UPDATE: Class Action Lawsuit Planned After Dismissal in Long Beach Discriminatory Gay Sting Case

UPDATE | Attorneys for a Long Beach man arrested for exposing himself to an undercover officer at a park in 2014 plan to file a class action lawsuit after a judge recently dismissed the case on discriminatory grounds.

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Long Beach resident Rory Moroney, 50, was arrested in October 2014 after he masturbated in front of an undercover officer at Recreation Park. Moroney was arrested for lewd conduct and indecent exposure, charges that would have forced him to register as a sex offender for life, if found guilty.

Superior Court Judge Halim Dhanidina found officers were systematically targeting men engaging in homosexual activities during their undercover lewd conduct investigations at Recreation Park through misleading information in their reports.

Moroney’s attorneys said in an email Saturday that they plan to file a class action lawsuit with Moroney as the lead class representative. The complaint is nearly finished to file in federal court, which will also set the boundaries on who will be able to join the lawsuit, they said.

After hearing that Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert did not plan to appeal the ruling, attorneys Stephanie Loftin and Bruce Nickerson said they were okay with his decision.

“The judge’s ruling was so tightly written, the People would have little chance on the appeal,” Loftin said. “It would have just helped clarify the law for the other minority of departments who have not gotten the ruling from Pryor (Pryor vs. Municipal Court) back in 1979.”

Loftin said the LBPD was one of the last jurisdictions to immediately stop undercover decoy sting operations. Following the Pryor ruling it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the person arrested had to know or should have known of the actual presence of someone who may be offended by the conduct, Loftin said.

“There is no way a defendant could have known an undercover decoy would be offended,” she said. “Therefore, any arrest using this method is a false arrest, paramount to gay bashing under color of authority.”

PREVIOUSLY: Long Beach City Prosecutor Says He Won't Appeal Ruling that Claimed Discriminatory Practices in Police Stings

6/3/16 at 5:39PM | Over a month after a judge dismissed a case against a Long Beach man who was arrested for exposing himself at a park in 2014, Long Beach’s city prosecutor said he does not plan to seek an appeal.

Long Beach resident Rory Moroney, 50, was arrested in October 2014 after he masturbated in front of an undercover officer at Recreation Park. Moroney was arrested for lewd conduct and indecent exposure, charges that would have forced him to register as a sex offender for life, if he found guilty.

Superior Court Judge Halim Dhanidina found officers were systematically targeting men engaging in homosexual sex during their undercover lewd conduct investigations at Recreation Park through misleading information in their reports.


 

In announcing his decision not to appeal, City Prosecutor Doug Haubert also said he did not agree with the judge’s ruling, the Los Angeles Times reported, and that the findings should not affect the city’s relation with its LGBT residents.

Long Beach police Chief Robert Luna acknowledged Haubert’s decision this week.

“The Long Beach Police Department respects Mr. Haubert’s decision not to appeal the case of People vs. Rory Moroney,” Luna said in a statement. “We are continuing to research and develop our enforcement policy to be consistent with our regional partners.”

 



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