and some of the biggest pet peeves: "Stall hoggers! Get off and get out! Cleaning crews may be overly curious, but won't interfere."

Sloanasaurus said...

The site, Squirt.org, lists how to get there:

Nasty, nasty stuff. Perhaps everyone should have squirt.org in their favorites just to make sure what places to avoid.

Michael said...

Sloanasaurus: Perhaps everyone should have squirt.org in their favorites just to make sure what places to avoid.

Actually, I'm thinking it might be in the public interest to build a few public rest rooms in way-out-of-the-way places, fully wired with video and sound. Then advertise them to the pervs on squirt.org and the like.

The only people in there will be cops and pervs. Hell, two birds, one stone! We'll be taking both cops and pervs off of the streets.

peter hoh said...

Until now, I never was quite sure what the DC in Washington, DC stood for. Now I know. Disorderly Conduct.

Looks like this will generate as much traffic for Althouse as the breast controversy. Wonder if we can get James Burke to draw some Connections.

Do we have a name for this yet: bathroomgate? Now that's indecent. C'mon wordsmiths, show your stuff.

Looks like Andrew Sullivan picked a good week to get married and stay off the blogging. Dan Savage has been writing some good stuff. See him on TV here.

Pogo said...

If only Craig had had the presence of mind to say But officer, I have Resltess Leg Syndrome!

Or Officer, I have irritable bowel syndrome. I have to keep in rhtythm or my colon will stall out completely. The hand waving? Oh, just a fair warning that a little 'turbulence' should be expected."

Michael said...

LOL!

The Exalted said...

"sue" to have his guilty plea "expunged"? are you out of your mind? you claim to be a former prosecutor? hahaha

Chip Ahoy said...

Ann! I thought you were out walking.

If any of those thing happened to me whilst inside a stall, and nothing ever has, I'd say, "Knock it off!" and the whole thing would quickly be over.

Is it just me, or does that cop look like a gayor? Wouldn't it be hilarious if they picked that cop because he's openly out and not just the youngest most adorable guy on the force?

Sloanasaurus said...

to have his guilty plea "expunged"?

It is possible to get a court to allow you to withdraw a guilty plea for a variety of reasons. Showing that that there was prosecutorial misconduct that lead to the plea is one of them.

John Stodder said...

"Very cruisy, no security cameras or guards.

My point exactly. Instead of dragooning some cop into entrapping 'cruisers' and ruining their lives, put the same resources into a uniformed cop and a security cam. If the website dedicated to the anonymous sex culture is telling you what deters them, how stupid do you have to be to ignore what they say?

peter hoh said...

I don't know, John. "Just listen to what they're saying" sounds a lot like Ron Paul in that spat with Giuliani.

Pogo said...

My idea?
Put very homely overweight and hairy men in Code Pink T-shirts and plaid shorts yelling Hi Senator! to everyone who walks in.

Gay or not, men will respond appropriately and the bathroom will quickly return to its original purpose.

Either that, or post a sign that reads "All Sexual Activity on These Premises Will Be You-Tubed".

John Stodder said...

I can't wait for this question to come up in the next Republican candidate debate: "How can we prevent anonymous gay sex in public restrooms on FAA-controlled facilities?"

Another good question would be: "Mitt Romney, do you seriously expect anyone to believe you didn't at least strongly suspect Larry Craig was gay when you made him a co-chair?"

Luckyoldson said...

Meade said... "Luckyoldson,
I'm trying to get your point about the children."

Are you daft?

Short of carrying kid into the bathroom, blindfolded, he or she just may see or hear something a parent wouldn't want their kid to see or hear.

It's nice that you personally took great care with your kids, but some don't and of course there are kids who are old enough to go in alone, while their parent stands outside.
(Although based on the world today, I wouldn't.)

I really can't understand the argument that having Senators and others prowling airport bathrooms, looking for sex...isn't something you feel might impact a KID.

*But, just for grins, here's a hypothetical for you: You're with your kid, shielding him from all evil, and Craig walks in, peeks into a stall, finds some action, then slips inside with another man.

Do YOU care if your kid witnesses the situation? Think they might ask a question or two?

If not...then I guess you're right on.

Joe said...

As a complete aside, I had assumed that Larry Craig was a Mormon. He's not--apparently he's a Methodist. In addition, he has no children of his own, but adopted three through his wife whom he married in 1983 at the age of 38.

Kirk said...

Roger,

"actions that bring the institution into disrepute...."

Surely you're joking! Or maybe you really do want to empty both chambers...

John Stodder said...

he has no children of his own, but adopted three through his wife

Meaning she was a single mom? I'm just confused by the "through his wife" concept.

Luckyoldson said...

john,
what caught my eye was him being single until he was 38?

Not that that in itself means much, but then you add the no kids things...

I wonder if he likes disco?

Joe said...

She was a divorced mother of three. (Perhaps I misunderstood how common are the phrases "through his wife" or "through her husband" since this is what they mean.)

jane said...

Pogo, I must lodge a complaint with your 2:33PM. Have nasty seatbelt injuries from last week, and you made me laugh out loud. That's way too cruel to my bruised ribs. "Primum non nocere"

andthenblammo! said...

The people at the old Barney's Market Club restaurant in Chicago used to greet all the patrons with 'Yes sir, Senator!", back when the assumption could be considered a compliment:

http://calbears.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_n28_v25/ai_10996773

Clowns like Craig are why that concept wouldn't fly today.

hdhouse said...

you poor, pathetic, hypocrital republican apologists. you know who you are too.

Pogo said...

Oh, another low serotonin day for House.

Or else his doppleganger has cracked his secret google password abc123.

Ann Althouse said...

"House"

I thought you meant me!

Luckyoldson said...

Sloanasaurus said..."I think there could be prosecutorial misconduct in the Craig case."

And you say you have a job related to the law profession?? And you base this comment on what? You've reviewed the charges and court documents?

Good Lord...I hope you don't have clients.

Luckyoldson said...

Jane,
Get out much?

jane said...

Good try, LOS. For some reason, tho', you've never made me laugh (with you.)

Btw, you're here an *awful* lot...

The Exalted said...

yup, you are so on point, i'm sure there is a compelling argument to be made that prosecutorial misconduct led to a sitting united states senator pleading guilty. he, the united states senator, was in such a position of weakness and ignorance that i'm sure he was not fully apprised of his rights and did not have an opportunity to fully and fairly contest his plight. yes, if there was ever to be a textbook case for the vitiation of a guilty plea, it would be here, with the united states senator.

Revenant said...

Meaning she was a single mom? I'm just confused by the "through his wife" concept.

According to Wikipedia, Craig's wife had three children from a prior marriage; Craig adopted them after the marriage.

Anyway, I'm pretty confident that Craig's really guilty here, although if I had to guess I'd guess that the cop entrapped him; that's what vice cops do. Either way, Craig ought to resign (and given his voting record I won't be sorry to see him go).

hdhouse said...

Ann...nooooo. not you.

I just read the entire thread and watched the argument morph into posecutorial misconduct....poor poor Senator Craig. Goes through the entire restroom hookup ritual gets caught, pleads guilty and affirms the depiction of events as stated in the report, keeps it secret for a couple months not that anyone would expect him to brag about it, entire thing blows up in his face, he holds a press conference where he just sinks his own ship, blog threads start and its all about zealous cops with nothing better to do than to write false reports and railroad GOP senators.

Absolutely amazing. what part of lewd conduct and peeping do these apologists not understand? The thread comments, particularly sloanasaurus' allout defense are astonishing.

rsb said...

i'm with hdhouse laughable

Revenant said...

what part of lewd conduct and peeping do these apologists not understand?

Craig wasn't convicted of peeping or lewd conduct.

hdhouse said...

I repeat Revenant...what part of lewd behavior and peeping don't you understand. Did I say anything about pleading guilty to something else but accepting an swearing and affirming to the police report as written...or did that little fact escape you?

but I didn't say that was what he has on his conviction record did i? no. you just want to defend this guy no matter what right?

Ann Althouse said...

"Craig wasn't convicted of peeping or lewd conduct."

Of course he wasn't convicted: he pled guilty! Why did he plead guilty? Because if he hadn't, he would have gone on trial for peeping and there would have been testimony about all these things and he probably would have been found guilty. That's why it was better to plead guilty to "disorderly conduct."

peter hoh said...

My fave is the conspiracy floated that the cop was somehow waiting for Craig.

From all that I can tell, the Twin Cities is a fairly tolerant place. Soliciting, however, is pursued by the police now and again. Gov. Ventura lost a chief of staff who was busted for soliciting an undercover cop.

Sloanasaurus said...

The thread comments, particularly sloanasaurus' allout defense are astonishing.

Nice try hd, I am still in the Craig should resign category. There is little doubt in my mind that Craig has been lying to his Wife, his colleagues, and his constituents about who he really is. He deserves the embarrassment. And until new evidence comes out otherwise, I totally believe the police officer that Craig was trying to pick him up.

However, I also think its a worthwhile intellectual exercise to discuss the case and the way that the police went about getting Craig. Maybe they discussed it and found that this is the best way to "clean up" the bathroom with the resources they had.

I would have expected someone like you, hd, to participate in this debate rather than the usual bashing of those who stray from the reservation.

A typical left response is that to anti-war Congressman Baird who went over to Iraq and reported what he saw with his own eyes. Now the left wants to drum him out for straying from the ideological line. Typical.

hdhouse said...

sloanasaurus..

if you truly want to enter into an itellectual debate...looking that the issue from all sides type of thing...well, and just some advice, don't come to a duel armed with a capgun. you do say astonishingly banal things and your comments Sloanasaurus said..."I think there could be prosecutorial misconduct in the Craig case." may simply be the silliest thing you or anyone has ever posted on this blog.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think there could be prosecutorial misconduct in the Craig case." may simply be the silliest thing you or anyone has ever posted on this blog.

As usual, you make statements with no reasons.

Robert R. said...

It does strike me that the goal of deterrence was actually accomplished through a high profile arrest.

Still, I have to question the use of manpower for a sting. The police officer likely had to sit in one stall for hours at a time in order to catch someone in debatable circumstances. If sex in stalls is something that occurs regularly, sending a pair of uniformed officers through likely hundreds of restrooms in the same amount of time would have a deterrent affect and likely catch people engaged in acts where there is no ambiguity.

BTW, just to engage in a bit of sophistry, it seems to me that a stall is supposed to be a place a privacy, hence the peeping charge. Is it really a crime to commit a sex act in a private place?

(Obviously, that's sophistry, but since we're engaged in hair splitting anyways.)

hdhouse said...

Sloanasaurus

yes there is a reason. it is a silly and non-sensical statement. prosecurtorial misconduct? how? the guy got caught. he was offered a plea to a lesser charge. he signed it. he swore to the account given and the facts stated.

i'll check back after lunch and see what you have urped up in defense.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan says: "Nice try hd, I am still in the Craig should resign category."

Yeah, but you continue to throw out the insane theory that Craig was set up by mysterious and evil forces...maybe even the...DEMOCRATS.

If you are actually practicing law...you need a lot more practice.

MadisonMan said...

The police officer likely had to sit in one stall for hours at a time in order to catch someone in debatable circumstances.

According to the account, the officer was there for less than 15 minutes.

Senator Craig was flying back to DC for the no-confidence vote on the AG. Blame one more thing on Gonzales.

The most interesting slant I've read on this: Why all the calls for Craig to resign, but not for Vitter? Vitter also broke a law (I think) and his conduct was not exactly Senatorial. Well, what you think of as being Senatorial. Ideally.

Sloanasaurus said...

Yeah, but you continue to throw out the insane theory that Craig was set up by mysterious and evil forces...maybe even the...DEMOCRATS.

Blah. Blah...You are the only one that is taking my proposed conspiracy theory seriously. That says a lot more about you than me.

Sloanasaurus said...

the guy got caught. he was offered a plea to a lesser charge. he signed it. he swore to the account given and the facts stated.
i'll check back after lunch and see what you have urped up in defense.


Did you read my posts. I guess not. You obviously haven't paid any attention to the facts in the case.

I will state it again.

It appears in this case that Craig committed no crime. However, the prosecutors told him they were going to Charge Craig with lewd behavior and peeping, but offered him an out if he pled to disorderly conduct. Craig took it because in his position pleading guilty to disorderly conduct in the chance that it won't be discovered is better than being charged with "lewd behavior" even if he was innocent of the lewd behavior.

My point is: if the prosecutors use embarrassment or damage to reputation as a tool to get people to plead to lessor crimes when they know that the case would be dismissed if it were charged, that would be prosecutorial misconduct.

I'm not defending Craig. Craig is guilty of defrauding his constituents and his family. He should be drummed out of office. However, I think prosecutors and police need to use other methods for these types of operations.

hdhouse said...

I really like this little reported fact...if it has been mentioned at all that is...

flying from Washington Reagan to Boise, Idaho is not easy. Most of the 56 daily flights and connections take from 6:40 to 9+hrs each way.

What I find most amazing, however, that of all the flights listed, NOT ONE OF THEM connects through Minneapolis anywhere near the arrest time of 1215p central time.....as most go to Denver and then up to Boise or change in Chicago.

You will note in the arrest report that he claimed he might "miss his flight" but there are no flights from minneapolis to boise for several hours.

How did he get to Minneapolis at the specified time and, frankly, how did this work flight wise.

you heard it from me first.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan says: "It appears in this case that Craig committed no crime. However, the prosecutors told him they were going to Charge Craig with lewd behavior and peeping, but offered him an out if he plead to disorderly conduct."

So when he plead guilty to "disorderly conduct," he didn't realize that is was considered a..."crime?"

Sloanasaurus said...

So when he plead guilty to "disorderly conduct," he didn't realize that is was considered a..."crime?"

Once again, you are such a moron that you cannot even follow the conversation. Why do you post.

Did you miss class?

Robert R. said...

According to the account, the officer was there for less than 15 minutes.

Perhaps for this one instance, but that's not proof that it's a good use of time overall.

I've no sympathy for Craig. He revealed something about himself that he tried to conceal from the public. It may not have been the fairest way for that to have been revealed, but life's not always fair to begin with.

That said, I think it's fair to question if the sting is criminalizing something, homosexual come ons to someone who may have indicated that they'd welcome that sort of thing, that are merely crude, not criminal in the first place.

MadisonMan said...

hdhouse: If you fly from BOI to DCA, your flight is in at 11:44 and out at 1:05.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan,
You're the fool who said there might not have even been a crime committed.

"It appears in this case that Craig committed no crime."

Did you forget?

Luckyoldson said...

Robert R. said..."According to the account, the officer was there for less than 15 minutes. Perhaps for this one instance, but that's not proof that it's a good use of time overall."

It's a public bathroom in a public airport. There's a great deal of "liability" associated with safety measures taken or not taken.

Would you feel the same if police officers spent little or not time patrolling the bathrooms and a kid was taken into a stall and abused?
If it were your kid would you take it in stride?

Over the past few years there have been a number of just such cases in department stores, gas stations, etc.

This entire "waste of policeman's time" argument is nothing but a red herring.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan,
Since you evidently missed a number of your "law" classes, here's a straight forward definition for you:

Almost every state in the United States has a disorderly conduct law that makes it a CRIME to be drunk in public, to "disturb the peace", or to LOITER IN CERTAIN AREAS.

Many types of obnoxious or unruly conduct may fit the definition of disorderly conduct, as such statutes are often used as "catch-all" crimes.

Police may use a disorderly conduct charge to keep the peace when people are behaving in a disruptive manner to themselves or others, but present no serious public danger. Disorderly conduct is typically classified as a misdemeanor.

Every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor:

(a) Who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.

Sloanasaurus said...

You're the fool who said there might not have even been a crime committed.
"It appears in this case that Craig committed no crime."Did you forget?


Just because Craig pled guilty to disorderly conduct does not mean that there is a reasonable chance that he could have been convicted of that crime. That is the whole point. Its clear that Craig accepted the plea so that he would not be "charged" with lewd behavior or peeping.

Consider this scenario, if the cops found a single picture of child pornography on your computer (that was downloaded randomly unknown to you), and you had no idea how it got there and you determined that you had a 100% chance of your case being dismissed by the judge, but they offered you a chance to plea to disorderly conduct to avoid a charge, would you plea or let them "charge" you with child porography.

Sloanasaurus said...

609.72 DISORDERLY CONDUCT.
Subdivision 1. Crime. Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place,
including on a school bus, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will
tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of
disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor:
(1) Engages in brawling or fighting; or
(2) Disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or
(3) Engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive,
obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.
A person does not violate this section if the person's disorderly conduct was caused by
an epileptic seizure.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan,
Are you on some kind of fucking medication??

If he plead "GUILTY"...that's that.

There had to be a crime charged...or there would be no need for a plead of any kind.

Period.

Whether he could have beaten the rap, gotten it thrown out, plead to a lesser charge...is totally irrelevant...and why is that?

BECAUSE HE PLEAD GUILTY to disorderly conduct...(even though he was actually charged with a "Peep" charge relating to "interference with privacy.")

Luckyoldson said...

Sloan,
Toobin on CNN just reaffirmed my basic premise: He plead guilty so any bullshit arguments are moot.

Or, mute in your case.

hdhouse said...

madison man...you are right of course. NWA. the initial reports i read here were he was going home after the all night vote but that appears to be in error and i apologize. i should have kept checking. darn!

Revenant said...

I repeat Revenant...what part of lewd behavior and peeping don't you understand.

If you have evidence that Craig is guilty of peeping and lewd behavior, feel free to share it with us. Until then, I'll consider my point that he wasn't charged with those crimes to be unrefuted.

Revenant said...

Why did he plead guilty?

Because he was hoping that if he handled things quietly the press wouldn't notice. A trial would guarantee media attention.

Because if he hadn't, he would have gone on trial for peeping and there would have been testimony about all these things and he probably would have been found guilty.

Why would he probably have been found guilty? It was his word versus a vice cop's word, and he would have had good lawyers on his side.

No, the reason he wanted to avoid a trial is that this story confirms all the other stories of bathroom sex that have followed him around. He didn't fear a peeping conviction; he feared the end of his political career.

Robert R. said...

It's a public bathroom in a public airport. There's a great deal of "liability" associated with safety measures taken or not taken.

Would you feel the same if police officers spent little or not time patrolling the bathrooms and a kid was taken into a stall and abused?
If it were your kid would you take it in stride?


That's exactly my point. I think it would be a better use of police officers time to patrol multiple bathrooms, and the areas in between, than to sit in one stall and hope someone makes a pass at you. Even in the 15 minute example, how many bathrooms can you cover in that time?

I'd rather have police officers catching people committing actual crimes (like people having sex in bathroom stalls) than the more nebulous situation of arresting guys for making homosexual passes at apparently willing guys. I think there's a reasonable distinction there.

Luckyoldson said...

Robert,
Do you actually think that was the only bathroom being monitored at the airport? Do you know the schedule of the officers? Do you know how long they stay in specific bathrooms that are targeted?

Why would anyone NOT WANT the cops patrolling the public bathrooms at an airport??

And you never answered my hypothetical...any reason?

Robert R. said...

I didn't answer your hypothetical because it was a reducto ad absurdum argument.

Of course I want police officers patrolling public places and catching people committing actual crimes, whatever they may be. I just think this bathroom stall sting is of limited usefulness and flexibility and actually punishes people for things that aren't actually crimes. Making a homosexual pass at an apparently willing recipient shouldn't be a crime in itself. Peeping, yes. Sex in public bathrooms, yes. Making a pass at someone, no.

I have no sympathy for Craig. He's a liar that has been exposed. He's probably guilty of peeping, depending on if the officer was fully clothed or not, and it's likely that the disorderly conduct charge was merely a bait and switch type of charge to encourage settlement. I just think there's better ways the same goal can be accomplished, that's all.