Gay-Sex Ring at Manhattan Beach Bathroom? 18 Dudes Arrested for Lewd Conduct, 'Utilizing a Peephole' | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Sex Crimes

Gay-Sex Ring at Manhattan Beach Bathroom? 18 Dudes Arrested for Lewd Conduct, 'Utilizing a Peephole'

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Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Have L.A.'s voyeurs been getting their kicks on Marine Avenue?
  • Have L.A.'s voyeurs been getting their kicks on Marine Avenue?
Updated at the bottom with more deets on the Big 18, one of whom is a top dog at Viacom. See also: "Should Police, Media Have Circulated Suspect Mugshots in Alleged Gay-Sex Ring?"

Originally posted at 2 p.m.

The public bathroom at the end of Marine Avenue has been getting more action than a West Hollywood back-alley.

Sometime in March, Manhattan Beach lifeguards started noticing that "the same men would loiter in the area and return to the bathroom, staying inside much longer than the typical visit," says the Beach Reporter, a local paper.

So the Manhattan Beach PD started inspecting the "Marine Bathroom" for signs of tomfoolery. Here's some of the creepy stuff they found, according to reports:

  • Two or three pairs of feet visible beneath a single stall.
  • Graffiti porn -- aka "graphic sexual images" -- etched into stalls and walls.
  • Peepholes drilled into stall partitions. (Surely doubling as glory holes.)
  • Chatter on social-netorking sites and chat rooms, planning and discussing sexual rendezvous at the bathroom.

Also kind of creepily, police set up surveillance cameras at the crime scene. By combining the images of men they saw coming and going with online intel, they were able to make a whopping 18 arrests in March -- all alleged participants in what appears to have been a gay-sex ring.

These are their charges, according to CBS LA:

The men, aged 21 to 59-years-old, were arrested on a range of charges including soliciting and engaging in lewd conduct in a public place, loitering, utilizing a peephole in a restroom, invasion of privacy and indecent exposure.

"Utilizing a peephole"? Like we noted above, that could definitely have two meanings.

Sucks for the Big 18. Sounds like they were having quite a party in there. Equally sucky is the fact that Manhattan Beach police compiled all their mugshots into a hi-res spreadsheet of who to avoid at the beach.

click to enlarge MANHATTAN BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Manhattan Beach Police Department
Way to ruin 18 lives with a single PDF. Using this handy-dandy guide, we even located some of them on Facebook. Like this guy, a "diagnostic medical sonography" major who's listed as "in a relationship." Heh. Or this guy, whose IMDB profile is now supplemented by an arrest record for "indecent exposure" and "soliciting a lewd act." Double heh.

Public-information officer Stephanie Martin tells the Beach Reporter that "maintenance would patch up the [peepholes], and the next day, they were drilled out again."

Although in the end, the Marine Bathroom was likely targeted for its extra privacy: It was the only one along Manhattan Beach with doors on the stalls.


View Larger Map

Update: So the Daily Breeze contacted a couple more suspects.

click to enlarge This suspect in the gay-sex ring has a lot to lose. - ISAURO BENAVIDES VIA LINKEDIN
  • Isauro Benavides via LinkedIn
  • This suspect in the gay-sex ring has a lot to lose.
Pinto, the Hermosa Beach resident, tells the Breeze that "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have hired a lawyer. I was definitely innocent. ... You have completely ruined my life."

And Benavides, a high-profile Santa Monica resident who reportedly works as the "director of security and investigations for Viacom," refuses to comment.

Yikes. According to his LinkedIn profile, Benavides has also held government jobs in Tennessee, including one at a juvenile justice center.

He does, at least, appear to be "out" -- judging by his Facebook profile picture. And while we're stalking the guy (blame the Manhattan PD), here's his Twitter.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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