The summer heats up as pols and pastors get caught with their figurative pants down.
Milwaukee: Deacon exposes himself to undercover cop while cruising for homosex
Here we go again -- another moral leader of his religious community lands in the pokey for a lewd act. Jerome Pitchford, 48, a youth counselor and deacon of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ was caught in a police sting in a park known for cruising. (WISN):
Police said Pitchford apparently does not practice what he teaches in Sunday School. Police say after church at the Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ on Sunday afternoon, he was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious behavior at Milwaukee's Estabrook Park.
The criminal complaint says he was looking for sex with another man. He exposed himself, to what turned out to be an undercover police officer. "They initiate either by you know grabbing the officer, which is fourth-degree sexual assault or exposing themselves, which is lewd and lascivious behavior," said Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputy John Nelson.
One neighbor had this reaction, laying the groundwork for a "the devil got into me" defense: "I can't believe it, but I hope that he will get … a little therapy and get himself straightened out.” The video report is here.
Another tale from Maryland is below the fold. Maryland: mayor/minister charged with solicitation in DC
District Heights Mayor James L. Walls, an associate minister at a local church, has been charged with soliciting a male prostitute in DC this week.
The 30-year-old fast-rising black political star — he holds positions with nationwide civic groups and the local NAACP chapter, among others — has been charged with solicitation for lewd and immoral purposes after he allegedly attempted to pick up an undercover District officer who was posing as a male prostitute around 12:30 a.m. at Sixth and F streets NW, police said.
...In 2006, Walls became the youngest mayor in District Heights history and his term extends through 2010. He’s a young, single guy with a bright future, Thomas said. Walls, an ordained minister, is on the board of directors for the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, he founded the Maryland Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and he sits on a number of state and national commissions.
What's really disturbing is this reaction by his pastor (at Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church), Nathaniel Thomas, who is in denial:
“I’m shocked. This doesn’t fit with his character. ... I’m feeling this is a mistaken situation,” he said, adding that confusion could have come from Walls’ close work with “derelicts of the worst kind” and his joking personality.
So which part of this does Pastor Thomas feel is the mistake -- that Walls might be gay, or that he was soliciting a prostitute regardless of his orientation?
A commenter at my pad noted that this is yet another example of police stings targeting "gay cruising" areas, while heterosexual romps in public aren't the subject of focused attention. Of course I use scare quotes around "gay cruising" because the fact of the matter is, most of the men caught up in these stings are actually straight-identified. These are men with wives and children in the dark about their netherworld activities. Here's Major Darryl Tolleson of the Atlanta Police Department, who was interviewed on CNN in the wake of Sen. Larry Craig's bust for "toe tapping" cruising in the Minneapolis airport. Tolleson has performed a lot of stings and described the kind of folks his unit has busted, in this case public restrooms:
"The majority of these men, they have families...You would think that it would be a gay issue but overwhelmingly more and more, we're seeing that these are people with families."
So these stings in the end don''t target gay men -- these are closet case busts.