Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Police Entrapment and Abuse-Moral Morass Exhibit Eight

Did you read the article about the topless woman that police used to lure “perverts?” This is a great time to examine attitudes about nudity, sex and the police. Here’s the crux of the story in Columbus, Ohio.

Apparently there were incidents of males engaging in public sexual activity.

…cops… were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park.

The police used a topless woman “sunbathing” to attract potential sexual law breakers. In Columbus,

While topless sunbathing is legal in the city's parks, exposing more than that is against the law.

The police video taped their topless agent, wearing what appear to be shorts, reclining on her back under a tree. Up walks a male and joins her. He sits at her feet and she smiles at him, engages him in conversation, allows him to sit at her feet while she moves about and puts her leg on his shoulder. Her action is flirtatious and allows him to see her clothed crotch. Of course, we don’t know if the shorts are tight or nor or whether she is wearing underwear. So far, so good. No problem yet. She is simply setting the stage to allow him the opportunity to commit a sexual crime. Then the woman asks the man to show her his penis (the crime.) He complies with the request and is arrested.

At the man’s trial,

…his attorney argued that it was a case of entrapment.
Under California law, the man was entrapped. In other words, the law enforcement agent, the topless woman, suggested the criminal act of displaying the penis in public. The assumption made is that the display of the penis, absent any sexual activity, is a violation of law. That is not necessarily a good assumption. We don’t know if he had an erection, or whether or not he masturbated. However, view the video, it does not appear that he does much of anything. Without the law enforcement suggestion to reveal the penis, the man may never have conceived of nor fulfilled the act. The fact that the Columbus police utilized a topless woman to snare the man is immaterial since her topless status was lawful.

The American people are having a difficult time determining the differences and intersections of nudity and sex. Columbus, Ohio, surprisingly recognizes that a woman bearing her breasts while sunbathing is not sexual behavior. Or, is it just an acceptable public sexual activity? The female breast, specifically the nipples and areola, are laced with nerves which play an important part in female sexual excitation. Of course, they also play an important part in nursing. Can we agree to a duality of function? Naturally the American male is sexually gaga over the female breast (you can also insert “body” for “breast”) and mostly views it in sexual terms. That’s why the Columbus police used the topless woman as bait. And, it’s also why the Columbus police may have assumed that the visiting male was intent on making a sexual contact with the woman. Most Americans would probably agree with that assessment. But, perhaps that was not the case. We don’t have an audio transcript to know what was said. It is possible that the woman represented herself as a nudist engaging in lawful non-sexual activity. She could have induced the male to expose himself in a nudist vein and he complied even though the mere public exposure of a penis is undoubtedly unlawful in Columbus. Police assumptions and zealousness could well have led to entrapment. Moral and legal problem number one.

I have personal knowledge of a California police department that arrested a man for walking down the street nude in the pre-dawn early morning hours. He was arrested for a California statute that prohibited nudity that is directly linked to a sexual excitation. In other words, mere nudity absent the sexual content is not unlawful. There was no evidence that the California man was sexually excited.

A violation of the California law is a misdemeanor, which for an arrest requires the police to view the violation or a citizen must view the violation and be willing to make a citizen’s arrest. Here’s the problem with this case. The police found the man fully clothed and there was no citizen witness to come forward. Nevertheless, a concerned motorist had called in the incident and the police made the unlawful arrest. And, the arresting officer did so with the approval of his supervisor, who was not the least bit concerned with the unlawfulness of the arrest. Moral and legal problem number two.

In this age of modernity, I think that the confusion of nudity and sex is getting worse, not better. At the local YMCA yesterday, I saw four teenage males wearing underwear under their knee length swimsuits. And in the locker room, they individually took refuge in an enclosed shower stall to remove the wet items and put on dry clothing. What the hell have we done to our young males?

Link in this Blog:
Topless Woman Lured Perverts in Police Sting

Update: ABC News has taken down the story. Here is a link referencing the story: