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Five Arrested in Dublin Sting on Dept. Store Rest Room

Thursday July 22, 2021

Five Arrested in Dublin Sting on Dept. Store Rest Room
  (Source:Getty Images)

As the recent documentary short "Trade Center" pointed out, public sex has long been a component of LGBTQ culture. Men's rooms, rest stops, adult video stores, saunas, backroom bars, and public parks — from Hempstead Heath to Golden Gate Park — have been locales easy to find with just a Google search. Such spots often appeal to those who wouldn't necessarily use a hook-up site to meet up. Many are married, closeted or simply uninterested in gay culture... save for sex.

The danger, of course, is that such sex is illegal, and those who engage in it face harassment and even arrest by law enforcement. This leads to public disclosure of the crime and the notoriety such an arrest entails.

Just this week there have been arrests on both sides of Atlantic of men engaging in public sex. In Maryland, nine men were arrested with four charged with Perverted Sexual Practice.

And in Dublin, a public toilet in a major department store, Marks & Spencer, has seen a number of arrests in the past month, most recently when a 32-year old man pleaded guilty to public masturbation in an Irish court. He "was the fifth man to appear in court in recent weeks charged with the same offense at the department store on dates last month," reports The Irish Examiner.

"The popularity of the gay cruising spot drew the attention of the department store's staff and the local police, which set up a sting operation last month," writes Out Traveler. This led to the men's room being put under the surveillance of the national police service of the Republic of Ireland (known as Garda). It was a Garda officer who identified the man in testimony.

The man is a foreign national who has lived in Ireland for ten years. "The defense submitted that a conviction could affect his employment and visa," writes the Irish Examiner. He said did not go there to pursue sex, but became aware it was happening once there and tried to "communicate with a male in the toilet."

The judge declined to dismiss the charges and released the man on bail pending his sentencing in September.

"Four other men have been accused of lewd behavior in the store's bathroom," adds Out Traveler. One of the men pled guilty to masturbating and engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature for grabbing an undercover officer's butt while exposing himself. His defense argued he had clearly "read the signals wrong."

"The other three (including a opposite-sex married father) were also charged with touching themselves in public in the presence of undercover officers. They were granted bail until they must appear in September to enter pleas, with the stipulation that they stay away from the Marks & Spenser store."