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Sex in public lavatories - some local lore

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Some forty years ago, I was a prosecuting attorney in Burlington, Vermont.

Having had all the experience one could have expected from being a law clerk to a federal judge, I was hired right out of the clerkship, with absolutely no training for the particular job of prosecutor and having never tried a case in court. That's what they did in those days - they paid little, the new person would get some practical experience, and the more senior lawyers in town could have an easier time defending their clients - at least until the occupant of the office figured things out and gave them a run for their money. Then he'd figure out that he could make more money doing something else and resign, making room for the next young and inexperienced person.

My "office" actually wasn't "my" office - it was the room at the police station to be used as an office by the Officer in Charge. In fact, that's what they called it - the "Officer in Charge Room". That said, in actual usage, it was my office. In some cases there would be need for my instantaneous action - late at night immediately to prepare a warrant and take it to the home of the martini besotted judge to be signed and then used for immediate arrest. Not usually, though. Usually, there being a wire basket - the "in-basket" - on my desk, police would write reports and put then into the in-basket. I then would review the stack of reports, carefully searching each for any excuse at all to prosecute a perpetrator. When I found no excuse, it I wrote a check mark on it and put the report into the out-basket. When I found an excuse to prosecute, I would review the report further to be sure it was a damned good excuse and that I could win at trial or work out a plea bargain. If my inclination was to go get 'em, I'd deliver the report with indications of my desires to the Officer in Charge, who would deliver them to a secretary who actually knew how to do this kind of thing, and she in turn would prepare the necessary paper work for my signature and delivery to court.

Some of the police reports were numbingly mundane - a "fender bender" (automobile accident), a public disturbance (a fight, a college kid having too much fun), and of course your occasional shop lifter (usually the spouse or offspring of a doctor, judge or other such person who already had everything they really wanted, but didn't). However, some of these reports were so very high in value, entertainment wise, that today, I really wish that I'd surreptitiously squirreled away copies of them. Two of those reports involved sexual intercourse (or attempted intercourse) in a public lavatory.

Back in those days when the City of Burlington, Vermont had not yet burst fully from its days as a sleepy little place, albeit the biggest city in the entire State of Vermont, the Greyhound bus terminal and its adjoining restaurant - Valade's - were situated in the heart of town, across the street from City Hall Park. The police station abutted the park on the other side. There were public lavatories at Valade's serving both the restaurant and the bus terminal. In order actually to enter a stall, a user had to have a dime, because these were "pay toilets". You must remember those - in order to unlock the door and enter the stall, you needed to insert a dime into a slot (as in a parking meter) and turn a knob, and then you could open the door and use the facility for its intended purposed - and, apparently, other purposes. Unlike a parking meter, once you were inside, you could stay as long as you liked. No one policed them for overtime usage.

An incident, to become well publicized, occurred in one of those pay toilet stalls. I learned of it when I read the report in my in-basket and saw a part of the evidentiary material - a pair of "petty panties". There were "petty skirts", those frilly undergarments which a woman would wear underneath her regular skirt to give it some support and flair. And there were "petty panties", also frilly three dimensional underclothing about the length of Bermuda shorts, and I have no idea why they were worn - but they were. It was winter, and it was cold, so whatever other purpose they may have served, they added valuable insulation against the weather. So the partially soiled petty panties and the police report were in my in-basket. The gist of the case was this: A female user of the lavatory at Valade's had heard a woman screaming, and the sound of an apparent struggle, coming from one of the pay toilet stalls. Frightened, she ran out of the lavatory, quickly located a cop, and reported her experience. The cop ran to the lavatory, located a dime in his pocket (damned lucky he happened to have a dime), and opened the unlocked door to the stall from which the sounds were coming. He found a partially unclothed woman and a man with a knife in his hand. He promptly subdued, handcuffed and arrested the man for assault. When questioned, the woman reported that the man entered the stall (on his own dime) while she was using the stall for its intended purpose and tried to remove her clothing, using his free hand and the knife in the process. She'd been wearing many layers, on account of the extreme cold, and from what I read, he'd been peeling her like an onion, removing layer after layer, and was subdued and arrested by the policeman only after he'd reach the third layer - the petty panties.

Well! If this wasn't a damned good excuse to prosecute the bastard, what was?! If I am recalling correctly (and I might not be recalling correctly) I charged the son of a bitch with assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, and attempted rape - hey, the more cards you have, the more cards you can play in a plea bargain. The case generated some notoriety. After all, this was in a public place right at the Greyhound bus terminal and across City Hall Park from the police station, the perpetrator had a knife and he knew how to use it, and the woman might have been raped and/or killed had the policeman not intervened. It's fair to say that an air of tension pervaded the city.

Within less than a week after receiving that report - and this story is so nuts you couldn't make it up - I found another interesting report in my in-basket. This one also involved a sexual episode in the ladies' room at Valade's. Again, a female user of the lavatory heard some suspicious voices emanating from one of the pay stalls - muffled, no screaming, but suspicious nevertheless, especially since one of the voices was female and the other was male. She tried to look under the door of the stall and clearly saw four - count 'em, four feet. Rushing from the lavatory and no doubt believing the worst, she located a cop and reported her experience. The cop entered the ladies' room and, sure enough, he too heard the sounds coming from one of the stalls. He too looked under the door. He reported seeing four feet - or as he stated in his report, two pairs of feet. One pair of feet - seemed to be the larger pair wearing galoshes - were closer together with the toes pointing toward the door. The other pair - and these appeared to be the smaller pair - straddled the larger pair, one on either side, and the toes were pointed toward the toilet. So help me, I'm not making this up. In addition, the cop had reported, he saw a brown paper bag with what appeared to be the neck of a bottle protruding from the top, slightly to one side of the smaller straddling right foot. He knocked on the door of the stall and shouted, "Police! Open up the door!" Nothing. Repeated the order. Again, nothing. Quickly finding a dime in his pocket, he inserted the dime, twisted the knob - and the door didn't open (the doors locked from the inside, and in this instance, the users took that advantage). He had no other dime in his pocket and dared not leave to get some change for a dollar so he could have another dime. Fortunately, luck be a lady, there was one stall without a lock (or door) - no dime required - and it was immediately adjacent to the subject stall. The cop entered the stall, he reported, and stood up on the toilet to see what was happening. There appeared to be no struggle, but the couple clearly was engaged in sexual intercourse, the man being seating on the hopper and the woman astride him, presumably with the expected placement of their respective organs (you couldn't actually see it, but hey). The cop ordered them to stop immediately and open the stall door. The woman looked up at the cop and said - and again, I'm not making this up - "It's ok, we're going to get married."

As it turned out, they really were scheduled to be married, and the bottle in the brown bag on the floor contained champagne. I charged them with Disorderly Conduct - disturbing the public peace. When in court, the judge accepted their respective pleas of nolo contendere while raising his eyebrows and shaking his head after hearing their side of the story. And that's the way it really happened in Burlington, Vermont in the winter of 1967 and 1968.
post #2 of 8
Wow, in the time of free love no less...
post #3 of 8
Yaz can't even find a quiet moment on the shi$$er anymore.
post #4 of 8
So, did you get the conviction(s)?

Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction. Thanks for the story.
post #5 of 8
So, why didn't the first woman lock the door as the second couple had the good sense to do?
post #6 of 8
good story. I think the judge was irked with you for bringing charges at all. The first incident was a crime of the sort that needs to be nipped in the bud and deterred, stopped and prosecuted to the fullest. The second incident, well, we all know people who go over the top whenever. I had dinner with a couple like that tonight. Nice folks.
post #7 of 8
There's a story here, sno'more. Like, did they do it at dinner?
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
sno'more, that judge would have dismissed the charges if he thought they were ridiculous - in this case, he thought that sex in the john was ridiculous, but . . . that said, I share Weems's curiosity. Did they do it in the Greyhound WC or at dinner?
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