Friday, July 17, 2009

New LDS Church Statement On Salt Lake "Gay Kissers" Reveals It Was More Than Just A "Kiss"; They Were Slobbering And Groping All Over Each Other

Update July 30th: Trespassing charges dropped on July 29th, surveillance video released July 30th. Updated post HERE.

On July 17th, 2009, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a more complete statement describing the events of July 9th, when two gay men, Derek Jones and Matthew Aune, claimed they were brutally restrained and detained for essentially stealing a chaste kiss at Main Street Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City. And, just as was previously pointed out by a witness, it was considerably more than just a "chaste kiss". See my previous post for more background. Stories also published by the Deseret News, KSTU Channel 13 (with video), and KSL Channel 5, with 398 public comments so far. KSTU video embedded below:

But first, here's the narrative from the initial police report which is attached to this Salt Lake Tribune story, in order to provide a basis for comparison:

Call came in on trespassers at the above address. I arrived and saw both AP's [accused persons] in custody for trespassing. [Walter] Nickel [Church Security] said that he observed Matt and Derek kissing and hugging on their property. Nickel told both AP's that he is with Church Security and that they need to leave their property for the behavior and that is is unwanted. That is when Derek refused to leave and said "NO, I am not leaving". Other Church Security came and detained both AP's for trespassing and then called PD.

When I made contact with Matt I asked for his name and he would not give me his name. I then told him that by law he needs to give me his name and DOB. He then game me his name. He told me that the Security Guards slammed him to the ground. I asked him why they did that? He told that him and his boyfriend Derek had been drinking at the Gallavin Center and they just came through Main St. He said they sat down and he gave Derek a kiss. That is when he was contacted by two guys in suits. He said that he did not know they were Church Security and that he said nobody has the right to tell them to leave on public grounds. He said once he found out that they were Church Security, he told them "NO" that he was not going to leave and to call the Police.

I asked Nickel if they slammed him to the ground ? Nickel said they did not slam him to the ground when they put handcuffs on him. I told Matt and Derek that it is private property and that he will be issued a citation because he was asked to leave and he told them "No". Matt and Derek were both issued citations for trespassing. I did not see any signs of injury on either AP's. I could smell alcohol on Matt's breath and he speech was slightly slurred when he spoke to me.

Next, here's the account posted by a witness to the event as a comment on this BlueInRedZion post, asserting it was far more than "just a kiss":

  1. Derek Says:
    July 11th, 2009 at 9:03 am

    How funny that these guys try to claim that they were victims. I witnessed the whole thing. First of all, these two gentlemen did much more then hold hands and kiss, they were completely all over each other. Second of all they were given ample opportunities to leave, these security guards told them politely they could stay on this easement as long as they weren’t all over each other. The two men turned things around quickly, they were drunk and completely obnoxious and rude to the security guards, cussing at them and calling them all sorts of names. That’s when they arrested them for trespassing not kissing. Funny how these two “victims” claim to be victimized, when in reality they were just picking a fight, and wanted some attention which they got.

And finally, here's the new statement just published by the LDS Church on July 17th (hat tip to Messenger and Advocate for the reference):

SALT LAKE CITY 17 July 2009 There has been a good deal of publicity surrounding an incident where two men were cited for trespassing because of belligerent and profane behavior on the Church Plaza, which is an extension of the Salt Lake City Temple grounds and Church headquarters. While this property is owned by the Church, we want it to be a place of beauty and serenity in downtown Salt Lake City for everyone.

As we said earlier on this matter, these men were asked to stop engaging in behavior deemed inappropriate for any couple on the Plaza. There was much more involved than a simple kiss on the cheek.
They engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had obviously been using alcohol. They were politely told that the Plaza was not the place for such behavior and asked to stop. When they became belligerent, the two individuals were asked to leave Church property. Church security detained them and Salt Lake City police were called.

There is nothing satisfying in learning that there have been problems for anyone on Church property. We hope the Plaza will continue to be an asset to the community and enjoyed by the many that cross it each day.

The evidence is overwhelmingly in support of the Church's version. The two gay men sought to minimize their own role and maximize the enforcement role. They clearly were not an "innocent couple" expressing their affection. They acted just like a couple of dogs in heat, mindlessly copulating in the streets. Except dogs can't help it - they're just obeying instincts. We're humans - we're supposed to be better than that. Public fornication is unacceptable and intolerable.

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