Great Moments in Entrapment

Off-duty firefighter Robin Garrison was walking through a park in Columbus Ohio last May when he came across a woman sunbathing topless (this is legal in Columbus; I’ve been to Columbus, and I must have visited the wrong parks). They began to chat. She rested her foot on his shoulder. They flirted. She asked to see his penis. He complied. Undercover police officers appeared and arrested him for indecent exposure. This was, they said, “an undercover sting operation to catch perverts.”

Garrison was found guilty, fined $250, placed on a year’s probation, and the fire department is considering their own sanctions. He’s appealing his conviction on the grounds that the jury wasn’t properly instructed on what “entrapment” means.

Entrapment is defined as being persuaded by police (or other law enforcement or those working on their behalf) to commit a crime one had no previous intention to commit. It does not apply when the defendant is already inclined to commit the crime and law enforcement agents simply facilitate it or otherwise provide the opportunity. 

Some new information:

Seems the police did have undercover officers in the park as part of a sting operation to catch “perverts,” but this woman wasn’t part of it. She just happened to have been sitting there sunning herself topless — in the shade under a tree — for several days and the police officers were just… looking in her direction a lot, apparently. And Garrison was only one of at least two men who were arrested for displaying their genitalia at the woman’s request that day.

Okay, now… you’d think after the first arrest, the woman might have begun to suspect she was being used as an entrapment agent by police.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Holy crap, if I were trying to come up with an illustrative example of exactly what entrapment is, I’d have a hard time coming up with something better than that.

    Yes, it seems likely that this woman was just sunning herself topless and asking every man who walked by to show her his penis. And that she wasn’t phased by having the first guy she asked get arrested after he did so, and kept doing it. Sheesh. If that really was the case, it sounds like she was the “pervert” they should have been arresting, not the men. I have a hard time believing they would have just pulled their penis out and waved it around for the hell of it if there hadn’t been a flirty topless woman asking them to do so.

  2. You know, at first I thought “entrapment”, too, but then I realized, it’s still pretty dumb to whip out one’s willy in public, faced with a flirty topless woman or not.

    Besides, isn’t the whole point of topfreedom supposed to be that breasts needn’t be sexual? =)

    If the woman was working as part of law enforcement, I think entrapment might be reasonably found here. Unfortunately for the firefighter, she wasn’t, and, legally speaking, only law enforcement and their agents can entrap someone.

    But, fair or not, let’s not forget that there’s no way he should have pulled out his penis in public.

  3. I hate the way the headlines for this case call him a “pervert.” Not that I’m saying what he did was legally okay, but what’s so perverse about responding to the flirtations of an attractive topless woman? It’s not as if he were trolling for children, or whipping it out in front of an animal.

  4. I was going to say, “This is totally false. I’m not a fireman!”

    … but then I saw that the fireman was the 2nd guy. Carry on.

  5. I have some qualms about this. I don’t want to encourage
    this kind of activity but I am under the impression that the police are hidden and that there is no one else in sight but the topless woman. Under this set of circumstances doesn’t he have a resonable expectation of privacy? He is responding to a request by by a (presumed) adult. He is not gratuitously exposing himself to her.

  6. Frank, if the police are hiding so he can’t see them, but they can see him, there could have been kids, say preteen boys, hiding in those places. And if the cops hadn’t been there, boys probably would be, unless topless women are common in that area.



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