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Case filed against Westchester County, N.Y., police for releasing sealed arrest records in public sex sting.


On October 14, 2011, against court orders, the Westchester County police department released sealed arrest information—including names, photos, towns of residence, and charges—about Joseph Teevan and a dozen other men whose charges had already been dropped following their arrests weeks before in “Operation Overexposed,” a police sting targeting gay men. The news ran the story prominently along with the names and photos of the men involved. According to the police department’s 2011 annual report, the department made over 1,500 arrests that year. Yet the department’s online press archives include only ten press releases announcing arrests in 2011, and none involving sealed arrest information. The department’s unlawful release of the information sent shock waves through Teevan’s life, harming his reputation, causing adverse employment consequences, and inflicting severe emotional distress. In October 2012, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York arguing that the police violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection by identifying gay men to the media and singling them out for harsher treatment than others in similar situations.

Indeed, the Westchester police department’s misconduct is the latest chapter in a long nationwide history of police going beyond legitimate law enforcement measures to take extraordinary action designed to target gay men for harassment and humiliation.

    • October 2012 Lambda Legal files federal discrimination lawsuit against Westchester County.