California Men Arrested in the Caribbean for Sexual Acts on Cruise Ship

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Both men were initially charged with sodomy

Two California men pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of public indecency and lewd conduct in a court in Dominica on Thursday.

John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, both of Palm Springs, paid a fine of about $900.

They were arrested on Wednesday, after reports that someone saw them having sex on the balcony of a cruise ship off the coast of the Caribbean island.

The balcony faced a town and was about 150 feet away from a street, according to Atlantis Events President Rich Campbell, whose company arranged the cruise. Atlantis Events is a Southern California company that specializes in gay travel.

Residents saw the lewd activity and called police.

Sex between two men is illegal in Dominica. Hart and Mayer were initially charged with sodomy, but authorities said that charge would take too long to expedite, so the men were only charged with indecent exposure.

Dominican media reported that “they were informed of the laws of Dominica and they were well aware that their acts would be considered a criminal offense.”

Hart and Mayer were among the 2,000 passengers on the ship that departed from Puerto Rico on Saturday and arrived in Dominica on Wednesday.

The ship departed for St. Barts without the men, who were Wednesday night at police headquarters in the capital of Roseau.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center said that, despite Atlantis being a gay-based events agency, people need to do their research before traveling.

“I would suggest looking not only into the laws of where you’re traveling to, but also whether there have been violent attacks,” said Stevie St. John.

Gay activist Manny Medrano said that, gay or straight, this is not just about homophobia.

“Let’s be candid, having sex in public is probably a crime in most civilized countries, including the United States,” Medrano said.

“As a result, the fact that they’re charged is not that unusual.”