[News Story: DPD Vice Unit Wages 50-Year War Against Gay Men] Page: 1 of 18
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DPD vice unit wages 50-year war against gay men I pegasusnews.com I Dallas / Fort Worth Page 1 of 9
Friday, August 3, 2007
DPD vice unit wages 50-year war against
BY DAVID WEBB OF DALLAS VOICE
The Dallas Police Department's war on public lewdness has raged for a
half-century, leaving lives in ruin for thousands of men who paid a tragic
price for soliciting sex in public with other men.
In the early 1950s news stories started appearing with increasing frequency
- The Dallas Morning News about men being arrested in police raids on
public restrooms in hotels and theaters in Downtown Dallas and in publ
parks. In 1955 the number of arrests crested as dozens of men were
arrested, indicted and tried on sodomy charges every month, according to a
survey of the newspaper's historical archives.
In a Sept. 10, 1955, story, the reporter referred to "the almost daily filing of
sodomy charges by city police" against men who were apprehended by
The penalty for consenting adults who were caught engaging in public
sodomy - which is known as public lewdness today - could range from
two to 15 years in prison. For first-time offenders, the most common
sentence appears to have been five-year suspended sentences, but some
convicted defendants received prison sentences of years. Their fate rested
with the judge or the jury hearing their cases, after their names and
addresses had been reported in the newspaper.
The stepped-up prosecution of public sodomy appears to have coincided
with the ascension of longtime Dallas County District Attorney Henry
Wade in 1951 to the office he would hold for the next 36 years. A former
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David Webb. [News Story: DPD Vice Unit Wages 50-Year War Against Gay Men], text, August 3, 2007; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804580/m1/1/: accessed November 27, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.