NOWHERE TO HIDE
THE FRONT PAGE OF THE Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal screamed:
HIDDEN MOVIE CAMERA USED BY POLICE
TO TRAP SEXUAL DEVIATES AT PARK HANGOUT
"Spurred by a sex deviate's confession that he wantonly murdered two little girls who cried out for help when he attempted to molest them, Mansfield Police are completing one of the most spectacular investigations of homosexual depravity ever undertaken," the August 22, 1962, article breathlessly began.
"Sex deviate" was such a broad and horrifying concept for many law enforcement officers in the 1950s and '60s that a ghastly crime could trigger a crackdown on male homosexuals even when the crime was heterosexual and the victims weren't male.
In targeting homosexuals for harassment, police in many states were armed with more than the power to arrest them on charges of "lewd and indecent" conduct for touching or far more serious "sodomy" charges for actual sexual relations. Cold War—era "sexual psychopath" laws had been enacted in 21 states by 1955. These laws, propelled by the fear that anyone who deviated from perceived sexual norms was a menace to society, often allowed so-called sexual psychopaths to be locked away indefinitely in mental institutions.
According to historian Allan Berube,