History of Entrapment (USA)

From LGBTQIA+ Archives

This page covers the history of entrapment, extortion, and blackmail of LGBTQIA+ communities in the USA.

United States Navy (1910s)

McCarthy Era (1950s)

During the McCarthy era, the US government and municipalities pursued gay communities, which the federal government labelled as threats to national security. The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover would participate in blackmailing "homosexual" federal employees and associates, while police detectives would attempt to seduce suspected gay residents to convict them of indecency or moral charges. At the same time, civilians would blackmail local gay individuals or those suspected of being gay, and extort them for money and other resources.

US Attorney Leo Rover, for D.C., fights to raise conviction rate for "homosexuals" (April 1954)

  • The Evening Star reports of a convicted man during a period which US Attorney Leo Rover describes as "a very low percentage of police court convictions in cases involving homosexuals" (April 1, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports that Judge Armond W. Scott refuses to hear a case until a memorandum is studied; "the case came after... sharp commentaries on the trials of suspected homosexuals" (April 5, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports the United States Attorney representing Washington D.C. "took another step in his fight to raise the conviction rate in homosexual cases" (May 7, 1954).


US Navy Sailor Blackmailed (May 1954)

  • The Evening Star reports on a 20 year old charged with blackmail for threatening to expose a Navy sailor as a "homosexual" (May 18, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports on the second hearing for a man charged with blackmailing a Navy sailor (May 19, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports on the second man charged with blackmail of a Navy sailor (May 20, 1954).
  • The Evening Star reports on two men who extorted "money from a 28-year-old sailor by threatening to expose him as a homosexual" (June 2, 1954).


Local Judge Promises Crackdown on "Local Perverts" (December 1954)

  • The Key West Citizen reports that Judge Enrique Esquinaldo Jr. will commit to a crackdown on "local perverts", says "the homosexual problem 'is not to serious in Key West -- and we're not going to let it get that way" (December 23, 1954).


Police Methods Criticized By Court (September 1956)

  • The Evening Star, a newspaper in Washington D.C., describes court criticism of police entrapment in criminal pursuit of gay individuals (September 27, 1956).


Man Held for Jury In Robbery (1957)

  • The Evening Star publishes an article describing an alleged crime where a "man threatened to denounce him as a homosexual" (September 5, 1957).


Fairfax Police Drive Nets 65 Homosexuals (1963)

  • The Evening Star reports that "more than 60 men have been arrested after approaching plain clothes officers of the county police vice squad" (September 25, 1963).