August 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
12 arrested in gay cruising area near Rehoboth Beach
public lewdness, Wolfe Neck, arrested, Rehoboth, gay news, Washington Blade

Twelve men were arrested near the Wolfe Neck parking lot on a trail near Rehoboth Beach.

Undercover police officers arrested 12 men in July on public lewdness related charges in a section of a Delaware state park outside Rehoboth Beach that’s known as a gay male cruising area.

According to a July 28 announcement by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the men range in age from 49 to 82. They were charged with an assortment of criminal violations, including offensive touching, criminal solicitation, lewdness, indecent exposure and loitering to engage in or solicit sex.

The announcement says the arrests took place in the Wolfe Neck parking area near the Junction & Breakwater Trail, a six-mile long trail along the southwestern side of Cape Henlopen State Park that connects Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. The trail was built on land formerly used as the path for a railroad track.

“This operation is a response to a serious and longstanding problem with lewd and indecent public behavior at Wolfe Neck,” said Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Police Chief Wayne Kline in a statement. “Such behavior will not be tolerated in a public area within a Delaware State Park,” he said.

“DNREC has received many complaints from the public about this type of activity at the Wolfe Neck location,” the park agency’s statement says. “DNREC’s continuing campaign to prevent public lewdness has made use of both uniformed and plainclothes officers and will continue to do so.”

DNREC spokesperson Michael Globetti declined to say whether the men were caught in an area frequented by passersby or in secluded areas out of sight from the public.

The Junction and Breakwater Trail is listed in the site as a “cruisy parking lot and nearby woods.”

Delaware attorney John Brady, who won election as the Sussex County Clerk of the Peace and who’s gay, said he’s representing two of the men arrested in the anti-lewdness crackdown. He said most of the arrests have been made by a young undercover park ranger who poses as someone cruising for sex.

“This is a rookie ranger who got picked for this and I’m not sure he was properly trained,” Brady said.

He said that although the arrested men in most cases have the option of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge and receiving only a fine, it’s important for them to obtain legal representation. According to Brady, under Delaware law, two convictions within three years of certain public sex-related offenses such as indecent exposure could result in someone having to register for life as a sex offender even if he was attempting to find another consenting adult as a sex partner.

The announcement issued by DNREC says each of the 12 arrested men were released on a criminal summons and must appear before the Justice of the Peace Court or the Court of Common Pleas, which are located in Georgetown, Del. It lists their ages as 49, 50, 52, 55, 61, 63, 64, 64, 72, 74, 77 and 82.

Seven live in Rehoboth Beach, two live in other towns in Delaware, two are from New York and one resides in Pennsylvania, the statement says.

“They face punishment ranging from a year in jail and fines up to $2,300 for a Class A misdemeanor; of up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,150 for a Class B misdemeanor; up to 30 days in jail and a $575 fine for unclassified misdemeanor, and up to one-year probation and a $345 fine for a violation,” the statement says.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • So this is like the third story this summer of Rehobeth authorities targeting the gays. Sorry, not buying the “it’s jot a gay thing” excuse anymore. I have better things to do than spend a vacation in an anti-gay police state.

  • Wow. There are actually still gay cruising areas. Nice to know some things are still the same.

    The problem is police wasting limited resources on entrapping gay men in these cruise areas. They’ll tell you they don’t have the resources to serve warrants or track down violent criminals yet they do have them for this type of activity and for speed traps to give you tickets. Law enforcement is out of control.

    Why can’t people just meet up and pick up people to have sex if they want if they then take it to a non public area? You can’t even make a pass at someone and invite them to your place without it landing you in jail. If it’s mutual consent then the police should stop harassing gay men!

  • Doesn’t sound like a gay friendly town – or state.

  • In the grand scheme of things, it’s a waste of resources to go after people for something so petty. You could instead be out there looking for violent offenders and thiefs!

  • With all the Straight Sex Going on in every nook & cranny,,,
    And the Real Crime going on ,,,
    They Want to Pester Old Queens
    Come on

  • So some old school queens who don’t use the Internet or grindr want to meet up for mutual encounters. Who cares? What a waste of resources. If this is the biggest “crime” happening in this community, they should consider themselves very lucky.

  • men range in age from 49 to 82?

  • The lesson is always take it inside and don’t trust anybody in a public place. It is not worth the risk. I am impressed, however, by the 77 and 82 year olds. Never give up.

  • Why aren’t they going after pedophiles instead? Who cares if a 82 year old man hits up on a 49 year old? This is anti gay harassment, a deliberate case of entrapment of old coots and a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. Go granny go!

  • You never hear of lesbians getting arrested in cruise parks. Maybe because they have more self-respect than gay men? Not sure and not judging.

    I do think though, when you break the law…you get what you deserve.

  • It’s getting close to an election. This sort of thing always happens at election time. For some reason, the nit-wits who instigate these sting operations think that it brings them votes. Sorry – but that’s the way it’s been for the 79 years of my life, anyway.

  • Why do men still engage in this anonymous public sex ritual? Aren’t the strides that have been made enough to stop having sex in public places?

    • The men are older. They could be married, straight-identifying men. Or it could just be a generational thing. A guy in his 60s or 70s probably did this sort of thing when he was in 20s. Some of these guys might still be closeted, even if they don’t identify as gay.

  • Park cruisers beware- if it looks to good to be true – it probably is and most likely a sting-

  • Elder gays, elder ways :)

  • The worst part is there are other cruise areas where they have been cracking down… but on guys only. There have been straight couples screwing in the woods and the cops did nothing. I guess the cops have nothing better to do these days than beat/shoot people for minor crimes and stop guys from getting blow jobs. Sad.

  • It is really a great kind of article.

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