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Lawyer expresses disdain for Jody’s advice
The Aug. 20 “Dear Jody” column from “The Victim’s Victim,” who was upset over his partner “Dan” being caught in a police “sex sting,” elicited many responses from readers. Here are a few:
Reader No. 1: I was disappointed with your reply to “The Victim’s Victim.” The writer reported that his partner of 10 years, Dan, was caught in a police sex sting. He complained that he was not getting enough sympathy from his partner and friends. He also complained that he felt betrayed and humiliated.
You accused Dan of being “either an incredibly narcissistic person or he’s playing the game of diverting all the pain to himself, hoping you won’t notice what he has done to your relationship.” This is a surprisingly homophobic response. You seem to be blaming Dan rather than illegal and unconstitutional police activity.
Both you and the partner assume that Dan must have done something illegal or wrong to get arrested. That assumption is wrong. Many, many gay men can testify that they have been arrested when they did absolutely nothing even remotely sexual, let alone illegal. Dan is presumed innocent until proven guilty. You were correct in encouraging your writer to talk about his feelings. You should not, however, be complicit in the efforts of anti-gay cops and local officials to stigmatize and persecute gay men. Damage to relationships is a foreseeable outcome from anti-gay police pogroms. Both partners have been victimized. Both need support.
The incredibly narcissistic person could be “The Victim’s Victim.” He has little empathy for the outrage, anxiety and fear that a person feels when they are falsely accused of a crime that can result in life-long sex offender registration. It is a fact that police lie and fabricate evidence in cases like this. Published court decisions prove it. I have represented dozens of men who have nothing even arguably illegal. They get arrested anyway.
Dan needs a good lawyer. His partner needs to stop assuming that he did something disloyal, unfaithful or illegal. You should not assume that what they need to talk about is the meaning of “commitment.” Both of them need counseling. Both have been traumatized. Dan is fortunate that some of his friends seem to understand. It is sad that his partner does not. The Triangle Foundation offers victim’s services support that may be able to help.
Suggesting counseling is a good idea, but please don’t suggest it because you conclude that Dan must have done something wrong and his partner is, therefore, the real victim. Maybe he acted inappropriately. If so, the relationship problem preceded the arrest. If not, an important relationship is being damaged and that harms an entire community.
One Lawyer’s Opinion
A: I certainly agree with you that “sex stings” may be illegal and/or unconstitutional, and that police may lie and fabricate evidence against gay men. I am aware that many gay men can testify that they have been arrested when they did absolutely nothing even remotely sexual, let alone illegal. I believe it abhorrent that gay men are targeted in this way in our society.
That being said, the writer was not asking if I thought that the behavior of the police was unconstitutional or legal, or whether I thought that Dan’s behavior was illegal; he was expressing how betrayed and humiliated he felt about Dan having sex outside of their relationship, given he was under the assumption their relationship was a “committed relationship.” The writer was also commenting on the lack of support he was getting from friends when they talked about what had happened – that they were focusing on the “sex sting” and Dan’s being a victim, and not on the effect it was having on the writer.
Dan is a “victim” of a “sex sting;” I didn’t address that because Dan wasn’t writing to me and it wasn’t the core of the writer’s question. What I was addressing was Dan’s apparent infidelity – as described by the writer – and how it was affecting their relationship.
I leave the legal questions up to the lawyers.
Reader No. 2: I totally understand what “The Victim’s Victim” is talking about, because I had an experience just like this. My boyfriend got caught in a “sting,” and I found out he had been doing the park scene for years behind my back. The emphasis was on how unfair it was for him to get caught and not how awful his cheating was for me. Needless to say, I left him and I am now with a wonderful man who understands what it means to be in a monogamous relationship. Get out there and find the right man; you don’t have to put up with this.
Reader No. 3: This very thing happened in my relationship. Almost, anyway. My partner didn’t actually get caught, but I found out through a friend that he was out on the prowl during the time of a sting. He was just lucky he didn’t get caught along with a few others. Even so, it was devastating to me and to our relationship. The good thing that came of it was that we got counseling, stuck it out and now we have a much better relationship than we ever had before. I hope Dan and his partner use this experience to strengthen their relationship, not destroy it.