La. Sheriff Accused of Targeting LGBT Community in Sting

By Chris Hoenig


A Baton Rouge, La., sheriff has apologized after 12 men were arrested in a sting operation that appeared to target the LGBT community using a law already declared unconstitutional.

The men were arrested at a local park after discussing or agreeing to have sex with undercover investigators, usually at a private residence nearby. Even though none of the agreements involved paying for sex, the deputies arrested the men, citing a two-centuries-old anti-sodomy law targeting same-gender couples—the type of ban the Supreme Court ruled illegal in 2003, exactly 10 years to the day before its rulings on DOMA and Prop 8.

The arrests came over a two-year period, with the most recent one on July 18. The men were quickly released on bond and the district attorney declined to bring charges or further prosecute any of the cases.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux posted the apology to the department’s Facebook page, though the page was deactivated soon after. It read: “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.”

In a statement to the local newspaper that broke the story, Gautreaux said he would push to have the unconstitutional law removed from the books, adding: “Our agency made mistakes. We will learn from them and we will take measures to ensure it does not happen again.”

Response to Gautreaux’s apology has been fast and sharp. The Facebook post reportedly drew dozens of comments before the page was taken down, many saying that the statement was nothing more than damage control. Baton Rouge City Councilman John Delgado is pushing for an ordinance to protect the LGBT community.

“The time for platitudes has passed,” Delgado said. “What we need to do is offer legal protection to not only people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but for race, religion and creed.” A nonbinding resolution “expressing tolerance” of everyone regardless of race, religion, orientation and nationality failed to pass the council in 2007.

Latest News

Southern Company Commits $700,000 To Advance Racial Equity and Social Justice for the AAPI Community

Originally published at southerncompany.mediaroom.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Southern Company Gas Charitable Foundation is announcing plans to donate $700,000 across its service territories to charities in support of improving equity and social justice. On the six-month…

Oak Park, Illinois

Illinois Professor Suspended, Charged with Hate Crime After Allegedly Spitting on Black Woman and Using Racial Slur

An Illinois professor has been suspended from his job and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly spat on and racially attacked a Black female driver in a suburban Chicago grocery store parking lot earlier this month. Antonio Planas of NBC News has reported that Alberto Friedmann, a professor…

Joaquin Castro

New Research Shows a Continued Lack of Hispanic and Latinx Representation in Movies, Media and Publishing

In a bit of disheartening news in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, a new government study has confirmed that Latinx individuals are vastly under-included and underrepresented in many parts of the media world. Astrid Galvan of the Associated Press reported on the study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office,…

Newberg, Oregon

Oregon School Employee Suspended for Showing Up to Work in Blackface To Protest State Vaccination Policies

Racial controversies continue to mount at the Newberg Public School system located in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. Last week, students in the district’s high school conducted a mock “slave auction” on social media in which they ridiculed fellow classmates and discussed how much they would or wouldn’t pay to…