1,000 slain, so L.A. police look for people having sex?

June 30, 1995|By ROGER SIMON

If every American who ever had sex in an automobile was arrested for it, we'd be a nation of criminals.

Yet this is what Hugh Grant, the British movie star, was arrested for early Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Contrary to what many think, he was not arrested for soliciting a prostitute.

He was arrested merely for having sex in his own automobile.

Police say they saw Grant, 34, pick up a 23-year-old woman in his BMW 325i on Sunset Boulevard and then drive to a nearby tree-lined street and park.

Officers approached the car and claim to have seen Grant and the woman performing a "lewd" act.

They then arrested both on a misdemeanor charge.

Which is one real problem with law enforcement in America: It's not ineffective, it's just so darn immature.

Los Angeles is a city where about 1,000 people are murdered every year. How many people have sex in Los Angeles every year?

I do not know. The FBI does not keep track. But I would say lots and lots.

So if you could direct Los Angeles' police resources, what would you do?

Would you try to prevent murders? Or would you try to prevent sexual acts between consenting adults?

Los Angeles does try to prevent murders, of course.

But it also spends about $100 million per year on the enforcement of anti-sex laws.

Los Angeles! Where Hollywood sells sex every day! Yet this is where the police spend an extraordinary amount of time and money trying to prevent sex from taking place.

And one is forced to wonder how current events might be different if in June 1994, the Los Angeles police had moved just one squad car from anti-sex duty on Sunset Boulevard to patrolling Brentwood instead.

Maybe the cops would have noticed somebody in Nicole Brown Simpson's bushes. I know L.A. cops have excellent eyesight. They must if they can see sex going on inside a car at night.

It is true that the woman who was arrested with Grant was later identified by police as a prostitute.

But so what? What did the police actually accomplish? The prevention of further "lewd" acts?

This "lewd" act, by the way, is legal jargon for an act that is performed nightly (and daily) by millions of couples in America often within the sanctity of marriage.

And few of them consider it either lewd or illegal.

It is simply another sign of how childish this country is about sex that our laws consider it both.

After he was charged, Grant issued a statement saying that he had done something "completely insane."

Maybe he did, but he has plenty of company.

It is estimated there may be as many as 2 million prostitutes in America. And if each has an average of just five customers per night, that would be 10 million acts of prostitution each and every day.

Yet according to the FBI, there are only about 100,000 arrests for prostitution per year in America. Which means only an infinitesimal percent of these illegal transactions are being punished.

So this seems to be yet another war that law enforcement is not winning. Nor do law officers really expect to win it. Anti-sex laws are just a legal way to roust people.

Though Grant probably will plead guilty to avoid further publicity, he might easily beat this rap.

His lawyers could cross-examine the arresting officers and ask questions like: How much of this alleged "lewd" act were you really able to see? How do you know that Mr. Grant had not dropped his car keys and the woman was looking for them? Or maybe she was taking a spot out of his clothing. Or wrestling with him. How do you know for sure it was sex?

Silly? Sure. All such cases are silly. And a huge waste of time and police resources.

The question most people are asking today, however, is why a handsome movie star who is dating a beautiful model would be allegedly cruising for prostitutes?

Me, I figure that's his business. But I do have a theory.

Since Grant's arrest, I have seen numerous pictures of his girlfriend.

And like a number of today's celebrities, she dresses in shockingly revealing dresses often without benefit of underwear.

In other words, she dresses like a hooker.

So maybe Grant got confused.

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