Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In Case You Haven't Heard...
Senator, Arrested at Airport, Pleads Guilty
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 — Senator Larry E. Craig, Republican of Idaho, was arrested in June by an undercover police officer in a men’s bathroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the case three weeks ago.
Mr. Craig, 62, was fined more than $500 and placed on unsupervised probation for a year. A 10-day jail sentence was suspended, according to a copy of a court document in the case. A second charge, interference with privacy, was dismissed.
According to a police report obtained by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, which disclosed the episode and the guilty plea Monday, a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of sexual activity in the bathroom arrested the senator on June 11 after what the officer described as sexual advances made by Mr. Craig from an adjoining stall.
By Roll Call’s account, the officer said Mr. Craig had tapped his foot, in what the officer called a known signal to engage in lewd conduct, and had also brushed his foot against the investigator’s and waved his hand under the stall divider several times before the officer showed him his badge. After the arrest the senator denied any sexual intent, and in a statement issued Monday afternoon he attributed the matter to a misunderstanding.
“At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions,” Mr. Craig said in the statement. “I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.
“I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously.”
Mr. Craig also severed ties Monday with the Republican presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, in which he had been serving as a co-liaison to the Senate with Senator Robert F. Bennett of Utah. The Romney campaign issued a statement that 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.”
Mr. Craig, whose seat is up for election next year, is the second senator in recent weeks to find his personal behavior under scrutiny. Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, was implicated in a separate case in the Washington area when his phone number turned up in the records of an escort service that the authorities have described as a prostitution ring. Mr. Vitter made a public apology for what he called “a very serious sin in my past,” but he has not been charged with any crime.
Mr. Craig, who is married and has three children, publicly rejected accusations by a gay rights activist last year that he had engaged in homosexual conduct. He called the accusations “completely ridiculous"
I wonder, if if were completely normal-and legal- to be lesbian or gay in the world, would these things ever happen. Would men need to seek sex they crave in public bathrooms-the rooms I barely want to use for the purpose stated? And why does it keep happening to republicans (I don't know a lot about that strange breed.) I remember visiting my parents in Ohio, shortly after moving to NYC (1973-74?) and going to a small gay bar-all men-in Warren, OH-with my friend Manny. At one point, the police came in and started asking for id from all the patrons. I was scared to death-was I going to be arrested? Were my parents going to find out? As it turned out, nothing happened except I suspect some payoff from the bar owner-a little old lady named Anne.