A man from southern California, who was arrested with his partner in the Caribbean island of Dominica for allegedly having sex in public, has said that the couple were subject to taunts, humiliation and inhumane treatment at the hands of their captors.
Dennis Jay Mayer, 53, also added that he has no doubt that the reason for their arrest was their homosexuality, and has denied the accusation that he had sex in public, saying they were “partially clothed.”
Mayer and his partner of 17 years, John Robert Hart, pleaded guilty to indecent exposure on Thursday, a reduction of the original, more serious charge of ‘buggery’. They were fined $4000, and released subsequent to settling the amount.
Speaking in San Juan, Mayer, a retired deputy sheriff said that the “total experience was horrendous.” He also said of the police officers that they openly admitted to not liking gay people, and were consequently denied any legal representation. According to AP, the two men were charged with indecent exposure and put in a five-by-eight-foot cell to await an appearance before a magistrate.
Complaining of their inhumane treatment, Meyer added that they were “detained for approximately 26 hours, and 19 of those locked in a cement cell, which had no running water, no toilet, no lights. It stunk of faeces and urine. It was infested with cockroaches, ants and bugs.”
The couple were led from court to a bank, where they withdrew money to pay their fine. A large crowd of local residents watched as they returned to pay the fine to a judge, who called them the rogues and vagabonds. Mayer later told the Los Angeles station KTLA that he had never seen anything like it. “I’ve never seen people chanting and protesting in the street. It was amazing,” he said, adding that they were not deliberately putting a show for anyone.
The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel. President Rich Campbell said Thursday that the outcome of the case would have been the same had it involved a heterosexual couple instead of two gay men. “It had nothing to do with their sexual orientation and everything to do with their public conduct,” he said.
Although Mayer has confirmed that he’d never return to Dominica again, Mr Campbell has reportedly said that the company has organised many trips to the island, and would “happily return” there.