Wal-Mart tryst begets felony charges

Kenneth Breeden, left, and Ronald Beasley picked the wrong place to park Tuesday night.

Steamed-up car windows at the Super Wal-Mart parking lot in Staunton November 4 failed to disguise the activity inside that up until very recently was illegal in Virginia and in much of the United States. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling challenging the constitutionality of sodomy laws, now two men face an array of charges, including crimes against nature, a Class 6 felony.

A complaint led police around 8pm election night to a gray '86 Chevy sedan in the busy Super Wal-Mart parking lot, where officers allegedly found Kenneth Lee Breeden, 69, performing oral sex on Ronald Bradford Beasley, 57.

Police say Breeden paid Beasley $100, and both men also were charged with prostitution, a Class 1 misdemeanor. Breeden, who was sitting behind the wheel, picked up a DUI as well. "If the key is in the ignition, you can be arrested," explains Staunton police Officer Lisa Klein. According to police, Beasley, reluctant to exit the car, was dragged out, earning a charge for obstruction of justice.

The back and side windows were steamed up, according to Klein, but the front window may have been the problem. "The Wal-Mart is so busy, with lots of people walking and driving through," she says.

While the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas decision struck down laws criminalizing sodomy between consenting adults in private, the key word in Virginia is "private." And Staunton perhaps is not the best place to push sexual boundaries.

In August, Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson prosecuted the owner of After Hours Video and a clerk on pornography charges. During the four-day misdemeanor trial, he had a jury watch Sugar Britches and City Girls Extreme Gangbangs, the latter of which the jury found obscene.

So will Robertson take on the crimes against nature charge?

"Oh, God help me," he exclaims when a reporter calls. "I'd better give that one to an assistant."

He reads the crimes against nature statute, 18.2-361 in the Virginia Code: "If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, except as provided in subsection B." (We love it when Robertson talks dirty–- er, when he reads the Code of Virginia.)

While this sodomy law is still on the books in Virginia, "Anything you do in privacy of a bedroom is not illegal," clarifies Robertson, although presumably he's excluding "brute" animals, even if done in private

Essential, he explains, is that these acts occur "only in a place with an expectation of privacy." That means the sauna at the YMCA or in the park, places where he's won convictions, do not provide such expectations. Nor, apparently, does the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Other jurisdictions may seek lesser charges against those caught in flagrante delicto. For example, in last year's Hook story, "Diddler on the roof: X-rated tryst shocks Mall workers," a couple seen copulating on the roof of First Christian Church from the much taller Wachovia building could have faced possible charges of indecent exposure, a Class 1 misdemeanor, but got off with a warning.

Sex in a cemetery in Charlottesville also typically warrants an indecent exposure charge, police say, the same charge used for public urination or flashing. And if Breeden and Beasley had been busted in Charlottesville, they'd be looking at a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge as well.

"People making obscene displays are consistent with indecent exposure," says City Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman, who notes that "the efficacy of statutes related to sodomy are sufficiently suspect." More bluntly, "We got bigger fish to fry," says Chapman.

Virginia's sodomy law was written in 1792 by local hero Thomas Jefferson, who suggested castration as the appropriate penalty.

In the infamous 1995 Sharon Bottoms case, the Virginia Supreme Court relied on the law to strip a mother of custody of her son. In 1998, the law was used in Charlottesville against three sex-buyers, or johns, on West Main Street. Later that year, Albemarle County police charged 14 men for sodomy at the Ivy Creek Natural Area.

Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford doesn't remember any recent crimes-against-nature prosecutions, so how would she handle Wal-Mart parking lot sex? "I'd worry about the public nature of it," she says, "where children could come along."

Whether one picks up a felony or a misdemeanor charge for public sex depends on the act and the locale in which it occurs. Civil libertarians have long been troubled that Virginia's crimes-against-nature statute unfairly targets gays.

"If someone is penalized for sodomy, it ought to be the same as for other forms of public sex," says Kent Willis, the director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The General Assembly, he says, "ought to level the playing field."

Various attempts by Democratic legislators have been killed by Republicans and Democrats alike. "They get incredibly squeamish when this comes up," says Willis.

This was not Breeden's first brush with the law for alleged sexual misconduct: He's listed on the Virginia State Police Sexual Offender Registry for two counts in 1993 of aggravated sexual battery.

Both men are scheduled to appear in Staunton General District Court January 30.

Updated November 10.


uhhhh....no comment.

quote: "...officers allegedly found Kenneth Lee Breeden, 69, performing oral sex on Ronald Bradford Beasley, 57. Police say Breeden paid Beasley $100...

What's wrong with this picture?

Shouldn't Beasley have paid Breeden the $100?

They might have a court case, but I have a feeling that these two are going to want to just plead guilty and pay the fine or probation or whatever. If they actually want to send anyone to jail for that, its crazy.

This is really mean sprited journalism. Why do you need to post these guys pictures up here for what they did? Its not like its Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Leave em alone.

Oh dear, did we really need the pictures? Don't need this image in my head early on a Friday....

Wow. And I thought I had problems. God bless them!

Yeah...of all place to "park" Wal-Mart. The deserve to get caught. Two old farts...GROSS!

didnt need the image

"Nothing human disgusts me, Mr. Shannon, unless it's unkind, violent." Tennessee Williams, but it's based on a much older quote.

And just to think that my Girlfriend and I did not get caught in our 3 times a week roundabout in the back of my car. I'm a MAN and She's a WOMAN and it was VERY consentual.!)

so does that mean that they're gay or that this guy was approached by Breeden and coudn't resist the offer of a quick one along with a century note??? I guess we'll just have to wait and see....

If public sex is the issue, treat them like you would a guy and a gal caught under the same circumstances. And the state needs to revise its statute books in keeping with the Supreme Court decision.
"Crime against nature" should be something used against polluters and other despoilers of the environment!

$100??!! i thought walmart was home to LOW prices!
but judging by the looks of Breeden, Beasley probably had to haggle up the price

I wonder who they voted for?

Bob Barr of course.

Seems like mean-spirited journalism to me, too. Staunton + Wal Mart + gay sex = something we can all laugh at. Thanks, Hook. Way to be cutting edge.

now that's just despicable. where are these men's wives??
shouldn't of they have been involved too??

I can't believe it! Maybe they should have went to Target. Expect More. Pay Less. LOL

Please take this off the main page it in nauseating and atually could be construed as an attack on the homosexual lifestyle.

This goes on all the time in the 'straight' world yet there are no pics of those individuals? Why step so low and put these guys pics up? Are you desperate for material?

The pictures are really pushing things a bit too far. The editor at one time at least was known for his libertarian views. Shouldn't these guys be left alone and not have their pictures spread across the internet? Sure there is a law against what they did, and it wasn't such a great choice of location, but I really don't think a man and a woman who were caught in a similar situation would have their pictures published.

I have a major problem with innocent people having their arrest and images published and broadcast in every media outlet locally, if not statewide. Especially when the story and images are only released as a law enforcement agency realizes they have made a big mistake and are trying to save face in the public's eye, rather than simply admitting their ignorant rookie(s) is guilty of a gigantic fuster cluck.

The difference in this case is the two men don't even remotely have the apperance of being innocent. As a matter of fact, it almost seems as if one or both men actually made confessions in order for the police to know as many details of this encounter as they do. So, what's the problem, folks?

I agree Booooo. I mean think of all the other indescent exposure and lude conduct arrests that are going on and to just report this one and basically laugh at them is just unacceptable. And I thought Nancy Grace was bad....

To the gentleman with the Rambo sickness - Could you explain why you think the article says both men are scheduled to appear in Staunton General District Court January 30 if their guilt isn't still in doubt? I would argue that the fact that under our system of laws people are innocent until proven guilty means, contrary to what you asserted, there is no appearance they can or should have to just people other than innocent. "Almost," "seems," and "appearance," aren't quite the same thing as "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Also, to bring you up to date, the internet has rendered meaningless whatever quaint notions you have about local news broadcasts. I'm in Japan right now.

IMHO, in America now, you are guilty until proven innocent. In most cases you are tried by public opinion in the various media outlets before you ever step foot in a courtroom. And even if you are lucky enough to prove your innocence in a court of law, people still question it. If you want a second opinion just ask O. J. Simpson.

My dad was a trucker and he always said the prositutes in Virginia were some of the ugliest ones.

Now I see what he means. I can't believe money changed hands here.

While I don't appreciate The Hook's response, I commend the police for doing their job. The important points to me are they got a drunk driver off the road and that this incident involved money/prostitution and public-ness, as in a busy store parking lot *during store hours*.

The sex in a cemetery comparison doesn't apply here. At least stereotypically, that would be a couple of young lovers sneaking in after dark when the cemetery is closed. No drunk driving, no money/prostitution, and at least some attempt to be private about it (and what exactly "it" involved doesn't really matter).

As we are in a society of weasley lawyers and soft judges, it has become standard practice to cite the arrestee with as many violations as possible so that in the end something will stick and the violator will get at least some penalty. So let the cops add on all the charges they can and in the end prosecute the real ones.

Now why the Hook had to post the pictures on the main page and highlight certain aspects to the point that some take it as bordering on gay-bashing I'm not sure.

Quote: "...they got a drunk driver off the road..."

There's a fine example of what I mentioned above, being guilty until proven innocent. Bobby B already assumes one of the suspects is guilty of drunk driving. The suspect has already been tried and convicted in the media of driving under the influence!

And speaking of drunk driving, never assume this same thing doesn't place place in other states. People are simply lazy and incompetent nowadays. And therefore innocent people are being wrongfully convicted......


The city cannot control what the Board of Directors decides to do with our property, or with our company, for that matter. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, jurisprudence dictates strong and inalienable private property rights.
Save your money, Charlottesville! There are bigger fish to fry, like Pamunkey cats. Our enterprise may, very well, choose to adopt the status quo. Presented with this absurd situation today, Mr. Jefferson would probably use his knowledge of French to say, "laissez-faire."

This was a private business venture from the very beginning. These good ol’ boys had more money than the city anyway, and they neither needed nor wanted a handout. Sure, the parking rate was kept low, but that was done with the customer in mind - a noble action. He was the customer of: Charlottesville Hardware Co, or Keller and George, or the Jefferson-Lafayette Theatres, or National Bank and Trust Co., or Gilmore, Hamm & Snyder, or The Peoples Bank of Charlottesville, or Timberlake’s, or The Young Men’s Shop, or Citizens Bank & Trust Co., or Miller & Rhoads. Collectively, these original stock and bond holders were the genesis of the stockholders of today. Hovey Dabney presided over the company’s bond repurcbase in 1971. “Stock in lieu” was issued instead of the 6% per annum interest (10 years deferred) bondholders expected.
For example, it is understood that Charlottesville Broadcasting Co. became American Broadcasting Company, known as ABC. Disney bought ABC. Jefferson National and Central Fidelity Bank (also stockholders) became Wachovia. Does CVS now beneficially own old Standard Drug certificates? Does Bank of America own its predecessors’ stock? The supply of capital is almost endless, for meaningful progress to occur downtown. It would certainly be nice to be elected to the Board now, when there are so many available options.
There was a very well-dressed wolf in the downtown neighborhood; and, unfortunately, many were comforted and lulled by its soft, woolen coat. Curiously, the fangs were what intrigued this citizen.

Arise, Jimmy Boy!
"Cujo" is on the loose, and he knows who be his master. There will be no sale today, or tomorrow, or the following day, or Columbus Day!
"It's a Beautiful Morning!" Go join the hippies down on Main Street, Rialto Ave., or wherever they are want to congregate.
This contest means nothing to our company, CPC.
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha! What a hoot!

Citizen, my dear boy, you are quite the wordsmith. Your pessimism and cynicism shine bright - like diamonds on chubby fatcat fingers. The parking lot in question will remain an eyesore and a missed opportunity without imagination and creativity, and this is what your City Council is seeking through this competition. Designers are optimists by nature - one cannot imagine what is not without a bit of courage and a bit of insanity - Mr Jefferson knew this. You are a fool.

Mr. Fury is right, in several ways, as Citizen has played the role of fool:

"And nobody seems to like him they can tell what
he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings but the
Fool on the Hill
Sees the sun going down and the eyes in his
head see the world spinning round.
He never listens to them He knows that they're
the fools
They don't like him."

Well, they never should have let him get involved in their game of Monopoly.

All lyrics copyrighted in 1967 by Northern Songs Ltd.