Lee Creamer, 26, admitted extorting hundreds of pounds out of three men who were fearful their families would find out about their activities, the Portsmouth News reports.
He would go to areas such as Portsdown Hill and the Rock Gardens in Southsea dressed as a police officer and tell his victims they could either go to court or pay an on-the-spot fine. He would then drive them to cashpoints and give them a fake receipt and details of a course they had to attend.
The three offences took place in June, when Creamer took a total of £1,560 from three men, some of whom were married.
Appearing at Portsmouth crown court, he pleaded guilty to three charges of blackmail and one of impersonating a police officer.
Police believe he may have targeted many more men and are appealing for victims to come forward.
At least the newspaper didn't publish the names, addresses, and mug shots of the victims and label them dangerous sex predators.
This story makes the cruising problem clear: it's a battle between two groups who want to use public spaces where one side has said that, in order for them to enjoy parks, the other side can't use them at all. No compromises, no creative solutions. Cruisers just can't use that space because the children might stumble in on them (or, if you're in China, the excuse for cracking down on cruisers is because they commit other misdemeanors).
What happens is that one group is easily taken advantage of with no recourse. Sure, you can say that it's their choice to cruise in public, and therefore they should just take it. Of course they want to be caught having sex and then blackmailed, posted on the internet, lose their jobs and families, and commit suicide! It's all part of the thrill of public sex!
There are better ways to deal with this conflict, like designated areas for cruising if we're really worried about accidentally seeing dudes having sex, no children zones in parks if we're really worried about kids stumbling across something, condoms available if we're really worried about STD's being spread, and trash bags if we're really worried about condoms being thrown on the ground. The fact that those other solutions are never even considered (or sometimes they're implemented and denounced by very people who say they're worried about the effects of cruising instead of cruising itself), though, shows me that we aren't really worried about any of those things, and just hate the idea of people having sex outdoors and see this group of people as an easy target when it comes to scare-mongering before an election.
And when a group of people exists outside the law, or an activity they participate in is outside the law, there's no recourse when they're attacked or violated. Sure, some people eventually came forward and reported this guy who was blackmailing them, but I'm sure there are plenty more like him out there and that he went after far more people than the ones who came forward (especially if he had fake brochures for a fake counseling session in his hand).
Because cruising isn't going to stop. Stings, massive social stigma, people taking pics of cruisers' cars and posting them online, fences... none of that's stopped cruising. Can we just admit that it happens and find a solution?