The Herald Citizen reports that the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a Gainsboro man for having sex in a bathroom at the Putnam County Fair. Reportedly, a deputy told the couple to come out after observing “the feet of a man and a woman beneath one of the stalls.” Interestingly, the woman was not named in the warrants for the man’s arrest nor is it stated in the story that she was arrested.
Regardless, the man is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Disorderly conduct occurs when:
(a) A person commits an offense who, in a public place and with the intent to cause public annoyance or alarm:
(1) Engages in fighting or in violent or threatening behavior;
(2) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard or other emergency; or
(3) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose.
(b) A person also violates this section who makes unreasonable noise that prevents others from carrying on lawful activities.
T.C.A. § 39-17-305. Disorderly conduct is a C misdemeanor carrying up to 30 days in jail and a $50 fine.
Based on the fact that the woman wasn’t arrested, I’m guessing the defendant’s disorderly conduct charge is for either “violent behavior,” i.e., recoiling from the deputy, or “threatening behavior,” i.e., repeatedly reach in his pockets.
For fun, let’s assume the State charged him with disorderly conduct for having sex in the fair bathroom. Did the man want to “cause public annoyance and alarm” or did he have a simpler goal in mind? Also, could we really say the sex had no legitimate purpose? As the ACLU loves to remind us, procreation is a fundamental right. How dare the State tell us that sex is not a legitimate purpose!
Then again, maybe there was “unreasonable noise” that prevented others from “carrying on lawful activities,” such as using the bathroom. That would be enough to convict him. However, the witness testimony could get a bit interesting. “How did the noise affect you?” “It gave me a severe case of stage fright.” But wouldn’t loud noises actually help stage fright… This hypothetical has obviously gone on for too long.
Practically speaking, if the guy had just put his clothes on and left the fair, he probably wouldn’t have been charged with anything, at least anything that would stick.