Owner Interviewed About Sen. Craig

Joanne Cachapero
NEW YORK — In reaction to the June 11 arrest of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, for disorderly conduct in an incident in which Craig propositioned a male undercover police officer for sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, posted an article describing the secret world of gay and bisexual men looking for anonymous sex in public locations.

Gay social networking site owner Keith Griffith was interviewed for the story and described online access to information about “cruising” locations and the system of signaling employed by men interested in sexual contact with unknown individuals.

“If you’re passing through, say for instance, the Minneapolis airport and you’re horny and there’s a man sitting next to you sending all the signals that he’s interested in you, you might act on it,” Griffith told XBIZ.

“Not only did I talk to ABC, but I explained it to CNN, the New York Times and Newsweek, and I’m like, ‘You know, guys — it’s not that complicated.’ But they want to act as if it’s this whole new world,” Griffith said.

“What I tried to explain to them; the reason that they view this as a whole new world because cruisers don’t want outsiders to know about this. They reason why we have codes is to enable us to meet publicly, but then to be discreet doing it. That’s why these straight men don’t know anything about foot-tapping in a public toilet,” he said.

Sen. Craig reportedly tapped his foot and slid his hand under the partition of a bathroom stall, next to a stall where Det. Dave Karsnia was sitting.

Karsnia, a member of the police detail at the Minneapolis airport, was investigating ongoing suspicious activities connected to the airport bathroom location.

In response to Craig’s signaling in the stall, Karsnia showed Craig his police identification, then asked him to exit the bathroom and arrested the senator, charging him with disorderly conduct.

“The truth is, the senator is in a situation that happens to men all the time, but he’s very high-profile,” Griffith said. users post onsite information on cruising locations as well as possible police activity.

“We have a database that we’ve been collecting for 11 years of listings from all over the world. I would imagine that we cover every corner of the globe and there are tens of thousands of places listed,” Griffith said.

“This is not some sort of odd event or fluke — this is everyday life. The very toilet that he was arrested in is listed on Cruising For Sex by our users and been flagged several times since December because of a sting operation that has been going on there. There were 40 men arrested in that toilet.”

In the article, several lawyers and gay rights activists were alarmed at the potential for men being arrested for merely tapping a foot or unknowingly displaying signaling behavior.

“Citizens have a right not to confront lewd activity in public places,” lawyer and gay rights activist Steve Sanders said. “But if there is evidence that a sting is motivated by anti-gay animus, that may represent a more troubling issue.

At the beginning of August, Craig pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and was fined $1,000 and 10 days in jail. The judge stayed the jail time as long as the senator avoided any further illegal activities.

The senator has since publicly stated he now regrets pleading guilty and has denied any wrongdoing in the airport bathroom incident.

Griffith pointed out that despite the senator’s guilty plea, that he feels unlikely there was a crime committed since the police report does not reflect any solicitation for money, exposure of genitals or physical contact.

“Frankly, gay people should be using this media exposure to expose how police abuse their power and harass us, because that’s what this is,” Griffith said. “We shouldn’t be using it to get rid of a senator that we don’t like.

“Unlike many people in the gay community, I’m very supportive of him and I hope he doesn’t resign. I may deplore his political views, but I don’t think he should be run out of office because of what he did.”