A New York group protesting against a number of arrests of gay men in adult business 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. “That was the first thing out of his mouth.”
“They were going to go back and start looking at all the individual cases,” said Robert Pinter, also a coalition member and one of the men who was arrested last year. “They really seemed genuinely concerned that something wrong was happening here.”
The group has said that attractive officers are sent to flirt with middle-aged gay men in adult shops and suggest a sexual liaison.
It is alleged that the officers then offer to pay for sex and without knowing whether the man would agree to payment, police then surround the man and accuse him with attempting to do business with a prostitute.
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”.