The Larry Craig story, arising as it did in isolation, sounded almost silly, what with all the foot tapping and shuffling. It turns out, though, that there’s nothing silly about it, and it was such a problem for one local business that it called in the police:
Seven men ranging from 32 to 80 years old were cited in an undercover sting operation targeting sexual solicitation in a restroom at a San Rafael hotel, police said.
The two-day sting – similar to the recent police operation that ensnared U.S. Sen. Larry Craig in June in an airport restroom – was conducted at the request of the Embassy Suites on McInnis Parkway, said San Rafael police Sgt. Dan Fink.
The hotel sought police action after noticing an increase in men around the ground-floor restrooms over the past several months, Fink said. The hotel management suspected that men were meeting there for sex, and investigators found Internet postings that seemed to offer confirmation.
“Just bring it now early morning you know where and what, or after 5 pm today,” someone wrote in a craigs list posting titled, “E suites rigth now – 28 (san rafael).”
Police sent undercover detectives into men’s room stalls from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The detectives were solicited for sex three times Wednesday and four times Thursday either through spoken propositions or signals such as foot-tapping and throat-clearing.
“We had two situations where the suspects would actually put their heads underneath the wall to communicate with the officer,” Fink said.
The seven men were released pending court hearings. They include two San Rafael residents, one 36 years old and the other 45; a 42-year-old Novato resident; an 80-year-old Tiburon resident; a 39-year-old Guerneville resident; a 52-year-old Rohnert Park resident; and a 32-year-old San Pablo resident.
Fink said the men were cooperative with police. One said he was married, while others were wearing wedding bands.
“Everybody’s story was that they had a legitimate reason to be in San Rafael,” he said. “Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. It was a nonstop flow.”
News of the bust was posted to Craigslist within hours of the first round of citations.
I consider myself a libertarian when it comes to private sexual activity. I am not, however, a libertarian when it comes to sex in public places, and a men’s bathroom is a public place. I have on many occasions been out with the children and had to send my 8 year old son alone into a public men’s room. I’ve always been worried about kidnapping or assault; apparently I now have something new to be worried about.