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Touching bottom

By Tony Deyal

If an island is uninhabited then it is easy to be uninhibited and cohabit in all of nature's splendour au naturel. But Dominica's capital city, Roseau, has a population of about 15,000 and it seems that most of them were at the port when in broad daylight two gay men whose lawyer claimed they were struck by the beautiful mountains, the clean and clear fresh air and were having a few cocktails, threw caution to the wind. Unfortunately, in jettisoning caution they left themselves literally exposed. While their actual location may not have been the "poop" deck as some persons later claimed, the two men found themselves in deep poop.

The two, John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, of Palm Springs, were aboard the Celebrity Summit cruise ship. The cruise was organised by Atlantis Events, a Southern California company that specialises in gay travel. There were about 2,000 passengers on board. One of the passengers, John Claudio, later gave the scuttlebutt to QUEERTY.COM, a website that claims to be free of any agenda "except that gay one". Claudio revealed, "My boyfriend and I, and a busload of other guys, did see what was happening on the balcony of the Celebrity Summit as we waited for our excursion to depart. At first, I wasn't paying attention, until I noticed a few Dominican females near the security gate of the pier where the ship docked, waving their arms and hands towards the ship, and talking loudly about something on the ship. The others on board the bus also looked, and we noticed one, then two guys on the balcony walking around naked. My first thought was, 'If we can see them, can they see us?'

"The ruckus at the dock became more excited when it appeared, at first to me, that they were engaging in oral sex. The two guys in front of me then said, 'No, they are (having sexual intercourse).' As I leaned forward in my seat, I noticed that they were (having sexual intercourse), and in a standing position. It was very, very obvious that they were engaged in (having sexual intercourse). We were not that far away from the ship, maybe one half to three quarters the length of a football field. Again, did they know we could see them?" Claudio says some of the girls on the pier then grabbed a port police officer, who hadn't been looking at the ship up until that point.

"When the girls pointed to the balcony for the police officer to see, he then, noticed the guys (having sexual intercourse). The police officer started to walk towards the ship, as other police officers also started to observe the action on the balcony. The balcony was just above Deck 5, where the lifeboats are stored, and only two or three staterooms from the elevator banks, on the port side of the Celebrity Summit facing the town. As the police officer walked, then stopped, then walked again toward the ship, the two guys on the balcony were still (having sexual intercourse). By this time, we could see many people on the pier and onshore taking photos of the action taking place on the balcony."

The policeman called for backup and he and his colleagues soon got to the bottom of it. However, the two men initially said they were given a bum rap. According to an AP report, Mayer and Hart claimed they were in their room when they got a call from a cruise ship official. "We were summoned that the captain wished to speak to us," Mayer said. "We were caught off guard." Three cruise ship officials and six Dominica police officers were waiting for them. After police interviewed both men separately, the assistant captain spoke, Mayer said. "At this time, we are going to eject you from the ship. We have zero tolerance toward your behaviour," Mayer recalled him saying. Mayer recounted that the police told him, "You're being arrested for being gay. We're arresting you for the crime of buggery." Mayer denied engaging in homosexual sex. Mayer said he was naked in his cabin and nearly naked on the balcony. "I was less partially clothed than I should have been."

Mayer said police brought in government officials to look at them. "They paraded many people by to look in on us as if we were some type of animal, which was quite humiliating," he said. "People got great joy in the pleasure of taunting us." Mayer also commented on the journey to the courthouse where they faced an angry crowd, "They were chanting and banging on the police vehicle. They were screaming things," he said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life, other than in movies. Both my partner and I really feared for our safety." Once in the courtroom, Chief Magistrate Evaline Baptiste ordered the men to pay a nearly $900 fine after they pleaded guilty to indecent exposure. He called the two men "rogues and vagabonds." Police then drove them to the airport where they were told to bugger off.

The moral of this story is that while sex in a pubic place is acceptable, sex in a public place is not.

* Tony Deyal was last seen saying that if you are found guilty of public indecency

and having sex in public, there is bugger all that you can do about it.

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