As Idaho Sen. Larry Craig could tell you, apparently Minneapolis-St. Paul is not the area to be found engaging in sexually-suggestive acts. The St. Paul Pioneer Press say police there have arrested 40 men on sex-related charges in parks in the last six weeks. Stings were set up after complaints about men engaging in public sex and lewd conduct in parks. Police suggest that perpetrators who are convicted and sentenced to community service be assigned to parks to clean up trash. Condom wrappers and other debris are a big problem.
Critics said the sting operations are unfair. “We often downplay or pay little attention to indiscretions between males and females who engage in sexual encounters in public – be it in the back seat of a car, in the back of a bar, in a unisex restroom – and then sensationalize any cases that involve same-gender contact,” said Lorraine Teel of the Minnesota AIDS Project. In one recent case, a man in a pick-up truck was arrested after he nodded his head to invite an undercover officer parked next to him to come over, made sexually explicit gestures, and asked the officer to expose himself. Minnesota law considers it indecent exposure if someone asks “another to expose private parts” or “engages in any open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior.” One man arrested Wednesday was a 64-year-old retiree; last week, an 80-year-old man was arrested.