Charles Nelson Glover, a 45-year-old Michigan high school teacher, won’t be pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct after being arrested for allegedly fondling an undercover police officer during a public park sex sting. Good for him?
Glover, who teaches civics and theater at Forest Hills Eastern High School, could’ve served no time (or up to three months, depending on the judge’s mood) if he plead guilty to the fourth-degree charges, which involves touching, not anything more severe. The arrest came during a Kent County Sheriff’s Department crackdown on man-on-man sex at Seidman Park in October.
But a guilty plea would almost certainly mean the end of his teaching career, let alone any other professional gig. So he’s going to trial next year to contest the charges, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill to prosecute one of the most meaningless “sex crime” cases I’ve ever heard about.
And therein lies the problem with these foolish park cruising raids: they accomplish nothing. While we’re adamant about keeping adult men from having sex with each other when children are nearby, even the sheriff’s office was quick to note at the time that “this incident did not involve juveniles.” Moreover, we took a look at Seidman Park, and it’s clear that it’s a vast wooded area that offers plenty of privacy. That Glover’s arrest involves only fourth-degree criminal charges indicates he allegedly grabbed the crotch of the officer, who almost certainly presented himself as a willing participant in a consensual act between two adults. Again, even the sheriff’s department acknowledges the park is a known hot spot for gay cruising; putting an undercover officer out in the woods might not qualify as the legal definition of entrapment, but that’s basically what this is.
Should Glover be sentenced if he’s guilty of these charges? Only if the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and prosecutors plans on arresting, booking, charging, and trying every single straight couple that fondles one another in line at Target, McDonald’s, the bank parking lot, and yes, wooded public areas. Sometimes with kids around. In daylight. I’ve seen all of this happen, and I’m sure you have too, but never once did an undercover officer flash his badge and take out his cuffs. The situations are nearly identical, except in Glover’s case there was likely nobody around to have to watch it unfold.
All Glover did was grab the junk of a guy who, he had good reason to believe, was in the park for the same reason he was. Had it been in any other public setting, this would be a non-issue. This sting smacks of anti-gay bias. And Glover — who might identify as straight or gay, and be married or single for all I know — now has his entire reputation and career on the line. (Yes, I’m well aware that a post like this only brings more attention to his case. Glover has, however, been plastered all over the local news.)
I’m not here defending disgusting guys who go around screwing in public for all to see. But a nearly-innocent private act between two agreeable adults is only notable because the sheriff’s department swapped in one of its officers for what should have been another civilian. Of the gay persuasion.