Monday, May 11, 2015

Russian Neo-Nazis Allegedly Lure, Torture Gay Teens With Online Dating Scam

Russian Neo-Nazis Allegedly Lure, Torture Gay Teens With Online Dating Scam

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Russian Neo-Nazis Allegedly Lure, Torture Gay Teens With Online Dating Scam

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A Filmmaker’s Chilling View Of Russia's Antigay 'Vigilantes'

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WASHINGTON -- The terror drifts through the dim apartment in muffled grunts. The hostage’s assailants hold him down, threatening to rape him with a stick or urinate on him, eliciting cackles from their cohorts. Within seconds, a muscle-bound man uses his fists to calm the captive.
The victim has been lured inside by a Russian group calling itself Occupy Pedophilia, which grabbed worldwide attention last year by distributing videos of such brutal, humiliating assaults against gay people on the Internet.
Unlike those videos, however, the footage in the St. Petersburg apartment late last year was shot by British filmmaker Ben Steele, whose documentary on these guerrilla crimes is set to air October 6 on the U.S. cable network HBO.
In “Hunted: The War Against Gays In Russia,” Steele gives a chilling behind-the-scenes glimpse of this movement. He credits this access partly to his promise of journalistic objectivity to his subjects, and partly to the pride they take in their violence against homosexuals.
“They do believe that they have the support of the Russian authorities, and they do believe that they’re in some way representing what they see to be the majority of the Russian people,” Steele told RFE/RL.
The group’s members have claimed their videos are aimed at shaming pedophiles, regardless of sexual orientation. But the movement regularly equates homosexuality with pedophilia, a position echoed by a Russian Orthodox priest interviewed in the film.
Director Ben Steele attends the New York premiere of "Hunted."
“Hunted” includes footage of planning sessions of Occupy Pedophilia militants, whose main modus operandi for setting up victims is to lure them to meetings via social networking sites with the promise of same-sex romantic liaisons.
As the attack unfolded in the St. Petersburg apartment, Steele was forced out of the room and told to stop filming. But he managed to push his way back in and keep a camera on the action. It was, he says, his best available tactic for trying to stop the situation from escalating, adding that he was “genuinely frightened for the young man who’d been lured to the flat.”
"I felt that by being in the room, and by holding the camera, it is acting as a brake on more extreme violence," he said.
‘They Will Pick Up A Gun’
Steele’s film is set against the backdrop of a controversial law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year that outlawed "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” among minors in Russia, where opinion polls show widespread antipathy toward homosexuals.
The loosely worded law was portrayed by Putin and other Russian officials as aimed at protecting children and encouraging Russia’s birth rate, while Western governments and rights groups decried it as discriminatory toward gays.
While there have been few instances of fines levied against violators of the law, members of Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community say it has served to bolster a sense of impunity among groups like Occupy Pedophilia.
In “Hunted,” a man identified as Dima tells how he and several other gay men were beaten up by assailants who ransacked an apartment where they were meeting. Gunfire erupted during the attack, and Dima was left with injuries that permanently blinded him in one eye.
He tells the filmmakers that antigay legislation in Russia has left the LGBT community essentially unable to publicly defend itself, creating a vacuum now being filled with bile against homosexuals that could prove deadly.
"If it’s constantly drilled into people that we are murderers, scum, and perverts, I understand why these guys shot at me,” Dima says in the film. “If you repeat something all the time, sooner or later there will be a click, and they will pick up a gun and go and shoot."
International Outrage
Steele said he chose to center his film around the so-called vigilante groups like Occupy Pedophilia in part because of the raw, horrific power of the group’s viral videos.
"We kind of understood that most people knew that being gay in Russia was probably less fun than being gay in London or gay in New York,” he said. “So we wanted to make a film that would actually have an emotional resonance and an emotional impact.”
Indeed, while Russia’s antigay “propaganda” law sparked protests and outrage throughout the world, the brutality of these videos played a significant role in galvanizing broad international support for Russia’s beleaguered LGBT community.
"If anyone was on the sidelines or anyone was not exercised about [the law], those videos put everyone over the top," Dan Savage, a U.S. author and prominent gay rights activist, told RFE/RL.
WATCH THE TRAILER
Steele’s film notes the sluggish nature of Russian authorities’ investigations of abuses carried by antigay militants, who are rarely prosecuted for their crimes. The Russian government, however, has dismissed suggestions that this violence is tacitly supported by the state.
After “Hunted” premiered on British television days before the Sochi Winter Olympics began in February, the Russian Embassy in London issued a statement saying the film was “specially timed” to coincide with the Sochi Games and “smacks of well-timed and cynical propaganda.”
It also noted that Maxim Martsinkevich, founder of the “illegal vigilante group Occupy Pedophilia,” had been arrested and was being held on charges of extremism.
The statement echoed the position voiced by the group’s militants in Steele’s film, saying that Occupy Pedophilia, “as its name suggests, targets only pedophiles [both straight and gay].”
‘Baying For A Fight’
Steele says that filming the entrapment of the Occupy Pedophilia victim in the St. Petersburg apartment was the most intense experience in the making of the film.
"I’m not a weakling, but I’m not an Arnold Schwarzenegger character either, and there were 13 men in that room who were baying for a fight,” he told RFE/RL. “I was the only man in that room who wasn’t a vigilante. I think had I attempted to intervene, it would have been counterproductive."
The ability of his camera to mitigate the violence was referenced at one point during the incident by a female leader of the group, identified in the film as “Katya.” She tells the hostage that he is lucky that there are journalists present, that their removal from the scene would bode poorly for his physical well-being.
Eventually, the victim gives in to the physical and verbal abuse and tells them that he is gay. He is then forced to perform a dance for his captors as they film him.
The film informs the viewers that Steele and his team then accompanied the victim out of the building and offered any assistance they could.
He asked them not to go to the police.
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Russian Anti-Gay Vigilantes Are Free To Proudly Display Their Atrocious Activities Online!

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Gay and transgender people in Russia are increasingly being targeted. The violence has now unfortunately extended to the entrapment, kidnapping and torture.
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Gay and transgender people in Russia are increasingly being targeted. The violence has now unfortunately extended to the entrapment, kidnapping and torture.
Anti-gay vigilantes have started entrapping gay men and boys via social media. They lure them into a meeting and then film "interrogating" and beating of them up and posting the video on Russian social media.
The horrific videos shows what has become very prevalent in Russia now days
These two videos are only one part of a series of videos being circulated by these vigilantes- bragging that they've set up a network to kidnap and punish gay men, who they consider all to be pedophiles.
The scariest part is that the self-righteous perpetrators freely show their faces in videos and have nothing to fear from authorities.
Russian Anti-Gay
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Russia is facing a lot of international criticism and is talk of economic boycotts too, like that of Russian-made vodka.
Another major concern are the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014. The IOC said it sought and got assurances from the Russian government about the safety of visitors to the Games, regardless of their stance on LGBT rights.
But what is the guarantee in a country where the government has passed an anti-gay law andmaintains the laws will be enforced during next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi as well!
But if even the Russian government gives a100 percent guarantee of safety to gays and transgenders visiting Russia for the winter Olympics or even participating in the games, who will vouch for the vigilantes of the country?

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Disgusting Russian Anti-Gay-Law turns gays and gay-activists into criminals - YouTube

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Published on Jun 11, 2012
I am not going to tolerate any offensive, intolerant or rude comments!
You are going to be deleted and reported! NO RUSSIAN!

Gay-Bashing in Russia (Graphic Video) - YouTube

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Published on Jan 24, 2013
Translation of soundbite #1 - Elena Kostyuchenko, Gay-rights campaigner and journalist with Russia's leading independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta: "The law absolutely does not define what gay propaganda is, and the reasons are understandable, because gay propaganda does not exist. In that respect, any information on, as the law puts it, 'equal values of traditional and unorthodox marital relations' is considered 'gay propaganda'."

Translation of soundbite #2 - Pavel Samburov, Gay-rights campaigner (++talking about the men who beat up patrons gathered for the "Coming Out Party" he helped organise at 7Freedays night club in October 2012++): "Several young men in hoods and surgical masks entered a room (at the club) and spread around the room. I was sitting in a big room and I honestly thought that they were part of the show and that they would take off their masks and hoods and publicly declare their coming-out at the club. Then one of them asked 'Have you ordered a fight? There you go!' And they all started pushing people, breaking glasses, and turning everything in the club upside down."

Soundbite #3 - Pavel Samburov, Gay rights campaigner: "The first time it happened was on 5 December 2012, at the very first united rally 'For Fair Elections'. At the time, the Rainbow Column had only five people, we had no rainbow flag because somebody did not bring it along, and we just had a banner saying 'Gays and Lesbians Against Crooks and Thieves'. The rally ended very badly because some 300 people were detained, many of us were arrested, including me, I was arrested for 10 days. After that, people from our movement got very angry, and took to the Bolotnaya Square (where several more anti-Putin rallies took place) with rainbow flags. There were few of us, but we were angry."

Translation of soundbite #4 - Denis Volkov, Sociologist with independent pollsters the Levada Centre:

"By accepting such laws and other, similar, restrictive and prohibitive laws, the state is targeting the opinions of the most, so to say, average, un-progressive layers of society, the grey majority."

Orthodox activists clashed with gay-rights campaigners near the lower house of parliament this week, just days before Russian lawmakers vote on proposed ban on "homosexual propaganda".

About a dozen gay-rights campaigners gathered near the State Duma in central Moscow on Tuesday for a "kissing rally" to protest against the controversial new bill. The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism". It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism. As the campaigners unfurled banners and started kissing, a similar number of burly young men - who identified themselves as activists with Russia's dominant Orthodox Church - accosted them, shouting obscenities, attacking them and pelting them with eggs.

After three readings, the Duma may adopt the bill, and it would become law after Putin signs it. In 1993, the Kremlin decriminalised homosexuality by removing the Stalinist-era law that punished "sodomy" by up to five years in jail. Since 1993, gay subculture became visible in Moscow and other big cities. Pop stars openly wear drag and imitate Western gay icons such as Elton John or Freddie Mercury, but homophobia remains strong. Attempts to hold gay prides in Moscow and St. Petersburg were violently dispersed by police and Orthodox activists.

Some night clubs such as Solyanka in central Moscow are gay-friendly, but even at such places, gay people do not feel safe. Last October, gay-rights campaigner Pavel Samburov organised a "Coming Out Party" at the 7Freedays nightclub.

Samburov, whose Rainbow Association unites several hundred activists across Russia, said that some of them have participated in the massive rallies that started in December 2012 to protest the fraud-tainted parliament election and Putin's return to presidency.

The election was won by Kremlin's United Russia party, and protesters called it "The Party of Crooks and Thieves". Samburov said he was arrested at the first "For Fair Elections" rally held in December . "The rally ended very badly because some 300 people were detained, many of us were arrested, including me, I was arrested for 10 days," he explained.

"After all than, people from our movement got very angry, and took to the Bolotnaya Square (where several more anti-Putin rallies took place) with rainbow flags," he added. "There were few of us, but we were angry."

Meanwhile, Denis Volkov, a sociologist with the Levada Centre, an independent pollster, said the anti-gay bill fits the "general logic" of a government intent on limiting various rights.
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WATCH: Russian Homophobes Are Using Social Media To Lure, Entrap, and Torture Gay Teens - VIDEO| Gay News

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Russian Skinheads Attack Gay Teens
The report and video come from Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, an LGBT advocacy group in Eastern Europe...
"Infamous Russian ultranationalist and former skin head, Maxim Martsinkevich, known under the nickname "Cleaver"...spearheaded a country wide campaign against LGBT teens using a popular social network <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> to lure unsuspected victims through personal ads. Mr. Martsinkevich's numerous and enthusiastic followers started two projects: 'Occupy Pedophilyaj' and 'Occupy Gerontilyaj'.  Allegedly they are trying to identify and report pedophiles using these 'movements'. In reality, over 500 online groups have been created inside <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> social network in order to organize illegal militant groups in every Russian city. Oddly enough their idea of fighting pedophiles targets exclusively male teenagers who respond to the same-sex personal ads and show up for a date. Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video.  These self-proclaimed "crime fighters" perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized. So far Russian police took no action against these "movements" even though Russian criminal code was clearly violated and despite numerous complaints from parents, victims and LGBT activists.  Social network <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> intermittently shuts down selected groups and profiles only to allow them to be re-open on the next day. Currently, the founder of <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a>, Pavel Durov, resides in the US and so far has not released any comments."
Russian Homophobes Attack With UrineThe attacks came very shortly after President Vladimir Putin signed a series of blatantly anti-gay laws. These laws have been the subject of controversy the world over, especially surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The resulting violence will likely only fuel the already fierce and impassioned debate. There is almost no doubt, as well, that videos like the one below will play a significant role in the debate. According to one commenter from YouTube...
"This teenager who happens to be 15, went online and started communicating with a fake profile called 'dada deema'.'Mr.Deema' offered to have sex with this fake profile for 20000 rubles ($600) hoping to buy a laptop, however a group of 15 year old boys stopped him and confronted him over his attempt to sell himself, these boys were the creators of Dada Deem. In the end they peed in the beer bottle and spilled it over him."
Spectrum also made sure to note that the attack on video occurred in "broad daylight". 
Those wishing to view the video (via Joe. My. God.) can do so AFTER THE JUMP. Be warned, however, that the video contains graphic and violent content, and may prove to be disturbing...
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Gay teenagers tortured and made to come out on video by militant ‘anti-paedophilia’ group · PinkNews

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A neo-Nazi Russian group has taken to social media to publicise images and videos of gay teenagers lured in on the promise of a date, before torturing them and forcing them to come out to friends and family on video.
Gay victims aged 12-16 are reportedly lured in by the group Occupy-Pedofilyay, led by Maxim Martsinkevich, known under the nickname “Cleaver”.
Videos are then circulated of the victims being made to come out as gay, with a view to parents, schools, or friends finding out about their sexuality.
An uncensored image of one of the victims holding a sex toy, covered in red paint, and being held down, appeared on the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance blog.
The accompanying report also included a video of the torture of one victim who was sprayed with urine in public, however YouTube has now removed the video.
A report from May notes that 19-year-old Alex Bulygin, a victim of the ‘fighters with paedophiles’ branch of the group, committed suicide after having his sexuality revealed online.
It also quotes one member as having said: “If I had my way – I would kill them, but the state does not allow that.”
The group was established with the intention of revealing the identities of paedophiles, but after turning to adult gay men, it has now begun targeting young teenagers.
The Spectrum report says that no police action has been taken against the incidents, despite numerous victims, and that over 500 similar groups have been formed across Russia using the VK social networking site.
The bills, which have since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.
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Russian Skinheads Entrapping, Torturing LGBT Teens

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UPDATE, Mon. August 5, 2013: Reports are now coming in that at least one of the gay teens who've been entrapped and beaten by Russian skinheads has died of his injuries.

russia_skinheads.jpgIt just keeps getting worse for our LGBT siblings in Russia.
In a country where citizens, nonprofit organizations, and even tourists can be fined or jailed for expressing public support of any kind for the LGBT community, reports are now emerging that private citizens are taking the government's persecution of LGBT people into their own hands -- creating fake social network profiles and bogus online personal ads, tricking the men (mostly teens) who respond into showing up for a date, then torturing them. Publicly. And the police are letting it happen.
Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, a group working on behalf of LGBT people in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, has this horrifying report:
Infamous Russian ultranationalist and former skin head, Maxim Martsinkevich, known under the nickname "Cleaver" (or "Tesak" in Russian) spearheaded a country wide campaign against LGBT teens using a popular social network <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> to lure unsuspected victims through personal ads. Mr. Martsinkevich's numerous and enthusiastic followers started two projects: "Occupy Pedophilyaj" and "Occupy Gerontilyaj". Allegedly they are trying to identify and report pedophiles using these "movements".
bilerico_photo.bmpIn reality, over 500 online groups have been created inside <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> social network in order to organize illegal militant groups in every Russian city. Oddly enough their idea of fighting pedophiles targets exclusively male teenagers who respond to the same-sex personal ads and show up for a date. Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video. These self-proclaimed "crime fighters" perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized.
So far Russian police took no action against these "movements" even though Russian criminal code was clearly violated and despite numerous complaints from parents, victims and LGBT activists. Social network <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> intermittently shuts down selected groups and profiles only to allow them to be re-open on the next day. Currently, the founder of <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a>, Pavel Durov, resides in the US and so far has not released any comments.
The group also released this video of a gay teen in Moscow who was lured into the kind of trap described above. It shows him being "bullied, tortured and sprayed with urine in the broad day light."
Watch it at your own risk. You don't need to know a word of Russian to understand how terrified and humiliated this poor young man is.
Mortified? You should be. Want to show solidarity with the Russian LGBT community? Start byboycotting Russian vodka, caviar, and other products, and demanding that gay bars and LGBT-owned restaurants in your area do the same.
If you're on Twitter, tweet VK.com founder Pavel Durov and tell him to crack down on the entrapment of Russian LGBT people on his social network.
And then tweet the corporate sponsors of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held just over six months from now in Sochi, Russia. Ask them whether they support Russia's persecution of LGBT people and demand that they speak out against that country's human rights atrocities.
Sponsors include the following companies (click for links to their Twitter profiles):
russia_scott.jpg
Russian flag graphic courtesy of the phenomenal Scott Wooledge of Memeographs Studio, who was kind enough to design it for me when I had no idea how. Click here for the Memeographs Facebook page.
UPDATE: Reader and fluent Russian speaker Sai took the time to summarize the dialogue in the video, along with timestamps. Sai's summary is posted on Google Plus, and reproduced below with permission.
1:00: He's 15.
2:00: Female gets kid to say that yes, he had gone there to meet "Grandpa* Dima" to have sex in return for money. He travelled to a different city for this.
3:00: Female claims they're also 15 yo.
3:40: Guy says "Grandpa Dima" offered him 5-15k (rubles?) for the sex.
5:00: They ask if he had a mom & dad, whether he was forced to have sex as a child, etc. He says yes and no respectively.
5:40: They talk about other ways to make money.
6:00: He says he's in 11th grade. They express surprise given his age. He says that he gets shitty grades.
7:00: They start asking whether he woke up one day wanting to be a buttfucker, why he doesn't like girls, whether he was abused / recruited, etc.
8:00: He says he's bi, not gay, but no he's not attracted to the female talking with him. (They ask whether he'd sleep with her, etc.)
8:30: Female asks his name. He says it's Sergei Academiovitz Mikhailovich. (Approx.)
8:50: They ask him what school he goes to, whether his mom knows what he does.
9:10: He says his mom doesn't know where he is.
9:40: Guy in ski mask says he had a bad childhood, and his parents died, but hasn't stooped as low as the guy in middle. Says he doesn't hurt others, tries to make something of himself, etc.
11:00: Guy in ski mask talks about how he's giving up his ass for so little money (~20k), and that he shouldn't do so, should value himself higher, etc.
12:20: Guy off camera asks if he likes fucking other guys in the ass. He says no. He says he's just doing it for money.
12:35: Female asks if he doesn't want his schoolmates etc to find out. (Sounds like a not very veiled threat.)
13:30: Female in white w/ pink backpack starts berating him for selling his ass at 15.
15:30: They ask who he's friends with in school, whether they know what he does, ask him to say their names and say hello.
15:50: Guy off camera asks if he's attractive, whether he'd let him fuck for money, etc. He says no. They offer more money (100k, etc). They make fun of his refusal (e.g. "oh, he only has a set price of 20k, he won't take more").
16:40: Guy off camera asks what he'd say to his mom.
16:50: Guy off camera asks if he's active or passive (top/bottom); he says he's "universal" (versatile).
17:22: Guy off camera asks what he'd do if it wasn't them, but worse people who'd found him, stole his phone, called up his mom to tell her about it, etc.
18:42: Guy off camera asks if "Grandpa Dima" was the first; he says yes.
19:00: Guy off camera asks if he knows / supports their organization ("Malahov"?), whether they're doing the right thing, etc.
19:40: Guy off camera asks if he's heard of "urine therapy".
20:00: Female offers that they (?) baptize him with urine and let him go, then pours something on him from the beer bottle.
It sounds like they're attempting a reverse version of To Catch A Predator.
* "dadja" means grandpa, but also has the sense of "Daddy" in English (i.e. sugar daddy)
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Cops Accused of Entrapping Gay Men | Local | News

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Cover Story
SFGN’s Year Long Investigation Reveals PBSO Targeting Gay Men In Parks
Randy McGilton, Shawn Browser, and Gerry Sanders have never met but they have something in common: They were all arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in a five-year undercover operation targeting gay men having sex in parks.
And they weren’t the only ones.
Those three men represent just a few of the more than 600 arrests made by Detectives Peter Lazar and his partner Vaniclov “Van” Garner, from 2005 to 2010. SFGN reviewed more than 300 of those police reports starting with the year 2007, but PBSO acknowledged their operation began two years before that.
Only a handful of the arrests – four to be exact -- were between two men. The rest of them involved an undercover detective soliciting another man for sex using tactics that one lawyer called “disgusting,” while another lawyer questioned the legality of the detectives’ behavior.
“They approach, lure and entice guys who are sitting alone in their car, start a sexually charged conversation and then look for a way to arrest them,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Russell Cormican, who estimates he’s probably represented upwards of a 100 men over the past 15 years who got busted for public sex (see “What is Entrapment”).
Two of the men mentioned above, McGilton and Browser, were charged with exposure of sexual organs, while the third, Sanders, was charged with loitering in a public restroom.
McGilton and Browser admitted they were guilty of the crime, but neither explored the possibility that they each might have been a victim of entrapment.  Most arrestees do not; they can’t afford to do so. While the third, Sanders, denies any wrongdoing and believes he was a victim of an overzealous cop looking to make an arrest.
In fact, Sanders is still worried about retaliation from the cops and did not want his real name used for this article. At first glance his story might seem hard to believe, but police reports confirmed most of the major details as he described them to SFGN (see Sanders’ full story).
Simply put, Sanders was taking a jog through the park, took a short break, and washed his face in the restroom. Sanders, who noticed two men acting strangely in the restroom, mistook the undercover detectives for potential muggers. After leaving the bathroom he got in his car and left with the detective following him through the park. The incident ended with Sanders being charged with loitering in a public restroom.
Sanders said he’s straight and has a girlfriend. He insists he was not at the park looking for sex.
As for Browser, he posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a quick hook up. The detectives responded to it, and they agreed to meet at Okeeheelee Park where they promptly arrested him as soon as he exposed himself. Browser also did not want his real name used.
“They got me all excited by responding to an ad on Craigslist...so I pursued it...I met them in the park...they led me down a road...insisted that I’d whip it out before I could suck him,” he wrote in an email to SFGN.
As for McGilton’s story:
“They approached me. I was standing there for a minute. I wasn’t giving off any signals,” he said. “They asked me what I like to do. [The undercover detective said] my friend likes to fuck. Do you want to get fucked? I told him not really.”
He did, however, end up exposing himself to the detectives who promptly arrested him.
Like many of the other men arrested, McGilton and Browser had to pay fines, attend prostitution classes, and take an AIDS test. Many who wind up in this situation plead no contest and do not hire an attorney because they don’t have the funds or are too embarrassed to fight.
Some like Sanders, though, come to regret that decision.
“Because of my financial situation I didn’t get an attorney to fight it. It was just easier to plead the way I did. My girlfriend told me to fight this. Basically the judge said this is just loitering in a bathroom,” he said. “I was warned about the detective. I was told, you go up against him and you have problems. I didn’t want to push the issue.”
Cormican pointed out that: “What these defendants do not realize is that once they plead no contest they compromise their ability to sue afterwards for false arrest. In fact those who accept the state’s offers are usually required to waive their right to sue.”
Even though loitering in a public bathroom is a misdemeanor and may not be a big deal, it still showed up on Sanders' record and he had to explain the situation at work.
As far as SFGN can tell the operation started sometime between 2005 and 2007 and lasted until 2010. During that time the two police officers made more than 600 arrests of purportedly gay men in public parks throughout Palm Beach County, from Jupiter to Boca. More than half of the arrests were men aged 45 to 70.
That was the detectives’ only job – going undercover and soliciting men for sex and then arresting them. SFGN did not come across any arrests of men having sex with women and only a handful of arrests that involved two men. Even though SFGN requested all of the arrest records that both detectives made since 2007, only about 320 were handed over. The others may have occurred before SFGN’s request.
A few arrests, though, were of female prostitutes, but none were of female detectives soliciting straight males in parks. If that were the case Russell Cormican is sure plenty of straight men would be arrested. Out of all of the men Cormican has represented, none of the men were straight men busted by a female cop.
“I’ve never ever seen an operation where police utilized a female officer to come on to men,” Cormican said. “If you took an attractive female officer and put her by the restroom in a city park and she walked up to guys as they went in and out and asked them to show their private parts, I think they would arrest a lot of guys.”
When asked why they don’t set up an operation like that he stated:
“That’s a good question. That’s probably a better question to ask the police. They’re targeting gay men, that’s the answer,” he said. “[The police department’s] answer is usually that they’ve received complaints about gay men having sex in the bathrooms. But they usually propose the sex acts themselves.”
What is usually happening in these types of operations Cormican asserts:
“They’re essentially going out and creating their own crime,” he said. “They’re creating the entire incident from the beginning to the end themselves. It’s an artificially created act. If that police officer was not there that day, it wouldn’t have occurred.”
SFGN also reviewed a deposition (see deposition) where Detective Lazar explained his undercover operation in detail.
This is how it goes down:
“No, that’s all I do. Myself and my partner, that’s all we do. We have other park deputies that are uniformed that they do the car burglaries, the vandalism and patrol the parks. That’s what they do,” Lazar stated in a deposition.
“Sometimes I will wear shorts and a tank top. Sometimes it is just a t-shirt with some pants. Each time is a little different,” he bragged. “Six-hundred arrests, at least 300 of those are mine. In total, we have over 600 now in the last three years.”
He continued: “When people talk about the weather, they want to talk about, 'Hey, do you want to have a good time?”
During the conversation with these men he would sometimes keep his hands in his pockets and pretend he was playing with himself. In many cases the detectives would tell the defendant they like to “suck” or would squat down waiting for the other guy to expose himself (more stunning facts).
“I am playing the role of somebody looking for sex,” he admitted.
If the other person gets too aggressive and asks to see the detective’s genitals, they’ll pretend to get nervous in order to avoid doing so. The detectives also try to make sure to strengthen their cases while in the act.
“I could have arrested him when he exposed himself the first time, but I want more than just a little bit. I would like to get a better case, than his pants were up a little bit, and I had to walk up and see it. I want something a little bit more like him rubbing himself,” Lazar said.
Further answers are difficult to obtain since PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has so far refused to speak with SFGN except for sending one prepackaged response through his Public Information Officer Teri Barbera.
This is what Bradshaw sent:
“First of all, SEX in public parks, bathrooms, nature trails, etc. is ILLEGAL per Florida State Statue - 800.03 Exposure of sexual organs:
It is unlawful to expose or exhibit one’s sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or to be naked in public except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A mother’s breastfeeding of her baby does not under any circumstance violate this section.
In 2005, PBC Parks & Recreation contacted PBSO requesting assistance with illegal sexual activity occurring in PBC park bathrooms and nature trails.  PBSO began to enforce ALL illegal sexual activity in public bathrooms, which were mainly located next to playground areas. This enforcement resulted in numerous arrests over the last few years.  The individuals arrested were issued a “notice to appear” in court for the charge of Exposure of Sexual Organs.
PBSO responds to all requests to stop illegal activity, regardless of its location, that is what the public expects from our agency.”
And while the statute may be clearly defined, Bradshaw’s statement leaves a bit more to the imagination.
According to the Director of PBC Parks and Recreation they never contacted PBSO about combating illegal sexual activity and was surprised when informed of the undercover operation.
“Wow. I was not aware of that,” said Craig Murphy, director of park operations. “I don’t remember requesting any [assistance].”
Murphy stated he would be aware if anyone else had requested assistance.
“I would be aware of something like that,” he said. “[PBSO] sends us weekly operating reports. I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary.”
PBSO used to have a Parks Division, but it has since closed down due to budget cuts, according to Barbera. Now Parks and Recreation must rely on the other PBSO units and individual municipalities to assist in patrolling the county’s parks. The undercover operation has also since been stopped because of those same budget cuts.
SFGN also requested to interview Detectives Lazar and Garner. Barbera said Lazar has since retired and did not answer when asked where he retired to. Garner is now a homicide detective, but Barbera said he declined to be interviewed. But that doesn’t mean nobody else was willing to talk about the officers.
In particular, Michael Salnick, a successful and high profile attorney based in Palm Beach County, did have this to say about Detective Lazar:
“In my experience with Mr. Lazar, I never found him particularly credible or believable,” he said. Salnick filed a complaint against Lazar in 1992 for unprofessional conduct and the internal investigation revealed it to be valid. Lazar was given a written reprimand.
Salnick has been practicing law in West Palm Beach for 30 years.
Another well known attorney, Jeffrey Weiner of Miami-Dade County, had a lot to say about the matter. While he couldn’t comment specifically about Palm Beach County he’s seen other police departments in South Florida routinely target gay men.
“Many departments unfortunately repeatedly target gay men,” he said. “It’s disgusting and terrible. Miami Beach is one of the worst in that regard.”
Weiner has been practicing law for more than 38 years and is a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a former president of the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.
“The bottom line is, we’re often and usually able to get these cases dismissed. Many times there are no crimes except in the minds of the police officers,” he explained. “Prosecutors are a lot more reasonable than the cops on the beat. But it’s terrible what they put people through. The means they use are really offensive. The games they play.”
He added: “As a lawyer, I’m offended by this behavior by the police.”
Cormican said these types of arrests are embarrassing for defendants and many times they do not want to take it to trial even though there would be a good chance of either dismissal or acquittal.
“Usually it’s straight guys who are married or a gay guy running around on his boyfriend and don’t want a public battle with police. They just want it out of their lives. Something like this has the potential to impact their personal relationships,” Cormican said. “So a lot of people don’t want to fight these and police take advantage of that.”
McGilton and the other men contacted by SFGN were all surprised that the information about their arrests were still available. All of them say they were led to believe by authorities it wouldn’t stay on their record.
“I’m surprised it’s on my record. That’s why I’ve had a hard time getting a couple of jobs. Never realized that,” McGilton said. While Browser said: “They told me not to worry that it will disappear in 3 years or so....I’m really bummed tho that a complete stranger got hold of this...I guess it’ll show up as criminal record when I apply for a job.”
Cormican confirms that this isn’t unusual.
“Sometimes the police will even tell people up front don’t fight it. Don’t get a lawyer. Just go talk to city prosecutor. Don’t bother fighting it,” he said. “A lot of people elect to do that because it’s an embarrassing thing. The police really do push them that way. And I think a lot of it is because the police really don’t want people to stand up and fight these things. There are defenses there. What they’re doing is probably illegal.”
While no one from the PBSO would speak with SFGN, Tony Plakas, Executive Director of Compass, the gay and lesbian center of Palm Beach County, did come to Bradshaw’s defense and said he doesn’t believe there to be any widespread homophobia in the ranks of PBSO. He went on to say Bradshaw has been an ally of the LGBT community and praised the sheriff’s outreach efforts to the community.
In another case Jim Walker, (not his real name), hired an attorney who recommended taking it to trial and said it would most likely be thrown out, but he instead decided to settle without a trial and plead no contest.
“I should have gone to court. The attorney recommended it,” he said regretfully. “It would have been dropped. But I was afraid I would know someone there. I’m married with four kids. I sat in my car and cried for an hour. I was scared to death.”
And at 78 years old he has no plans on coming out of the closet.
“I can’t. My wife, it would be the end of her,” he said. “At this point too many people would be hurt.
RELATED:

  • Family: Champion was gay, which may be factor in his hazing death
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  • A Lust to Bust: Stunning Facts
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Gay Manhattan man's entrapment suit vs. city lives

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A federal judge Tuesday refused to toss out a gay Manhattan man's malicious-prosecution suit against the city, saying the NYPD's actions in arresting him appeared "unsettling and inappropriate."
Robert Pinter, 53, was arrested on Oct. 10, 2009, on prostitution charges after he was offered money for sex by a younger man in an East Village video store. The man turned out to be an undercover cop, and Pinter claimed entrapment. His arrest drew protests in the gay community.
"When the idea of the crime originates with the police, grounds for entrapment exist," District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in a decision allowing the case to proceed. "If true, these circumstances not only reek of entrapment; they are unsettling and inappropriate."

Gay rights group says men unfairly targeted by police stings at Kent County parks

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GRAND RAPIDS — Gay men in Kent County are being targeted and entrapped by Kent County Sheriff’s deputies for behaviors that would be deemed acceptable for straight couples, a group of gay rights activist told the Kent County Commission on Tuesday.
A group including a Holland minister and a board member of Equality Michigan say sheriff’s deputies arrested 33 gay men in county parks in 2010 under the state’s soliciting and accosting statute, but claim about half of those arrests involved two men merely speaking to undercover deputies, or making casual contact like holding hands.
Miriam Aukerman, West Michigan staff attorney for the ACLU, which is investigating the allegations, said in half the reports she examined law officers initiated the contact with those they later arrested.
“In these cases, it’s the officers who are making the approaches,” Aukerman said. “It’s the officers who are doing the accosting and soliciting.”
Aukerman said the practice of sending undercover deputies in search of gay men seeking companionship has a long history.
Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma on Tuesday defended his deputies, whom he said are merely trying to keep county parks safe for everyone.
“This is sensationalizing and a distortion of what’s happening,” Stelma said. “We do not arrest anybody, male or female, for holding hands.”
Aukerman compared the behavior described in police reports to what happens on any weekend night in bars and restaurants all over the country as people — single and otherwise — seek companionship. She said an interpretation of the state statute is being misused.
The statute states: “A person 16 years of age or older who accosts, solicits, or invites another person in a public place or in or from a building or vehicle, by word, gesture, or any other means, to commit prostitution or to do any other lewd or immoral act is guilty of a crime.”
“If you look at the exact language of the statute, you could apply it to what happens in bars and restaurants in Kent County on any Friday or Saturday night,” Aukerman said. “We have concerns about laws that limit the behavior of consenting adults.
“It’s legal to go to a park, a bar or a restaurant and say, ‘Hey, would you like to go to my place?’ We want our parks to be safe places for everyone and that includes gay people who are merely flirting.”
Stelma said that’s exactly what his deputies are trying to do. Yet he conceded some ambiguity in the state law his deputies are charged with enforcing.
“There is a range of discernment there, but whatever that act or suggestion was has to be considered by a judge or jury as being lewd or immoral,” Stelma said. “Our community has invested heavily in the parks and they expect us to keep them safe, family-friendly places and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”
Collette Seguin Beighley, a board member of Equality Michigan and director of Grand Valley State University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, responded to criticism by some county commissioners that none in the gay community came forward themselves to complain.
“These are just devastating experiences for these men,” Beighley said. “Many of them are closeted and the consequences are so huge, the cost of having their cars impounded and the risk of being on the sex offender list.
“I know men who had hoped to be (at the meeting) but said, ‘If they’re targeting gay men, I’m not going to give my name and address.’”
The ACLU’s Aukerman said about half the cases she reviewed involved activity that was clearly illegal.
But others like the Rev. Bill Freeman of Holland said that targeting gay men is also illegal and should be stopped.
“There is no money changing hands, so this isn’t prostitution,” Freeman said. “We’re talking about two consenting adults who are trying to hook up together and if one of them is an undercover officer and the only thing one of them has done is say, ‘Let’s get together someplace,’ I don’t see the problem. They’re making it a problem because they’re targeting gays.”
County Attorney Dan Ophoff said changes in how county law enforcement deals with such situations are already in the works. He said his response to an ACLU letter last June has been delayed, perhaps causing frustration.
“From our perspective, we believe the arrests that were made were compliant with state law,” Ophoff said. “Some of them were dismissed before prosecution or at the preliminary stage of prosecution.”
Ophoff added there likely will be changes to the county parks ordinance offering more due process rights for those banned because of criminal behavior.
Stelma said such undercover stings are likely to continue though may become less frequent because of budget cuts.
“We certainly lost a number of bodies and we have to use our existing resources carefully so we can’t do the stings as frequently as we might have or would like to do them,” Stelma said. “We’re going to do what it takes to make our parks safe.
“We’re not devising some situation where we’re picking and choosing,” he added. “It’s a state law.”
For the gay advocacy community, that law is merely one of several that should be changed. GVSU’s Beighley suggested legislators start with including sexual orientation in civil rights protections.
“This is one of many acts going on against the gay community,” she said. “We just keep hanging out the unwelcome sign in Michigan.
“It hurts our economy but, more importantly, it hurts our humanity. It hurts who we are as human beings.”
E-mail the author of this story: localnews@grpress.com
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ISIS goes undercover to catch homosexuals

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ISIS
ISIS has posted photographs on social media of members tossing gays off rooftops.
ISIS terrorists have taken to subterfuge to root out homosexuals, get them to admit their homosexual tendencies – and then kill them.
That’s according to various media, which reports members of the terror group have gone undercover and posed as “gays,” in order to lure them into admitting their sexual preferences. And those who do are then arrested and executed.
“Homosexuality is anathema to the group and in recent weeks the jihadists have been seeking to entrap gays in sting operations,” the Daily Beast reported, adding the Syrian government first conducted such undercover operations and now, ISIS picked up on it. “Undercover jihadists have posed as gays themselves to catch homosexuals. Some gays have been ransomed.”
The Christian Post reported ISIS members have put out several pictures on social media showing purported “gays” being tossed off the top of buildings, and executed in other gruesome ways. One photo showed two “gay” men, believed to be 29 and 24 years old, being stoned by terrorist group members near Homs.
Some of the “gays” are actually hugged by ISIS members before they’re killed – a circumstance that’s aimed at sending a powerful message to those who view the photographs, said Abu Mohammed Hussam, a member of the underground Syrian watchdog group, Raqqa.
“ISIS has never forgiven a single person,” he said, the Christian Post reported. “They kill people and then say God will forgive you. They hug the men to show people who are watching that ISIS is not at fault.”
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The ISIS Hug of Death for Gays - The Daily Beast

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First there were embraces and then the barbaric execution by stoning. Photographs of hugs that jihadists gave a condemned gay couple before killing them in north Syria have gone viral, prompting outrage in the West. For Islamic State sympathizers and members tweeting their responses, the hugs of death are meant as an expression of compassion, a gesture of forgiveness—before the gruesome reality of their murder.
The set of four still photographs shows two blindfolded men standing side-by-side in a desert clearing on the outskirts of an unnamed town while a group of Islamic State partisans and supporters, some leaning on motorbikes, gather to watch the killing. One victim with curly hair, a beard and wearing a gray leather jacket seems to accept his fate as a killer rests his hand on his shoulder.
A second photograph in the sequence shows the executioners hugging the men. In the last image tweeted by known Islamic State supporters, the battered, prostrate bodies of the victims are seen being showered with rocks thrown by four killers.
The photographs are the latest propaganda images purportedly showing gay men being murdered by the jihadists, who have also stoned women for adultery, beheaded suspected dissenters and filmed on two occasions young boys shooting men the Islamic State has claimed were spies.
In recent weeks the jihadists have posted videos of suspected gay men being hurled to their deaths from rooftops in the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the Syrian city of Raqqa. Others have been publicly beheaded.
These images from the stoning in what is said to be the northern Syrian province of Homs are the first showing an embrace being offered to the victims. Their calm demeanor before their medieval-style deaths is most likely due to the cocktail of drugs that is believed to be given by the jihadists to those earmarked for death.
Public executions in ISIS-controlled territory—and the posting of the atrocities on the Web—serve to terrorize locals into strict obedience with the group’s atavistic interpretation of sharia law and to frighten rivals. It also boosts the group’s notoriety, in a bizarre fashion helping it to recruit people attracted to its carefully cultivated aura of righteous power—hence the social media strategy to present the killings to the World.
In the Arab world— as in the West—a hug is meant to be a friendly, affectionate gesture. Anthropologists have argued that aside from showing love and friendship and offering consolation within families and clan groups, hugging on the battlefield and between warriors may have first started to demonstrate a lack of evil intent during a meeting. The hands would be carrying no visible weapon.
Abu Mohammed Hussam, an activist with the Syrian opposition group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, argues that the hugging and embracing is meant to show that by murdering them, the jihadists are helping the victims to expiate guilt for their supposed crimes. “They hug the men to show the people who are watching that ISIS is not at fault.”
The battered, prostrate bodies of the victims are seen being showered with rocks thrown by four killers.
Homosexuality is anathema to the group and in recent weeks the jihadists have been seeking to entrap gays in sting operations. Undercover jihadists have posed as gays themselves to catch homosexuals. Some gays have been ransomed.
The staging and the method of execution are carefully choreographed by the Islamic State—crafted to send particular gruesome messages. But they are dictated also by the jihadists’ interpretation of religious rulings by favored scholars. Recently, a social media row erupted between followers of ISIS and the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra when the latter group shot a woman accused of adultery. Islamic State followers accused Jabhat al Nusra of cruelty, or at least of doctrinal error, arguing that stoning was the appropriate punishment for the alleged crime.
Pictures of the murder of the gay couple in Homs aren’t the only images of brutality recently released by the terror group or their supporters. Photographs were posted today of a media activist being forced to his knees and then shot in rural Aleppo. The photographs were released by the group’s Halab Media Centre.
The images show the activist, whose arms are tied behind his back with plastic handcuffs, being dragged to a public square. He is wearing an orange jumpsuit.
His execution appears to have occurred earlier this week.
Moments before his killing, he is seen being surrounded by masked men wielding automatic weapons—although it is not clear if they are the ones who shot him, as his moment of death is not recorded.
Media and political activists are high on the ISIS list of opponents to be hunted down and killed. At least two Syrian citizen journalists are currently being held in Raqqa.
But it should be noted, not least as macabre irony, that the pictures of barbaric slaughter aren’t the only images publicized by ISIS today. The jihadists also posted photographs meant to show what a happy, bucolic place the self-styled caliphate has become with images of smiling farmers near Aleppo harvesting cabbages.
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Florida cops regularly entrapped men in sex predator stings

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Officers taking part in a Florida sheriff’s sting operations against alleged sexual predators used questionable tactics and frequently targeted men without any history of sex-related criminal accusations, WTSP-TV reported.
Judges have also criticized the operations, led by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, for entrapping suspects. In one case, a judge said it was an undercover agent “who repeatedly steered the conversation back to sexual activity with a minor.” The charges in that case were dismissed.
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Earlier this month, Judd called a press conference touting the arrests of 132 men in one operation despite the fact that charges were dropped against many of them.
“There is a difference between probable cause and ‘beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt,'” Judd stated at the Aug. 6 press conference. “And let me tell you one thing so there’s no misunderstanding — when we arrest them as ‘sexual perverts on children,’ I’m going to call them ‘sexual perverts on a child.'”
But according to arrest affadavits, several of the cases pursued by Judd’s task force involved detectives initiating contact with men on dating sites like <a href="http://PlentyOfFish.com" rel="nofollow">PlentyOfFish.com</a> who believe the detectives are actually adult women. The documents stated that after starting a correspondence, detectives would portray themselves as minors and encourage the men to continue communicating. In one case, a detective sent a target of the investigation a picture of a woman wearing a wedding ring.
Judd has also refused to release several public records, including the language used by detectives in their posts used to bait suspects and how they responded when the men with whom they were exchanging messages indicated they did not want to speak to an underage girl, even though he acknowledges that the majority of men targeted by the sting do just that. The sheriff has argued that those individuals are still “under investigation,” making them exempt from public record requests.
WTSP also reported that, out of at least 1,200 people arrested in the sting operations since 2008, 97 percent had not committed any sex-related offenses.
Sheriff’s departments in Citrus, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties have participated in Judd’s task force, as have the police departments in Clearwater, North Port, and Orlando.
However, other agencies, like the sheriff’s department in Pasco County, have refused to take part in the operations, citing a low jail time for those caught.
“You spend your resources, you arrest somebody and then they walk right out,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told WTSP. “It’s the biggest waste ever.”
Judd also suggested at his Aug. 6 press conference that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took part in an operation, a statement Hillsborough County officials refuted.
Watch Part 1 of WTSP’s investigation below.
And watch Part 2 here.
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LGBT Activist Calls Out Houston Police Sting Operation| Gay News

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Veteran LGBT activist Ray Hill tells Houston's OutSmart magazine that more than 20 men arrested in Memorial Park last Thursday and charged with solicitation of prostitution were targeted in a sting operation:
HillHill, who said he has been in contact with one of the men arrested, explained that eight to ten male vice officers dressed in Speedos and suggestive T-shirts, were along the jogging trail during daylight hours, attempting to beckon male joggers and walkers into the bushes. “[My source] tells me that one of their shirts had what resembled a chrome pnis on the back, and some of the other T-shirts looked to be gay pride affiliated,” Hill said.
Any individuals who responded to the officers’ calls and followed them into the bushes were automatically presumed to be looking for a sexual encounter, were handcuffed, and arrested, Hill said.
A second group of officers was possibly located by the men’s restrooms as well, Hill said. “This was definitely a sting operation,” he said. “I’ve called it worse than that. It was literally seducing people into arrest.”
The men arrested were then rounded up and put into two different vans parked nearby, Hill said.
More at OutSmart...

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Sheriff's Office Defends Anti-Gay Entrapment With Comparisons To Public Masturbation [Updated]

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by Zack Ford Posted on
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"Sheriff’s Office Defends Anti-Gay Entrapment With Comparisons To Public Masturbation [Updated]"
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Sid Gautreaux, East Baton Rouge SheriffThe East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office has pleaded ignorance about its enforcement of an anti-sodomy law that was ruled unconstitutional a decade ago. In a statement released after The Advocate brought to light the arrests of 12 men entrapped for agreeing to private consensual sex, the department claimed to not know the law was unenforceable, but proceeded to draw comparisons with “lewd activity near our children” and “public masturbation”:
The Sheriff’s Office has not, nor will it ever, set out with the intent to target or embarrass any part of our law-abiding community. Our goal is to Protect and Serve the public. When we receive calls from the public about lewd activity near our children, we have to respond. Our park operations, conducted at the specific request of the BREC Park’s Ranger, were an attempt to deter or stop lewd activity occurring in the park near children. The deputies in the cases were acting in good faith using a statute that was still on the books of the Louisiana criminal code. […]
We want to reiterate our intent in these cases. It was NEVER to target a certain segment of our population. It was only in response to parents, park officials and members of the public concerned that our parks were not safe. When we receive reports of public masturbation, sex and other lewd activity in a park where children are playing, me MUST take these concerns seriously. Our intent was honorable, our approach, however, is something we must evaluate and change. The Sheriff’s Office is not concerned with what consenting adults do in private residences. We are concerned with what is going on in public, especially a public place frequented by children.
Whatever its intentions, the Sheriff’s office has continued to target and embarrass the gay community by comparing private, consensual sex to these other behaviors. Notably, by constantly referring to children, the department seems to be justifying its enforcement of an unconstitutional law instead of taking responsibility for wrongdoing. As The Advocate originally reported, the arrests were of men who agreed to engage in consensual sexual behavior in private without any exchange of money.
Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado did not appreciate the Sheriff’s Office’s explanation. He has demanded the department apologize to all of the men arrested in the sting, condemning the actions as “despicable, offensive, hateful, bigoted.” Pointing out that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” Delgado inquired of Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, “Does he know that slavery is no longer around? Does he know that we have cars and no longer horse and buggies?” He has filed a public records request to determine when the District Attorney’s Office informed the Sheriff’s Office that the arrested men had committed no crime.
The Sheriff’s Office says it will work with the state legislature to have the law repealed, but that is a technicality. Whether the law is on the books does not change the fact that the state Attorney General issued guidance that it was unenforceable back in 2003 after Lawrence v. Texas was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Update
The Sheriff’s Office has deleted the statement quoted above. A new statement that has been posted that finally says the department will no longer try to enforce the law:
The Sheriff’s office apologizes that the way these investigations were handled made it appear that we were targeting the gay community. That was not our intent. The Sheriff’s Office also apologizes to anyone that was unintentionally harmed or offended by the actions of our investigations. While sections of La. R.S. 14:89, Crimes Against Nature, have not been removed from the Louisiana law code, they have been deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional. The Sheriff’s Office will not use these unconstitutional sections of the law in future cases. We are committed to working with all branches of our government, as well as the LGBT community, to find acceptable ways to keep our community safe.
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Entrapment Operations in San Antonio Parks: a new collection donated by San Antonio activist Michael McGowan

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“I am primarily concerned with this grieving family in my parish, with the fact that we have lost such a wonderful man, and the news media played such an important part in driving him to suicide. There is no question but that his learning that his name had been published was the direct cause of his jumping off a bridge. . . .I also would say very strongly that a society that pays its policemen to spend hours on their haunches or lying prostrate on the top of a building peering through a hole to spy on men is a very sick society.”[1] This excerpt from an anonymous letter that appeared in a 1966 issue of Christianity and Crisis  captured the devastation exacted on men who were caught having sex in public restrooms and had their names published in the newspaper after being arrested. Sting operations by law enforcement officials against homosexuals in public places were nothing new. In San Antonio, police had been ferreting out gay cruisers in Travis Park–located in the heart of the city–since the 1940s.[2] But were undercover operations and demonization of those caught in the web of such actions indicative only of the era that predated Stonewall in which homosexual harassment was part and parcel of urban life?
Marquise July 1994
Marquise July 1994, UTSA Libraries Special Collections GLBTQ publications digital collection
Sadly, such tragedies did not cease in the wake of gay liberation. In 1994, a San Antonio man named Benny Hogan, met a similar fate. On May 19, 1994 Hogan was enticed by an undercover police officer into allegedly exposing himself in a secluded area of McAllister park in suburban San Antonio. The officer arrested him on charges of indecent exposure. On June 2, the San Antonio Express-News released Hogan’s name along with the names of men who were arrested for public lewdness or indecent exposure. The names of other offenders who had been charged with offenses such as disorderly conduct, possession of illegal substances, or speeding were not on the list. The Express-News chose to make an example of “homosexuals.” Any man trapped in the net of police stings in the city’s parks was branded a sexual deviant and publicly exposed on the pages of the newspaper.
The day his name was listed in the paper, Hogan was fired from his job at USAA. During the next two days, Hogan moved down the road toward ending his life; He called his mother and close friends, paid off all his bills, and arranged for the adoption of his dogs. On June 5, Benny Hogan hung himself in his garage. Ted Switzer, managing editor of the Marquise, one of San Antonio’s LGBTQ publications of the 1990s, expressed the gay community’s outrage at the tragedy:  “While 12,000 of us were together at the Gay Pride Picnic celebrating the social and political gains of the 25 years since Stonewall, Benny Hogan, closeted and all alone, killed himself. Hogan was the victim of the San Antonio Exprerss-News  selective policy of publishing articles about ‘park stings’ . . . and printing the names of those arrested.[3]
The tragic death of Benny Hogan did not halt police and park ranger stings in San Antonio parks. Nor did it alter the Express-News’ policy of naming names of those arrested for lewd behavior. Acting on citizen complaints, San Antonio law enforcement agents continued undercover operations with the blessing of city officials and by the late 1990s, hundreds of men had been entrapped, booked, hauled off to jail, their names revealed, their secrets exposed.
The Entrapment Operations in San Antonio Parks Collection donated by former LGBT activist Michael McGowan chronicles this chapter in San Antonio’s history. McGowan assembled the materials while serving on the board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center San Antonio during the late 1990s through the early 2000s. Highlights of the collection include San Antonio park ranger incident reports for scores of men arrested during entrapment operations. Internal memoranda from the San Antonio Police Department, the mayor’s office, and local officials cover park ranger training, citizen complaints about illicit activities in San Antonio parks, and efforts to stop these activities. Also included are court records from individual cases that received assistance from the Liberty Legal Defense Fund founded by the  Gay and Lesbian Community Center San Antonio. The collection has been arranged into the following series:  correspondence, court records, Liberty Legal Defense Fund, San Antonio Police department records, news clippings, and assorted materials. Many items in the collection are available digitally and can be accessed by selecting “view contents” links in the finding aid.
Sexual Activity in McAllister Park memorandum, June 2, 1995
Sexual Activity in McAllister Park memorandum, June 2, 1995
Letter to Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Susan Reed from Michael McGowan
Letter to Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Susan Reed from Michael McGowan, undated
The Entrapment Operations in San Antonio Parks Collection is housed on UTSA’s main campus and can be viewed at the Special Collections reading room in the John Peace Library by requesting access to the collection.
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[1] “Excerpt from an anonymous letter in the ‘Correspondence’ column of Christianity and Crisis,” inTearoom Trade by Laud Humphreys (Aldine Transaction:  New Brunswick and London, 1970), 81.
[2] Melissa Gohlke, Out in the Alamo City:  Revealing San Antonio’s Gay and Lesbian Past, World II to the 1990s, (Master’s thesis, the University of Texas at San Antonio, 2012), 27-28.
[3]Ted Switzer, “Does the Express-News Have Blood on Its Hands?,” the Marquise, July 1994, 12-13.

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South Carolina county sheriffs warned over illegal entrapment of gay men

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South Carolina’s Greenville Country Sheriff’s Office has been criticized for entrapping and then arresting gay men and others for behaviors which are not illegal.
The American Civil Liberties Union found multiple cases where undercover sheriffs had sought to entrap people into engaging in illegal sexual activity including sex in public and prostitution, but then arrested then anyway when this failed.
Undercover Greenville county officers approached people parked in their cars, sitting on their own porches or simply walking down the street and asked them to engage in illegal sexual activities, but then arrested them when they either declined or suggested engaging in legal private sexual acts instead.
The arrests were part of a series of sting operations targeting sex workers and men who have sex with men.
Officers arrested people for simply being in places known to be frequented by sex workers, for being ‘known prostitutes’ or for merely saying they’d ‘think about it’ when asked to have sex for money or in public.
One officer arrested a gay man for touching him after the officer had asked him for oral sex.
Another woman was charged with assault and battery after she touched the thigh of an officer who had picked her up in his car and then offered to pay her for sex despite indicating her she would rather have sex for free in a private location.
‘The people who have been arrested in these stings are being humiliated and harassed for no lawful reason,’ said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project.
‘Innocent people should not be trapped for engaging in their legal right to ask to have sex in private with another adult. These sorts of decoy operations are an expensive and wasteful use of taxpayer dollars, and they are far less effective than other law enforcement tools in stopping actual illegal activities from occurring.’
‘Consenting adults should not be arrested for acts that don’t break any laws,’ said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina.
‘These sting operations enable officers to make as many arrests as possible, while they do nothing to stop actual criminal activity from occurring.’
The ACLU have written to both the Greenville Country Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina state solicitor’s office to deplore the tactics.
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NYC Settles With Victim Of False Arrest In Massive Gay Entrapment Operation / Queerty

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Robert Pinter in 2009. Photo by Vadim Shepel.
Robert Pinter in 2009. Photo by Vadim Shepel.
The City of New York has paid a whopping $450,000 settlement in a fedral civil rights lawsuit this week, filed by a gay man who claimed he was falsely arrested for prostitution back in 2008 when an undercover vice officer offered him money for sex in an East Village porn shop.
According to East Village News, at least 41 men were arrested for prostitution in six different Manhattan porn shops in 2008 and 2009, most likely a remnant effect of the Giuliani administration’s promise to crack down on illegal sex shops in the city. According to the settled suit, filed by 58-year-old Robert Pinter, a number of them could have been falsely arrested as a result of “entrapment.”
According to Pinter, he was arrested in 2008 for prostitution despite ever having exchanged money or accepting money for sexual acts, a necessary smoking gun for any prostitution conviction. He reportedly “agreed to consensual sex” with an undercover NYPD officer in Blue Door Video, an adult store on First Ave.
According to reports, the two men left the shop together with the understanding that they would have sex, and that’s when the undercover officer “offered to pay for the sex.” Pinter said he was “caught off guard” by the offer and before he could rebuff, he was arrested.
Several others came forward in an interview with Gay City News in 2009, claiming they had beenfalsely arrested in similar fashion. The city paid out settlements to at least four other men in similar cases.
In 2013, NYC’s six openly gay and lesbian city council members posted an open letter urging the city to settle Pinter’s lawsuit because it “involves insidious entrapment of a gay man.” They concluded that “such policing tactics, especially when a gay man is involved, bring up very painful memories of an oppressive time in this country when such actions were even more widespread.”
So this is what the NYPD must be doing instead of catching actual gay-bashers.
Did this Queerty post crush it?

 
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GAY SA YOUTH ABUSED IN RUSSIA

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Mon, 4 November 2013
Russian homophobia may have claimed a South African victim. It’s been reported that a young South African man has been targeted by brutal anti-gay Russian thugs.
According to Buzzfeed, the 20-year-old student was lured by a homophobic group in the city of Belgorod with the promise of meeting up with a 15-year-old boy. The group claims this was for a sexual liaison.
While Buzzfeed has identified the young man, Mambaonline has chosen not to include his name in our report or include a link to the video to protect his privacy.
In the appalling video, the thugs are seen taunting and humiliating the student who appears both fearful and confused.
They force him to strip, simulate oral sex on a beer bottle and say racist slurs. They also slap him, make him kiss a watermelon, then smash it into his face, and shave his hair.
Reports say the victim filed a complaint with Belgorod State University, where it is believed he was studying, but instead of being supported by the institution, he was expelled.
The video was posted onto the Russian social media website <a href="http://VK.com" rel="nofollow">VK.com</a> by a group called Occupy Paedophilia.
This network of anti-gay thugs has been implicated in numerous “sting” operations in which young gay people are filmed being abused and humiliated. The videos are then posted online.
Founded by neo-Nazi Maksim Martsinkevich, the group does not distinguish between paedophilia and homosexuality.
The growth of the phenomenon has coincided with increasing official state oppression of LGBT people in Russia.
The country recently banned any public displays of homosexuality or publicly expressing support for LGBT rights. There are also efforts by legislators to pass a law to take away children from gay or lesbian parents.
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Russia's new neo-Nazi sport: terrorizing gay youth online

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The videos can be difficult to watch, but for Alexei, they were fascinating. "It’s entertainment to me," the 20-year-old said in an interview with The Verge. "It’s about seeing the emotions."
"It's entertainment to me. It's about seeing the emotions."
Alexei has never been directly involved with any of the videos, though he supports the people who produce them — a loose collective of neo-Nazis and Russian nationalists known as "Occupy Pedofilyay" (Occupy Pedophilia). Both Occupy Pedofilyay and its smaller sister movement, "Occupy Gerontilyaj" (Occupy Gerontophilia), have garnered a substantial following on Russian social media over the past year, spawning hundreds of fan pages and dedicated satellite groups on VKontakte (VK) — Russia’s Facebook equivalent. Both are modeled on the same form of vigilante justice, and they target different sides of the same coin; Occupy Pedofilyay aims to catch pedophiles, while Gerontilyaj focuses on teenage boys who agree to have sex with older men, allegedly in exchange for money. Neither movement is explicitly anti-gay, though there are strong undercurrents of homophobia to each; thus far, only gay men and boys have been targeted.
People who belong to these groups say they serve a greater good by publicly humiliating alleged pedophiles, based on the pretext that their videos will deter others from engaging in similar behavior: pursue sex with a boy, and the entire world will watch you drink urine on camera. But opponents describe their tactics as crude, violent, and reckless. And in light of President Vladimir Putin’s recentcrackdown on gay rights, some worry that the movements will only gain momentum going forward — fanning the flames of hate and bigotry as the Kremlin looks to shore up support among its conservative base.
"Being outed in a small city or village in Russia very often means death," says Larry Poltavtsev of the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group for gay rights in Eastern Europe. "Exposed teenagers may commit suicide, or they’ll be harassed by your peers, their parents may kick them out of their house. It’s a nightmare."
Late last month, Poltavtsev published a disturbing video of a 15-year-old boy being interrogated by an Occupy Gerontilyaj contingent. For 20 minutes, the group of teenagers mock and lecture the boy, forcing him to admit that he came there to prostitute himself and making him repeat his full name on camera. They chastise him not only for agreeing to have sex for money, but for claiming to be bisexual, as well. The entire scene is framed like a mean-spirited intervention, as the teens urge the boy to change his ways while simultaneously hurling insults at him. The video comes to an abrupt end once the gang begins kicking him, after having already doused his head in what they claim to be urine. ("This will cure you of homosexuality," one says.)
"Being outed in a small city or village in Russia very often means death."
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Maxim Martsinkevich (Instagram)
At one point in the video, the teens force the boy to praise Maxim "Slasher" Martsinkevich — a 29-year-old former skinhead who created the Occupy Pedofilyay movement in 2012. Musclebound and mohawked, Martsinkevich recently served a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for staging and filming a fake execution of a Central Asian drug dealer in 2009. In the video, he and his neo-Nazi cohorts were shown dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes as they pretended to hang and dismember the purported drug dealer. A Russian court found him guilty of provoking ethnic hate crimes.
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Party Occupy Pedofilyay
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Veronika Makarova
Upon his release, Martsinkevich created Restrukt ("Restructuring") — a vaguely defined "social movement" with distinctly nationalist overtones. Its manifesto calls for the creation of a "fundamentally new union of Russian people," in the hopes of reversing the country’s "degradation."
The group is strictly anti-drug and alcohol, and places a curious emphasis on exercise and bodybuilding. Martsinkevich regularly posts bare-chested pictures of himself on VK and Instagram, and promotes himself as a sports nutritionist and fitness guru. Swastikas and protein powder figure prominently in his online persona, and many of his followers describe him as a sort of moral leader.
Restrukt representatives insist that Martsinkevich is no longer personally involved in politics, though the organization allies itself with Russia’s National-Socialist Party — a neo-Nazi group that garnered international notoriety in 2007, when it decapitated an ethnic minority on video. Prior to his arrest, Martsinkevich led Format18, a neo-Nazi collective that spread anti-immigrant vitriol and violent videos across the web.
Anzhey Kmitits, one of Martsinkevich’s "comrades" at Restrukt, says the organization has grown rapidly in recent months. He claims to have established 10 regional offices across Russia, estimating that there are more than 500 activists currently engaged in its ongoing "social projects" — including Occupy Pedofilyay.
"Pedophilia, in our understanding, is an important indicator of the state of society — its flaws and weaknesses," Kmitits said in a translated VK message to The Verge. "We strive to help the public become better and stronger, to assume some of the functions of the state, which itself is neither willing nor able to deal with such problems."
There are hundreds of active VK groups devoted to Occupy Pedofilyay or Gerontifilyay. The largest has more than 75,000 followers, and 20 other groups have more than 1,000. Their common symbol is a bent thumbs-up sign, modeled after the Facebook "like" icon, though Kmitis says it has no special significance.
Martsinkevich’s well-manicured persona has inspired a legion of young cult followers to follow in his footsteps. Occupy Gerontifilyay was started in 2012 by Philip Dyonits, a 16-year-old Slasher protege who used to lure alleged pedophiles with fake dating profiles before breaking off to launch his own group.
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Philip Dyonits
Occupy Peodfilyay’s regional affiliate groups are guided by Martsinkevich’s basic ideology — he regularly publishes stylized videos and holds regional seminars — though they operate in different ways. Some clearly resort to physical violence during sting operations (or "safaris," as they’re called) while others take a more hands-off approach. Dmitry Mikolenko, founder of the Occupy Pedofilyay movement in Kiev, Ukraine, says he doesn’t think violence is "meaningful," adding that moral abuse is more effective than physical aggression. He acknowledges, however, that his group frequently douses its "live bait" with urine.
The groups also differ in their respective philosophies on law enforcement. Mikolenko says he has no intention of cooperating with local police, alleging that authorities in Kiev are intent on "protecting pedophiles." But Kmitits and others say they’re on good terms with the police, with some claiming that they closely coordinate their operations.
"They know us," says Alexander Mikheev, leader of the Occupy Pedofilyay movement in the Russian city of Irkutsk. "We work closely with them, and if we have solid evidence, we call the police and give [the suspect] over."
The extent to which Martsinkevich dictates Occupy Pedofilyay’s agenda remains unclear. Kmitits says his colleague is in charge of the movement’s Moscow headquarters, and that the various satellite branches are "semi-autonomous." It is clear, though, that his persona and notoriety have garnered a broader cult following. Both Mikheev and Mikolenko say they’ve never met Martsinkevich in person, and started their respective branches after learning of the movement online.
Critics say anti-gay Movements "trample on human dignity."
Some VK users are calling upon the police to arrest Occupy’s leaders, on the grounds that their intimidation and physical aggression violate Russian law. Karina Frangulyan started an anti-Occupy Gerontifilyay group on VK last month, in the hopes of bringing down a movement that, as she says, regularly "tramples on human dignity." Frangulyan has collected around 15 videos from Occupy Gerontifilyay and is hoping to present them as evidence against its leaders, though she says that police have ignored many previous complaints. As of August 3rd, Frangulyan’s group had nearly 900 members, while two similar pages had close to 1,000, in total.
Although Frangulyan and her peers are explicitly targeting Occupy Gerontifilyay, they find its larger sister movement equally despicable, and have filed complaints against both to VK moderators. In an email statement to The Verge, a VK spokesperson says the site has shut down all groups related to Occupy Gerontifilyay, in addition to several Occupy Pedofilyay pages that were found to contain "insults, incitements to violence, or spam." It appears that VK has indeed shuttered all of Occupy Gerontifilyay’s pages, though critics say the site hasn’t gone far enough, pointing to the slew of safari videos, images, and Occupy Pedofilyay groups that remain online.
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LiveLeak.com - Russia: Gay Men Beaten on Camera

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Russia: Gay Men Beaten on Camera
 Part of channel(s): Sochi 2014 Olympics (current event)
A new video from Human Rights Watch released before the official start of the Olympics in Sochi details the extent of violence facing LGBT people in Russia.

Passage of the “homosexual propaganda” ban and anti-gay statements by leading public figures appear to have fed growing anti-gay violence in Russia in recent months. These include multipleassaults on one of Moscow’s most popular gay clubs;sting operations by organizations like Occupy Pedophilia, where gay men are abducted and humiliated in online videos; and an attack on a social gathering at an HIV services organization in St. Petersburg.

Original Article: http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/02/03/russia-sochi-games-highlight-homophobic-violence
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The War Against Gays In Russia'

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Top News
TV Review: 'Hunted: The War Against Gays In Russia'
Fri, Oct 03 18:41 PM EDT
By Brian Lowry
LOS ANGELES (Variety) - Deeply disturbing, HBO's "Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia" documents elaborate harassment campaigns conducted by vigilante groups, with one member proudly calling his country "Hell for homosexuals." Stoked by a mix of ignorance and religion, director Ben Steele's film goes beyond Russia's controversial anti-gay "propaganda" law to expose grass-roots violence creating a "climate of fear" toward which authorities appear at best indifferent. Homophobia obviously isn't confined to Russia, but the extent of that hostility, and these efforts to harm and humiliate gays, are captured with unflinching candor.
Steele's crew spent time with members of different anti-gay groups, gaining enough of their confidence to be allowed to film their activities. Some perform what amount to sting operations, seeking to lure gays online to what victims think are sexual encounters, only to physically and emotionally abuse them, then post the videos to out and humiliate them. Stunningly, the perpetrators are so proud of their efforts, they grant producers access to one of these assaults, before rethinking the idea and trying to block the cameras.
The brutality of these attacks is clear, but if that weren't enough, a bomb threat is phoned in to a theater hosting a gay film festival, and the zealots talk openly about - and even distribute literature - encouraging gays to commit suicide. Moreover, such antipathy is endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church, which condemns homosexuality.
Most gays interviewed, meanwhile, insist on anonymity, living closeted lives due to concerns about losing their jobs or having their children taken away if they're exposed.
Narrated by Matt Bomer (who recently co-starred in HBO's "The Normal Heart"), "Hunted" doesn't offer any rays of hope or notes of comfort. The film merely places its lens on a situation that, for those enduring it, must feel like a dystopian nightmare, and for those watching it, provides yet another disheartening glimpse of cruelty masquerading as righteousness.
  



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The War Against Gays In Russia' Examines Nation's Climate Of Fear For LGBT Community

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By Brian Lowry
LOS ANGELES (Variety) - Deeply disturbing, HBO's "Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia" documents elaborate harassment campaigns conducted by vigilante groups, with one member proudly calling his country "Hell for homosexuals." Stoked by a mix of ignorance and religion, director Ben Steele's film goes beyond Russia's controversial anti-gay "propaganda" law to expose grass-roots violence creating a "climate of fear" toward which authorities appear at best indifferent. Homophobia obviously isn't confined to Russia, but the extent of that hostility, and these efforts to harm and humiliate gays, are captured with unflinching candor.
Steele's crew spent time with members of different anti-gay groups, gaining enough of their confidence to be allowed to film their activities. Some perform what amount to sting operations, seeking to lure gays online to what victims think are sexual encounters, only to physically and emotionally abuse them, then post the videos to out and humiliate them. Stunningly, the perpetrators are so proud of their efforts, they grant producers access to one of these assaults, before rethinking the idea and trying to block the cameras.
The brutality of these attacks is clear, but if that weren't enough, a bomb threat is phoned in to a theater hosting a gay film festival, and the zealots talk openly about - and even distribute literature - encouraging gays to commit suicide. Moreover, such antipathy is endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church, which condemns homosexuality.
Most gays interviewed, meanwhile, insist on anonymity, living closeted lives due to concerns about losing their jobs or having their children taken away if they're exposed.
Narrated by Matt Bomer (who recently co-starred in HBO's "The Normal Heart"), "Hunted" doesn't offer any rays of hope or notes of comfort. The film merely places its lens on a situation that, for those enduring it, must feel like a dystopian nightmare, and for those watching it, provides yet another disheartening glimpse of cruelty masquerading as righteousness.
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Page 7

St. Petersburg Gang Extorts Thousands in Fake Pedophile Sting Operations, Report Says | News

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A gang in St. Petersburg posing as police officers has extorted thousands of dollars from men looking to have sex with boys after setting up meetings using fake social media accounts, a news report said Tuesday.
The gang members used fake identification, handcuffs and forged police letterhead in addition to creating a fake news report about one of their members being granted an award by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for the fight against pedophilia, Fontanka.ru reported.
The gang is led by a man named Roma who has previously served jail time for fraud, the report said.
In the last year the gang has reportedly monetized 30 "sting" operations against potential pedophiles, a tactic which became infamous after the harassment tactics of the anti-gay vigilante group Occupy Pedophilia were widely reported in the media.
Unlike Occupy Pedophilia, which has published videos of its members forcing the gay men they hope to "cure" to drink urine, the St. Petersburg group appears to be mostly interested in money. After hinting that the incident could come to the attention of the press and lawmakers like conservative St. Petersburg deputy Vitaly Milonov, the fake plain clothes police take cash worth $1,000 to $30,000 from their victims in exchanging for "not opening a criminal case."
The report said that the gang members are confident that none of the videos' victims will complain to the police, even if they find out that their assailants weren't real police officers.

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