Charges dropped against at least 1 man in Pleasure Emporium bust
Judge: Patrons had expectation of privacy in locked theaters at business
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Charges were dropped Thursday for at least one of 13 men arrested over the summer in an undercover sting at the Pleasure Emporium in Hollywood.
The 13 men were arrested July 25 on charges of indecent exposure in public. Two of the men were also arrested on additional charges of committing a sex act in public.
According to Hollywood police, multiple anonymous complaints were received regarding lewd behavior occurring inside the Pleasure Emporium at 1321 S. 30th Ave.
An arrest report stated that two undercover detectives went to the business and purchased tickets to enter the adult video rooms section for $25.
Police said the detectives saw multiple cubicle-style stalls with numbers clearly displayed above them.
As the detectives were walking to their stall, they witnessed two men masturbating before the men took turns performing oral sex on each other, the arrest report stated.
Authorities said other men were also seen by detectives masturbating inside the business.
One of the men accused was Bolmer Romero Alvarez, who has now been cleared of wrongdoing.
According to the judge's order on the defendant's motion to dismiss, Florida law states that it is illegal to expose one's sexual organs in a public place or a private place "except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose."
Romero Alvarez's attorneys argued that Pleasure Emporium is indeed a private business that advertises its locked, private theaters for "erotic adventure like no other."
According to the judge's order, one of the undercover detectives said he was offended by not only the sexual activity in the theater area, but also because he was solicited and groped by other patrons.
Romero Alvarez's attorneys, however, stated in their motion to dismiss that the police officers could not be offended because the back theater is locked, cannot be accessed without paying a fee and anyone entering that area knows about the activities that occur there as it is "well-known and advertised as a gay cruising 'hookup' area."
The judge ultimately agreed that there is an expectation of privacy in the "private viewing theaters, where consensual sexual activity occurs in the presence of other consenting adults." The judge also noted that there were several levels of barriers from the public boutique section of the business and the theaters, including a sign noting the private area.
"(I am) very happy with the well-reasoned order dismissing the case against my client," attorney Rhonda F. Gelfman, who represents Romero Alvarez, said in a statement.
Nayela Esmail Giga argued the case before Judge Lerner Wren and stated she "is happy the judge provided the opportunity to argue the innocence of Mr. Alvarez Romero and looks forward to obtaining justice for others similarly situated."
Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.