Florida Judge Dismisses Charges Against Men Arrested In Private Sex Club

In August, Instinct reported on a police sting operation that resulted in the arrests of 13 men having consensual sex in a private area of the Pleasure Emporium Adult Boutique in Hollywood, South Florida.

Now, Judge Ginger Lerner Wren  has dismissed all the charges against two of the defendants.

At the time of the arrests, police officers had gone to the trouble of paying $25 to enter locked, private rooms at the back of the Pleasure Emporium in South Florida where men were masturbating and engaging in oral sex.

The state had argued that an unsuspecting patron of Pleasure Emporium could accidentally observe the sexual activity.

But the judge disagreed.

“The Court finds that the Pleasure Emporium is not a public place under F.S. 800.03 where the patrons who access the private viewing theaters where consensual sexual activity occurs in the presence of other consenting adults objectively and subjectively possess a reasonable expectation of privacy,” Judge Wren wrote in her ruling.

Following the raid, the  police department released the names and photos of those arrested to the media. Several major media outlets published that information which, in effect, outed some of them to their coworkers and families.

One man was apparently fired from his job due to the public outings.

Rhonda F. Gelfman,  a lawyer who represented one of the defendants, told South Florida Gay News, “We are quite pleased with the court ruling, and justice was appropriately served,”

Unfortunately, some of the other defendants have already pleaded guilty to their charges.

Gelfman said that while it might be difficult to get their guilty pleas thrown out, “We may be able to assist them.”

Meanwhile, the Sun-Sentinel reports that while the Hollywood Police Department is spending it’s time busting gay men for consensual sex, the HPD is none too worked up about investigating actual sex crimes.

In 2014, HPD reported it had 94 rape kits sitting in storage, and some hadn't been tested for as many as nine years.

(h/t South Florida Gay News, Sun-Sentinel)

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