A May 20 raid at Bush River Books & Videos in Abington, Md., netted nine arrests, including four men charged with "Perverted Sexual Practice," reports the Washington Blade.
Perverted sexual practice is another name for Maryland's anti-sodomy law. Though the Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling invalidated bans on consensual sodomy, many states still have such laws on the books — and they are enforced, even if it runs afoul of federal law.
One of those arrested for perverted sexual practice was in a private, locked video booth at the adult bookstore with another man when police in riot gear unlocked the door and arrested both, according to a friend of one of the arrested individuals who spoke with the Blade.
“They spent the night in jail and were badly treated,” the friend said. One of those arrested told the newspaper that all nine men spent the night in jail.
Prosecutors and police in Harford County, Md., are defending the raid and arrests, saying the bookstore is a community nuisance and often receives complaints. Harford County State’s Attorney Albert J. Peisinger, a Republican, may be doubting whether the "perverted" sex charges hold up in court, as it appears — according to online court records — that at least three of the men arrested will no longer be charged. But one man did appear to still face the perverted sex charge, a misdemeanor. Others are facing charges of soliticing prostitution and indecent exposure, though prosecutors may have a tough time convicting if the exposure occurred behind a locked video booth and among consenting adults.
Maryland's General Assembly last year voted to repeal the perverted sexual practice law, but it appears that the Senate and governor did not follow its lead.