Current Affairs

Gay Democrat congressman defends Republican, Larry Craig, following gay toilet scandal

PinkNews Staff Writer August 29, 2007
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One of only two openly gay members of Congress has said that Idaho Republican Senator, Larry Craig, should resist calls from his party to resign, after being found guilty of disorderly conduct in a public toilet and being accused of being a hypocrite by gay rights activists.

Barney Frank, Democrat Congressman for Massachusetts told the Associated Press: “What he did, it’s hypocritical, but it’s not an abuse of his office in the sense that he was taking money for corrupt votes. I think people should resign when they have clearly done the job in a way that is dishonest.”

Mr Frank added: “It’s one thing to say that someone can’t be trusted to vote without being corrupt, it’s another to say that he can’t be trusted to go to the bathroom by himself.”

Courts heard that plain clothes officer, who sat in an adjacent cubicle in a public toilet at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, observed that Craig repeatedly tapped his foot – supposedly a well-known signal for initiating gay sex – before brushing his foot against the officer’s and eventually resorting to waving his hand underneath the cubicle partition.

Craig, who was caught in a similar operation to the one that saw former Wham star, George Michael being sentenced to community service, received a $500 (£250) fine and a year’s unsupervised detention but escaped a ten day jail sentence. The actual police report is reproduced below.

Craig, pleaded guilty but said: “At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.

“I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter,” he continued. “In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously.”

The Senate Republican leadership has said that Craig has agreed to comply with requests to step down as the main Republican member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior and the Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and forests.

He has already quit his role as co-liaison to the Senate in the Republican Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign team said: “‘Senator Craig has stepped down from his role with the campaign. He did not want to be a distraction, and we accept his decision.”

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said: “What’s up with elected officials like Senator Craig?

“They stand for so-called ‘family values’ and fight basic protections for gay people while furtively seeking other men for sex.”

He continued: “And by the way, why are Minneapolis tax dollars being used to have plainclothes police officers lurking idly in airport restroom stalls?”

Mr Craig, now in his third term, supported a proposed amendment to the constitution banning same-sex marriage and voted for the Defence of Marriage Act. He opposes the inclusion of gays in the military.

Only last year Mr Craig was batting away accusations by a gay rights activist that he had enjoyed sexual liaisons with other men as “completely ridiculous.”

The following is the actual report filed by airport police.

Entered by Jacalyn Hudlemoyer, on 6/12/07

Title: Lewd Conduct

On 6/11/07, at about 1200 hours, I was working a plain clothes detail involving lewd conduct in the main men’s public restroom of the northstar crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal. The airport police department has received civilian complaints and has made numerous arrests regarding sexual activity in the public restroom.

I entered the men’s restroom and proceeded to an unoccupied stall in the back of the restroom. Other people were in the restroom for their intended purposes. Some, but not all of the bathroom stalls were occupied. While seated in the stall, I was the third stall from the wall which was to my left. From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of person seated to the right of me. An unidentified person entered to the left of me. From my seated position I was able to see his shoes and ankles.

At 1213 hours, I could see an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall. He was standing about three feet away and had a roller bag with him. The male was later identified by driverse license as Larry Edwin Craig. I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands , fidget with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes. I was able to see Craig’s blue eyes as he looked into my stall.

At 1215 hours, the male in the stall to the left of me flushed the toilet and exited the stall. Craig entered the stall and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door. My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall. From my position I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me. He was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes. At 1216 hours Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moved his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of otheres did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that is touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area.

At 1217 hours, I saw Craig swipe his hands under the stall divider for a few seconds. The swipe went in the direction from the front (door side) of the stall back towards the back wall. His palm was facing towards the ceiling as he guided it all the stall divider. I was only able to see the tips of his fingers on my side of the stall divider. Craig swiped his hand again for a few seconds in the same motion to where I could see more of his fingers. Craig then swiped his hand in the same motion a third time for a few seconds. I could see that it was Craig’s left hand due to the position of his thumb. i could also see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.

At about 1219 hours, I held my Police Identification in my right hand down by the floor so that Craig could see it. With my left hand near the floor, i pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, “No” I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exitited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. Without causing a disturbance, I discretely motioned for Craig to exit the restroom. I noticed that not all of the stalls were occupied. Craig demanded to see my credentials. I again showed Craig my credentials. Craig kept asking what was going to happen. I told Craig that we would speak in private. Craid said that he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didnt want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.

Once outside the restroom, Craig stopped near the entrance and was hesitant to comply. I told Craid that we would speak in a private area without embarrasing him or causing a disturbance. Craig was still hesitant to follow me at first, but then complied. He followed me towards the Police Operations Center (POC). Detective Nelson was seated outside of the restroom and followed us. Dispactch was notified that we had one in custody at 1222 hours.

When we got to the POC, we asked Craig to leave his bags ousdide of the interview room. This is standard procedure for safety reasons. I asked him for his driver’s license. Criag left his roller bag outside the interview room, but brought his two-strapped carry bag in with him. I again stated that he had to leave the bag ouside. Craig stated that his identification was in the bag. Craig handed me a business card that identified himself as a United States Senator as he stated, “What do you think about that?” I responded by setting his business card down on the table and again asking him for his driver’s license.

Craig provede me his Idaho driver’s license. In a reocrded post-Miranda interview, Craig stated thie following:

# He is a commuter

# He went into the bathroom.

# He ws standing ouside of the stalls for 1-2 minuted wiaiting for the stall -He has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine -He reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor -He is unable to take his gold wedding ring off of his left ring finger.

It should be noted that there was no a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper. During the interview, Craig either disagreed with me or “didn’t recall” the events as they happened.

Craig was worried about missing his flight. Detective Nelson tried to call the airline to hold the plane. The airline did not answer the phone. Craig’s Criminal History was clear. Craig was explained the process for formal complaints. Craig was photographed, fingerprinted, and released pending formal complaint for Interference with Privacy (MSS 609.746) and Disorderly Conduct (609.72) at 1305 hours.

Sgt. Karsnia #4211 Airport Police Department

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