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Legal Cases and Crimes

Some legal cases, crimes, and arrests involving consensuality, homosexuality, and sadomasochism listed in chronological order.

In a warehouse during a thunderstorm at night, a woman dressed in black leather holds armed policemen at bay with a large plastic spatula.  Painted in the style of cover art for a true crime magazine.

One, Inc. v. Olesen | Los Angeles | 1958

  • One, Inc. v. Olesen (9th Cir.) (1957) by Susan Gluck Mezey
    In One, Inc. v. Olesen, 241 F.2d 772 (9th Cir. 1957), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a magazine published for a homosexual audience was obscene and was therefore not constitutionally protected under the First Amendment rights of free speech and press. .... The next year, in One, Inc. v. Olesen (1958), the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court opinion, merely citing its ruling in Roth as the reason for its decision.

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LAPD's Slave Auction Raid | Los Angles, CA | 1976

On April 10, 1976, the Los Angeles Police Department raided a "Slave Auction" held as a fundraiser at the Mark IV baths. Even though the actities were strictly consensual, the L.A.P.D. arrested forty participants and charged them with breaking a law enacted in 1899 banning “white slavery.”

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Police Return Victim to his Eventual Killer | Milwaukee, WI | 1991

On May 27, 1991 in Milwaukee, WI, Jeffery Dahmer lured 14 year old Konerak Sinthasomphone to his apartment with the promise of money. Once there, Dahmer drugged Sinthasomphone and drilled a hole in his head with a power drill. After realizing he was out of beer, Dahmer left for a store to get more, after which Sinthasomphone escaped and was seen by neighbors who called the police.

When Dahmer returned, the police and his neighbors were waiting. Dahmer calmly explained to the officers that the naked, bleeding, incoherant boy was actually his 19-year-old lover. The officers did not perform a records check on Dahmer. Had they done so they would have discovered his criminal record. Neither did they verify the age, name and address of his "homosexual lover," or get a medical assessment of the victim’s physical condition. Despite the protests of Dahmer's concerned neighbors, the police officers accepted Dahmer's simplistic explanation that is was just a gay lovers spat and escorted Dahmer and his victim back into his apartment. Shortly after the police left, Sinthasomphone became Dahmer's twelth murder victim.

Four more men would die before Dahmer was finally caught.

While we don't want people arrested for safe, sane, and consensual sadomasochism, it's as important that law enforcement investigate all reports of abuse, domestic violence, sexually assault, and human trafficking thoroughly and free from bias. A little healthy suspicion has its place. It's better for police to ask tough questions and satisfy reasonable suspicions than let the bad actors continue to victimize the innocent.

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David and Diane James | Seguin, TX | 1997

David and Diane James were members of the Austin and San Antonio BDSM communities in the 1990s.

  • Arrests Involving Texas Concealed Handgun License Holders and License to Kill IV
    On April 28, 1997 concealed handgun license holder Diane James was arrested by Seguin, Texas police in the aggravated kidnapping of a young woman. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Diane James and her husband David abducted a San Antonio woman in her 30s off the street as she walked home. According to police reports the woman was assaulted with a stun gun, pulled into the James' van, and then taken to their home where she was kept naked and in chains. The woman reportedly told police that David James told her she was going to be "trained" as a sex slave. The woman escaped the next morning and ran to a neighbor's home. David James—armed with an AR-15 assault rifle—followed the woman to the neighbor's home. When the police arrived at the scene a shootout ensued in which David James was killed. Diane James was convicted of aggravated kidnapping on November 21, 1997 and was sentenced to 15 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Penitentiary.
  • Woman denies role in sex slave case November 20, 1997
    The alleged victim told the jury Wednesday she was kidnapped off the streets of nearby San Antonio in April and held as a sex slave in the James home, where she was stripped naked and chained in a leather harness. Diane James' husband, David, died in a shootout with law officers about 24 hours after the alleged sex slave tried to flee. Police say he was chasing her with a gun when he was fatally shot by deputies. During her testimony today, James said the woman was drunk and had nowhere to go the day they picked her up in San Antonio. James said: 'She couldn't wait to get into our van. She asked if we wanted to party.' James said their house was never locked, and the woman was always within easy reach of one of five phones in the house if she wanted to call for help. James said, 'The only thing she complained about was that her chains were too tight.' She testified she had driven to San Antonio to buy 'new chains and padlocks' when her husband was killed. She said when she returned to find an ambulance in front of their home, she feared he was inside.

Being part of the local BDSM community does not ensure someone practices safe, sane, and consensual BDSM.

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Lawrence v. Texas | Houston, TX | 1998-2003

  • Texas Court Strikes Down Anti-Gay Sodomy Law Supported by Gov. Bush
    In 1998, the Houston police arrested two men for having sex in the privacy of their own home. .... Justices on the Courts of Appeals in Texas are elected by voters in the state, and the three justice panel hearing this appeal ruled that the Texas sodomy law 'violates the Texas Equal Rights Amendment’s guarantee of equality under the law' by making the same behavior criminal 'for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of the individuals who engage in the behavior.' The Texas sodomy law criminalizes private consensual sexual activity between same-sex adult couples.
  • Lawrence v. Texas on the Lamda Legal web site.
    The Supreme Court declared all sodomy laws unconstitutional, putting an end to the sodomy laws that remained on the books in 13 states at the time of the ruling, including laws that criminalized only same-sexual conduct and laws that criminalized oral and anal sex irrespective of the sex of the participants.
  • ACLU History: Lawrence V. Texas: A Watershed for Gay Rights

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The People vs. Oliver Jovanovic | NYC | 1999

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The Spanner Case (R vs Brown) | UK | 1999

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Club X Raid and the San Diego Six | San Deigo, CA | 1999 - 2000

  • The San Diego Six (madoc.us)
  • Full text of "Bay Area Reporter, Volume 30, Number 6, 10 February 2000"
  • Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures edited by Peggy J. Kleinplatz, Charles Moser. Routledge; 1st edition (August 9, 2006)
  • Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality By Margot Weiss. Duke University Press Books (December 20, 2011.) page 93
  • From the Leather History Timeline: 2000, Feb. 1: The city attorney of San Diego drops all charges against the remaining five plaintiffs in the Club X play party raid.

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"Paddleboro" | Attleboro, MA | 2001

  • S&M club broken up in Attleboro By Stu Skerker and David Linton. Mar 28, 2001.
    Police broke up a large sadomasochistic sex party at a downtown building this weekend, arresting two people. Investigators said a New Hampshire man charged $25 admission to the participants and was thought to have recruited customers over the Internet.
  • S&M party raid tagged Attleboro by David Linton
    A woman at the party ... was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon for allegedly spanking another woman on the buttocks with a wooden spatula. Although the act was consensual, prosecutors say state law prevents a person from consenting to be assaulted.
  • Assault On Common Sense an editorial in the July 27 - August 3, 2000 issue of the Boston Phoenix.
    The Attleboro S&M Bust Is An Outrageous Instance of police misconduct compounded by prosecutorial abuse. In a small sense, the outrageous recent police raid on a sadomasochistic party in Attleboro is evidence of progress: media reports have focused not just on the details of the case, but also on the terrible judgment shown by law-enforcement officials for pressing criminal charges in response to activities engaged in by consenting adults.

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The Pikeville Notarized "Sex-Slave" Contract | Pikeville, KY | 2002

A man and woman signed and notarized a five page 'sex-slave contract' they found on the internet "for fun" and then filed by it "by mistake" at a courthouse. It called for the woman to "use her body for free or for money" The contract did not have legal standing, even with the notary seal. Not surprisingly, the couple was arrested by police on misdemeanor charges of prostitution and criminal solicitation.

There's a lesson here.

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People v. John Z. | California | 2003

  • California Supreme Court says rape begins when woman says stop By DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer. (01-06) 16:19 PST SAN FRANCISCO (AP). SFGate.com
    "The California Supreme Court defined an act of rape Monday as continued penetration by a man after a consenting woman demands that the intercourse stop. The 7-0 decision clarifies almost 18 years of conflicting California precedent. In 1985, a state appeals court ruled that such circumstances were not rape, which carries a maximum eight-year prison term for each count. "A withdrawal of consent effectively nullifies any earlier consent and subjects the male to forcible rape charges if he persists in what has become nonconsensual intercourse," Justice Ming Chin wrote for the majority. .... Justice Janice Rogers Brown, while agreeing with the majority on what constitutes rape, dissented on whether the boy was guilty of it. She said that the boy may have had an honest and reasonable belief that the girl did not waive consent during sex, a defense to rape that California's courts have recognized since 1992. Brown wrote that the girl never clearly said stop. The girl testified that she told the boy that 'I should be going now' and 'I need to go home.' .... The case is People v. John Z., S103427."
  • Redefining what constitutes rape By Sara Foley. The Battalion. January 28, 2003
    "A California Supreme Court case ruled Jan. 6 that not only do women not have to say the word "no" for the case to be considered a rape, but they can say something as vague as, "I should go home." In addition, the case expands on the idea presented in similar cases in Maryland and North Carolina that once one partner expresses discontent, they must stop immediately, even when using such ambiguous terms. .... Women of all ages should know not to expect a man to be a mind reader, but by bringing the consent for sex to the point of what someone intended to say, instead of what she did say, does just that. The equivocal, "I have to go home," could be broadly interpreted in later cases, to the point where almost any utterance could be translated as a channel to charge someone with rape. "
  • Ruling Expands Scope of Rape BY MAURA DOLAN. JAN. 7, 2003 12 AM PT. Los Angles Times
  • Yes Means No: Troubling questions about rape and consent By Cathy Young, Reason contributing editor. Boston Globe. January 20, 2003
    "The California State Supreme Court's ruling that consent may be withdrawn during sex, and that a man is guilty of rape if he doesn't stop when "yes" changes to "no," has been hailed by some as a sign of progress and denounced by others as a sign of an anti-male witch hunt. .... My initial reaction to the story was that it smacked of political correctness run amok. According to news reports, the victim and the defendant, both 17, were having consensual sex in a bedroom during a party when the girl told the boy that she had to go home, though she never actually said "no" or "stop"; he stopped about a minute and a half later. ... The full details of the case, however, show it in a different light. For one, there were two boys involved. According to the girl, she repeatedly told them she wasn't ready to have sex, and protested when they took off her clothes and when the other defendant, Juan G., undressed. She testified that Juan G. forced himself on her despite her verbal and physical resistance but eventually stopped due to her struggling. The girl also said that when John Z. started having sex with her, she repeatedly tried to pull away and told him "if he really did care about [her], he wouldn't be doing this." In other words, the "consent" may have been dubious in the first place—though both boys initially insisted that all the activity was consensual. (Juan G. later pleaded guilty to sexual battery.) .... It's possible, after all, that the girl was willing but later felt guilty and ashamed, and was tempted to reinterpret the events to absolve herself of responsibility. Her own testimony suggests ambivalence rather than outright rejection. She did not try to leave the bedroom when they began to undress and fondle her, even though she wasn't restrained; she admitted that she enjoyed the fondling and that after Juan G. left she voluntarily lay down with John Z. and returned his kisses. Perhaps her protests were so half-hearted that the boys could have honestly misinterpreted them as coyness. All these ambiguities led the sole dissenter on the California Supreme Court, Justice Janice Rogers Brown, to say that there was not enough evidence of guilt in this case. Justice Brown, however, agreed with her colleagues that forced sex after consent has been granted and withdrawn is still rape. And on this point, the court rightly overturned the precedent of a 1985 appellate ruling which held that if a woman wants to stop and the man forces her to continue, the "violation of her womanhood" that constitutes the crime of rape is lacking. "

My take away: consent can be withdrawn.

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State v. Van | Wayne, Nebraska | 2004

J.G.C., an experienced slave living in Houston, TX, staged his own abduction and traveled Nebraska to enter into a "no limits" Master/slave relatitonship with Roger Van. J.G.C. wanted to be a "total slave" and had specifically written to Van that he might to escape, but that Van should never allow him to do so and should keep him restrained.

But after a few days of captivity and what was either play or torture, J.G.C. changed his mind and asked to be released. Van denied the request and threatened to kill J.G.C. if he continued to misbehave. J.G.C. then sought help from Jerry Marshall (another slave of Van who had been so far assisting his master in the training.) Van confided to Marshall that he might have to kill J.G.C. if he continued to resist.

Marshall helped J.G.C. escape. Both Van and Marshall (who had assisted J.G.C. in his escape) were arrested and convicted.

Hopefully, a pattern is emerging.

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Edward ("Master Ed") and Marilyn Bagley | Lebanon, MO. | 2012-2016

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Various Cuising Stings | Hollywood, FL | 2018

  • Men Arrested for Sex in 'Pleasure' Store Encounter Sympathetic Judge
    A judge has ruled that police shouldn’t have arrested men engaging in consensual sexual activity in private theaters at a Hollywood, Fla., adult-goods store that’s a popular gay cruising ground. Broward County Judge Ginger Lerner Wren ruled today that the viewing theaters at the Pleasure Emporium are not a public place under Florida law. South Florida Gay News reports. .... After the July raid, many media outlets in the area featured mug shots of those arrested, and one TV station listed all the arrestees’ names and hometowns, the Miami New Times reports. One man was fired from his job as a result.
  • Gay men arrested, outed after police cruising sting at Florida adult store
    An attorney for one of the thirteen men has accused police of running a cruising sting, and encouraging the men to commit sexual acts prior to arresting them. Attorney Abbie Cuellar told them.us that officers allowed the men to complete the sexual acts — which reportedly included masturbation and oral sex — and then leave the store before they were arrested. .... Cuellar’s client subsequently lost his job in a Broward County hospital after media, including the Miami Herald and local TV stations, reported the story with mugshots and full names. She claims he is now severely depressed.

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  • Arresting Behavior an article by Stephen H. Miller on November 30, 1999.
    Police stings routinely raid and entrap men engaged in consensual sexual activities on private property; sensational press coverage finishes the job of devastating the arrestees' lives.  Law enforcement agencies have no business pursuing indoor activity in private commercial establishments whose owners do not object to it; in other settings, they must at a minimum be prevented from engaging in entrapment and selective enforcement.
Lady Justice wearing a black leather collar and chains.

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Inside a huge gothic library, a handsome monk and a beautiful nun conduct research.