Main | Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Meatrack Sex Busts Rock Fire Island

Under the headline "Gay Men Arrested For Gay Sex On Gay Island", Radar Online's Choire Sicha reports that for the last two weekends police have made unprecedented arrests for public sex in Fire Island's famed Meatrack, the notoriously cruisy area between the towns of Cherry Grove and The Pines.
On the last two consecutive weekends, gay men on Fire Island have been arrested and charged with lewd conduct. These are the first known arrests for public sex on the federal land.

Few details are known—the National Park Service has not yet confirmed the arrests or said why they have now begun patrolling the land. On the weekend of Friday, June 13, at least one gay man was detained in the small wooded area popularly called The Meat Rack, which is both a cruising ground and also a thoroughfare between the two gay towns of Fire Island, Cherry Grove and The Pines. The following weekend, at least two were arrested.

In the first event, an eyewitness said he saw five or six rangers with a gay man (described as somewhat overweight and clad in khakis and a polo shirt) on his knees and in handcuffs. The men were searched after their arrests. In the other event, a man was stopped and "panicked and tried to get rid of the drugs," according to a second-hand report by one Cherry Grove resident; that man was either charged with possession or detained further and charged. The man arrested with him was given a citation for $125 for engaging in lewdness, that resident said.

This coming Saturday, June 28, one Cherry Grove resident is proposing—via posters around the towns—a day of action, what he is calling "a circle jerk for freedom" around the park service's (abandoned) building in the Meat Rack at the edge of the Pines.
Up on Cape Cod, park rangers are stepping up public sex citations (but apparently are not making arrests) around Provincetown.
The rangers have been trying to crack down by enforcing a federal misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, which prohibits obscene acts, the Cape Cod Times reported. Seashore rangers issued 132 citations for public sex acts last year, compared with about 70 annually from 2003 to 2006, and about 40 citations annually in prior years, Seashore acting chief ranger Craig Thatcher said.

A New Jersey family walking with children in the dunes wrote in a September 2007 letter that they encountered "several couples and then a large group of men having group sex in the nude, including oral and anal sex right out in the open," the park service said.

A whale-watch boat captain carrying a boatload of tourists also reported seeing 20 to 30 nude men "playing around" near Wood End Lighthouse, another letter from August 2007 reported. Provincetown has a large gay population and attracts large numbers of gay tourists, according to the Times. Rangers said they are working with Provincetown police and town officials to start a public education campaign aimed at discouraging the behavior.
According to Radar Online, it remains unclear which agency is making the Fire Island arrests.

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