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Locals Arrested in MB Bathroom Sting

Men from Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and other cities are arrested by MBPD on suspicion of illegal behavior in or near a public restroom on the beach at Marine Avenue.

Editor's Note [Updated 12:18 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3]: This article is now complete. Thanks for reading breaking news on Patch.

One Manhattan Beach, one Hermosa Beach and one Redondo Beach resident are among 18 men arrested for their alleged conduct in or near a public restroom on the beach at Marine Avenue, according to Stephanie Martin, public information officer for the MB Police Department.

The men have been arrested on suspicion of any of the following charges: solicit/engage in lewd conduct in public place (647(a)PC); loiter in/around public toilet for the purpose of engaging/soliciting lewd/unlawful act (647(d)PC); utilize a peephole in a restroom – invasion of privacy (647(j)PC); resisting arrest (148(a)(1)PC) and indecent exposure (314.1PC).

"We don't want that in our public restrooms," said Martin, adding that children use the public beach restrooms "and we certainly don't want them to see that [sexually graphic grafitti and lewd conduct]."

Lifeguards told MBPD they'd noticed increased pedestrian traffic near the bathrooms, the same people returning, some bathroom visits taking more than an hour and two and three sets of feet in bathroom stalls, she said. 

County bathroom maintenance staff sealed peep holes that had been drilled into the bathroom stall partitions only to find the holes had returned the next day. Martin speculated that part of the draw to the Marine Avenue restrooms was the stall doors and partitions. No other beach bathroom in MB had doors; the county has now removed those doors.

MBPD began their undercover operation in early March after lifeguards notified them of their suspicions. 

They made their first arrest on March 7, with arrests following on March 8, 9, 14, 21 and 23. Each arrested individual was released pending a court date or further investigation, according to a press release.

Jacob A. Dotson, 33, of Manhattan Beach was one of the men arrested, as was Claudio X. Pinto, 48, of Hermosa Beach and Tod R. Rathbun, 46, of Redondo Beach.

The other arrested males live in El Segundo, Santa Monica, Torrance, Gardena, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Lomita, Los Angeles and East Sussex, England, according to police.

The youngest man is 20, the oldest 59.

Said MB Police Chief Eve R. Irvine, "Undercover operations in public restrooms will be periodically conducted; and those who participate in illegal activity will be arrested."

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South Bay by Jackie April 04, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Okay, so I just took a bike ride along the Strand this weekend and saw the new restroom construction at about 2nd Street. Having individual stalls with locks on them is just an invitation to criminal activity! Will anybody be surprised when the first rape is reported?
Gigi Suvari April 04, 2012 at 02:51 PM
This has nothing to do with "promoting gay lifestyles" or marriage equality. The reason that these men act out in this very inappropriate way is because of people like you. They hear and read that The Gays don't deserve the same rights and freedoms as the rest of us because they're "less than." They're closeted and afraid. And they have every right to be afraid. In at least 38 states people can be refused employment for or be fired because they're gay. Then they're told they don't have the right to marry, or adopt, or be respected in public. They're told they're an abomination and going to hell. And on and on. I've sat and look at the mugshots of these men and while I don't agree with what they were doing in a public lavatory, my heart goes out to them. If the world were kinder and more accepting perhaps they wouldn't have found themselves in this predicament.
Gigi Suvari April 04, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Calm down Jackie. Rape? Come on. These guys were up to all sorts with one another - which I don't agree with - but you're being a bit hysterical aren't you? As Patrick said above, these are what is referred to as "victimless crimes." They also consensual. Locks on stall doors do not lead to rape. They lead to increased privacy.
Chris Bennett April 04, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Keep this crap out of MB. This is why we don't go to Santa Monica. There is no excuse for this behavior in a restroom used by children. Great work MBPD. Keep releasing the names and hopefully humiliating these clowns. Our city has had a wonderful Mayor who has served two terms and done a great job. This has nothing to do with gay rights. This has everything to do with children in our city.
longtime MB resident April 04, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hmm, what does the Mayor have to do with this? Kudos go to our wonderful new Police Chief, Eve Irvine!!! She takes no guff!!! Isn't a gay issue either. Sexual activity in public is against the law. Get a room. Ongoing surveillance of public restrooms should solve this problem which, I'm sure goes on everywhere-remember the airport bathroom stings? Chief Irvine is making MB a safer community!!!
Capt Phil April 04, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Lived in MB for 5 years in the 80's... wonderful neighborhood, great weather and polite, considerate folks lived there. Never locked our doors and the most dangerous event was a bent fender. What has happened to MB? Sounds like the nuts, fruits and flakes of CA have taken over another formerly nice place to live.
Cindy Davidson April 04, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Gee when was the last time you read about 18 WOMEN arrested for indecent exposure and lewd conduct in a public restroom? I live near Marine and my kids use these beaches and restrooms. I'm glad the police and lifeguards acted to end activity which, societal ills aside, is both inappropriate and illegal!
Common Sense April 04, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Really? You're complaining about living in Manhattan Beach?
Common Sense April 04, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Perhaps a more effective means of dealing with this problem would be to place a sign that cites the law and states that the bathrooms are monitored. Hell, put several of them up...a cheap and possibly effective solution. I'm sure this would dissuade anyone from doing anything in the bathrooms. Taking doors off stalls is weird...and I'd never send a child in a bathroom if he or she could not close the door. But then again, I'd never just send a child in a public restroom anywhere.
steve cohen April 04, 2012 at 06:55 PM
So you seem to imply by saying that" the majority of these men are probably deeply closeted". that this behavior is acceptable? Sex in public bathrooms and peepholes are acceptable behavior? What is wrong with you? These bathrooms are there for the public and not for people that are so sexed up wether gay or straight that they cant wait to get to a motel room or a private residence. This is not a normal behavior. Di it at home and dont involve the public in your escapades.
Old Bill April 05, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Hey! There are enough gay bars is So.Cal for these guys to habitat and to meet one another, and to carry on relationships from there. The difference is that there are no young boys running into gay bars because they have to pee. So, again, why are these 'persecuted' and 'misunderstood' members of the same-sex lifestyle hanging around public washrooms, instead of gay bars? Gosh - a real head-scratcher.
What April 05, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Steve cohen -- the question is not whether these men should have been doing this -- of course they shouldn't have; it's dangerous -- but whether a publication with any shred of journalistic integrity should be taking on the responsibility of pronouncing these men guilty in the public eye by publicly humiliating them before they've even had a trial. A journalist needs to think about what her responsibility to the public is when deciding what information to share. And I would argue that in this case, there is no plausible reason why any of us needs to know the names and see the faces of these men. They are not a threat to any of us. The only threat they pose is that of making us squirm and feel uncomfortable. It's very disturbing how quickly "the safety of our children" gets called into question whenever the topic of gay men in the public sphere comes up. I assure you that your children are being bombarded by images of heterosexual sex every day. Regardless, neither that nor gay sex would be such a problem if their parents didn't flip out every time they found out their kids witnessed sex. That puritanical sensitivity is what makes kids come to see sex as such a dangerous zone and makes them ashamed and uncomfortable with it for the rest of their lives.
Patrick Mack April 05, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Most of these men are probably so afraid and ashamed of their own sexuality that this is their only outlet and I would guess that many of them are married.
South Bay by Jackie April 05, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Gigi, I was speaking about individual stalls as opposed to a bathroom with individual stalls. I wasn't commenting on anyone's life style or choices. Maybe you should calm down before referring to someone as hysterical.
John Vanni April 05, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Hey Cindy- Hate men much?
Kate April 05, 2012 at 05:56 AM
SHUT UP! Historically this is way less damaging than the case going on during your "5 year" stint here.
Kate April 05, 2012 at 06:04 AM
As a matter of fact, women's restrooms in the south bay beaches and parks have random doors. Some of the stalls do and some don't. it's not a problem, we make it work.
Brian b. April 05, 2012 at 06:32 AM
How are any of you arguing for these guys? Guilty! Guilty! Can any of you imagine yourselves accidentally being "oops, I didnt know that there was an all male orgy going on in this stall full of men officer, I promise." I don't accidentally end up surrounded by this type of act in any public place where I feel like I might get caught and wrongfully accused of going homosexual in a "public restroom." Men don't share the same bathroom stall no matter the consequences unless there is something unorthodox goin' down. Crying over the removal of the stall doors.... Really! The safety of my children, not being exposed to this type of homosexual playground, is paramount
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 07:08 AM
Everyone: Please be aware that we are closely monitoring these comments. Remember to keep it civil.
steve cohen April 05, 2012 at 07:22 AM
What I have to ask myself why it was necessary to expose the people involved in this. I think that the answer is included in the description of the problem. Not only were people involved in "dangerous", your words not mine. but they were drilling peep holes in the walls so they could involve innocent individuals without there knowledge. this could include children as well as adults. Dont tell me that children were not involved in a round about way. This behavior is totally un acceptable and the fact that the peep holes were re drilled after they were sealed up says a lot. It is true that in our country you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty , I question the decision to expose these people but the result of this is that others that who choose to be involved in this behavior will think twice. How can you question the motives of these people, why did they drill peep holes in the stall walls? The answer is simple, they wanted to watch people that were innocent of any wrongdoing and that definitely includes children. This is a very intrusive and offensive situation that has to be exposed. You say that there is no threat to any of us, well what about those peep holes, what does that say. The threat that is posed is the loss of privacy and security. Personally I will think twice about my son going to public beach restrooms. If the people have to be exposed then so be it.
Old Bill April 05, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Thanks Nicole - We shall strive to take a kinder and more understanding stance toward these very pillars of civility themselves. Perhaps we should view them as but poor, unfortunate souls - who happen to find themselves spending their entire day inextricably drawn to lewd and salacious conduct, much of which centers on deviant pedophilic fantasies. Keep up the good monitoring!
Brian b. April 05, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Lol, pillars of civility, lol
What April 07, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Steve, gay men are attracted to men, not children. And the holes are for passing notes through in order to (as) safely (as possible) figure out who's on the other side. Educate yourself. This is a thing that I thought was only done in the past when all of society was rampantly homophobic. This just reminded me that a lot of society still is, sadly. When people such as yourself think that all gay men are pedophiles, those men are frightened into submission and turn to activities like this.
steve cohen April 07, 2012 at 11:09 PM
What--- Shame on you for the analogy. You seem to really know what you are talking about with this. My gay friends would never think of performing this behavior. You make accusations about me but your post is very clear that you know more about this then a casual thought. I for one do not want to have gay men getting it on in a bathroom stall next to me when I have to use one. Have you ever heard of NAMBLA? There are pedophiles and they do visit public bathrooms, dont be so lofty about this, it exists. Maybe you are the one that needs education as to what is acceptable behavior.
adam smith April 08, 2012 at 10:50 PM
these people should be ashamed,these are public restrooms and these perverts ruin it for everyone,i will not use a bathroom with no stalls attached,it's called privacy,you people due this at your homes,bunch of perverts is all they are,be aware,i'd punch these jerks if i ever witnessed this
Joe Salters April 13, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Gigi--I just read your comment and you have forced me to comment in a place I normally otherwise wouldn't have. Along with being humorous, your comment has fully eclipsed the universe of stupidity; it also makes no sense whatsoever. First, anyone who felt sheltered because of there personal lifestyle. would not have committed a sickening and gut-wrenching act in public. Additionally, the fact that you actually come to the support of these criminal inviduals is absolutely sickening. I sure hope you are really an outlier on this issue because our communbity does not have room for ones that share your same beliefs and support of criminality, pedophilia, and lack of common decency.
Joe Salters April 13, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Just to add, you CANNOT get fired in ANY state because your sexual orientation.
Amy Rose January 03, 2013 at 05:19 AM
Just so you know gay men are NOT looking in the peep holes at children. They are looking at the MEN. Most gay men who do this type of thing actually go out of there way to cover the hole up and look away when a child comes in. Sexual activity even stops when others come in. The sexual acts are to be done when NO ONE ELSE is in the room with consenting people only. No rape. Also to the histerical girl commenting about individual stalls in a unisex rest room, not all men are gonna rape you. Keep a look out when you visit a rest room and don't make your self a victem. Rapists only look for the weak. If your that scared carry a large blunt weapon to beat your attacker with. Just because men are in the room doesn't mean rape will happen. Men don't go around raping other men why would you be any different? The same thing in the mens room taht is happening now will most likely happen in the unisex rooms. Women and Men will meet up for sex. Sad but true. Everyone here needs to get over this fear of "men are having sex in the bath rooms! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!" Yes its not child friendly but why are you letting your children go into STRANGE locations alone without adult supervision? You as a parent must make sure every place your child goes is safe. GO IN BEFORE THEM! They won't see the sexual things happening and if it IS happening move to another location. Simple as that. Take the time to look after your kids instead of having them run wild.
steve cohen January 03, 2013 at 08:58 AM
Amy, You are very off base here. What does this have to do with rape? There is nothing more disgusting then going into a bathroom that is regularly used for sex. You should be ashamed of yourself. If gay men want to have sex they should go home and do it there. Why is it so necessary to use public bathrooms for this? Its disgusting and you should know better.
Matthew Smith November 01, 2013 at 01:15 PM
With the lawsuit from one of the men who was FALSELY arrested, this sting could cost the city up to 5 million dollars, plus legal fees. I wonder if any of the 17 other people arrested were done so wrongly.

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