In late February, Charlotte news station WBTV aired a report on supposed and "alleged" sex acts occurring between men in one of southeast Charlotte's public parks.
The story was prejudiced and biased and furthered stereotypes of gay men as sexual predators. What's worse, the story contained no fact and was based on nothing more than anonymous online postings to a hook-up website.
In my role as editor at QNotes, the LGBT newspaper based in Charlotte, I reached out to WBTV reporter Steve Crump and their news director, Dennis Milligan. Neither were ever willing to acknowledge the problems with their report.
This weekend, QNotes published an investigative commentary that tracked down police records on charges and arrests for soliciting crimes against nature. What did we find? See the infographic at right (click to enlarge) and read the excerpt after the jump...
Sex in the park?
Investigative Commentary: Police records debunk the media-driven myth of gay sex in public parks
by Matt Comer, April 2, 2011
Following WBTV’s report, QNotes decided to do what Crump and his colleagues chose not to. We immediately undertook an investigation of arrests and charges for solicitation of a crime against nature and requested information from CMPD for all of 2010 and 2011 through the end of February.
According to CMPD’s Rob Tufano, a total of 325 people were charged in 2010 and 2011 with soliciting a crime against nature. Of the total, only 69 were men. Forty-seven men were arrested and charged, and the remainder were issued citations.
QNotes further requested the public synopsis for each of the 47 case numbers provided to us by CMPD officials. After reviewing each, an obvious trend became clear.
The majority (32 of 47) of cases were related to prostitution or narcotics activity, including several specifically linked to CMPD-led prostitution and narcotics investigations.
Only 15 cases involved men charged with a non-prostitution-, non-drug-related solicitation of a crime against nature. Five occurred at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport overlook on Old Dowd Rd., another five at an interstate rest area, three at Kilborne Park in east Charlotte, one at a hotel or motel and one on N. Tryon St.
Read the whole report: http://goqnotes.com/10621/sex-in-the-park/
Infographic Copyright © 2011 Matt Comer (interstateq.com/archives/4671/)
Data compiled by Matt Comer/QNotes, "Sex in the Park?", April 2, 2011 (goqnotes.com/10621)
Data provided by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
(Permission is granted to reproduce the infographic, provided credit above remains intact and is published with the graphic.)