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USA: Senator "not gay" after toilet affair

Wed 29 Aug 2007 In: International News

A right-wing Republican US Senator said yesterday he was not gay and had made a mistake in pleading guilty to disorderly conduct following his arrest in June in a men's toilet at Minnesota airport. Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in the toilet at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. "I am not gay, I never have been gay," he told reporters in Boise, Idaho, and apologized to the people of Idaho for what he said was a "cloud" placed over the state because of the incident. "I did nothing wrong," he said. Craig confirmed he had pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in a carefully worded statement. He gave no details of the incident that prompted his arrest on the 11th of June but confirmed that he had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. "At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct," said Craig in a statement. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously." According to the police report, Craig entered a bathroom stall next to the police investigator, placed his bag against the front of the door and tapped his foot in a gesture commonly used to try to pick up men in public toilets. "I recognised this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct," the police officer wrote. The married father of three, paid more than US$500 in fines and fees related to the misdemeanor charge, and was given one year of probation. Craig was first elected to the US Senate in 1990, and has spoken out against gay rights and same-sex marriage at various times in his political career. In October last year, a gay equality blogger claimed that Craig had had several gay relationships. Craig's office denied it, saying the allegations were "completely ridiculous" and had "no basis in fact." He says he will be announcing next month whether he would seek re-election next year.     Ref: Reuters (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 29th August 2007 - 12:18pm

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