Sen. Larry Craig Hits on Male Cop in Restroom
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.
A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.
After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.
Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.
According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested. Airport police previously had made numerous arrests in the men’s restroom of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal in connection with sexual activity.
Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.” The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig. “I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.
Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door. “My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.” Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.
“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states. Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could … see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”
Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it. “With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. … Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”
In October 2006, Craig’s office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made on a gay activist Web site — blogactive.com. Craig’s office told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that the charge was “completely ridiculous,” saying that the allegations had “no basis in fact.”
Next time I fly in to Minneapolis, I’m definitely going to avoid using the restroom if this kind of thing is so common as to require the detailing of police in the stalls. Yikes!
Otherwise, I’m not sure what to say about Craig’s conduct that hasn’t been covered by the 500 or so bloggers already on this one. A sampling:
- Joe Gandelman wins the preliminary Best Headline prize with, “Airport Restroom Arrest Stalls Senator Larry Craig’s Career.”
- Greg Sargent has a statement from Craig claiming he pled guilty without seeking the advice of counsel. If so, then he’s an idiot as well as a creep. He also has a bonus flashback of Craig telling Larry King, “Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.”
- BooMan thinks Craig may be a wee bit hypocritical, having “voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.” In his defense, though, Craig’s actions weren’t those of a man looking for a steady relationship.
- Jeff Fecke wonders, “all Craig is really guilty of is signaling quietly that he was interested in engaging in sexual activity. Why in God’s name is that a crime?” I’m thinking this is a “time, place, and manner” issue. It’s not a crime to go up to a stranger in a coffee shop and flirt. Reaching under the stall uninvited . . . crossing a line.[UPDATE: Thoreau agrees but helpfully suggests, “maybe he had been planning to woo guys with some nice gifts, but the TSA had already confiscated his bottles of wine and cologne.”]
- Mark Kleiman wonders why this is news, figuring lying, hypocrisy, and the waste of police resources are yawners. He is, however, upset by the abuse of power in handing over his Senate business card. But, actually, lying and hypocrisy — and, oh yeah, criminal conduct — on the part of elected policymakers is newsworthy.
- Jay Tea thinks the media focuses too much on gay criminal Republicans from 2006 while downplaying all the gay criminal Democrats from the 1960s and 1980s.
- Jane Hamsher questions the timing.
- Henry Farrell, too.
- Minneapolis resident Scott Johnson notes it’s only “the men’s room located in the Northstar Crossing” that needs to be avoided, not all of them in the airport.
- Alex Parene wishes the cop had let this play out a little longer.
- Orin Kerr has decided to close the comments thread on this one.
- Michelle Malkin is conducting a poll on whether Craig should resign.
- Hugh Hewitt don’t need no stinkin’ polls.
- Nor does GayPatriotWest.
- Ed Morrissey wonders, “How long before Craig checks himself into rehab or finds Jesus?” His two-sentence summary of the case is pretty funny, too: “Larry Craig, the Republican Senator from Idaho, paid a visit to Minneapolis in June, and apparently wanted the full tour of the Twin Cities. He went from the airport men’s room to the hoosegow by the most direct route after attempting to importune an undercover police office.”