50-year-old Rory Moroney says he knew the reputation of the men’s room at Recreation Park in Long Beach as a spot for gay men to cruise, or look for someone who wants to have semi-public sex, but that he’d never gone in looking for the experience. So when a man began nodding and smiling at him as he washed his hands, he took a chance and approached the man. Turns out he was an undercover cop, and Moroney was arrested for exposing himself.
Last month, the charges against Moroney were dropped after a Superior Court judge lambasted the Long Beach Police Department’s practice, calling it discriminatory due to the fact that the department only used male officers in the stings and the department had only arrested male suspects. LBPD said they weren’t expecting the decision but that they’d take a closer look in future case of lewd conduct. They added that they only do those kind of decoy operations as a response to complaints from the public and that it is a last-resort kind of tactic.
Undercover sting operations are obviously an immensely useful tool for law enforcement officers when it comes to community policing, but where does the line exist between enforcing the law and entrapment?
Commander Paul Lebaron, Commander with the Long Beach Police Department overseeing detectives division