Fairfield is a destination for illegal public sex, internet forums say

FAIRFIELD — Two Fairfield sites, and more in nearby towns, are being advertised on the internet as popular locations for public sexual activity.

The Grace Richardson Open Area and McDonald’s in the service plaza off Interstate-95 are both listed on multiple websites as common destinations for people to go in search of public sex.

Fairfield police began identifying these sites a few weeks ago, when they received several complaints of lewd and inappropriate behavior in Grace Richardson Open Space area at the intersection of Congress Street and Morehouse Highway.

This led to the arrests of six people last week on charges of both breach of peace and public indecency. Charges were dropped against an octogenarian couple, and the cases against four other men are currently pending in Superior Court.

While police emphasized that they have no problems with or judgements on people’s sexual preferences, legal issues arise when lewd activities are performed in public, as this often classifies them as public indecency or breach of peace.

Connecticut law defines public indecency as the performance in a public space of “an act of sexual intercourse; a lewd exposure of the body with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of the person; or a lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person.”

Breach of peace laws classify as illegal, among other things, when a person in public “uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture.”

An internet investigation revealed that Grace Richardson Park is popular among public sex forums, specifically those catering to the LGBTQ community. Hubs included the websites “Cruising Gays City Hookup Guide” and “Men 4 Sex Now,” as well as “Squirt,” a popular website and app that describes itself as a place "where men meet other men for sex, cruising, hookups, dating, fun and friendship."

Both Squirt and Cruising Gays say that the park is busiest in the daytime, particularly during lunchtime and after work. Cruising Gays writes that sexual activity is popular in both the area’s parking lots and trails.

As the park is a public space owned by the town of Fairfield since 1966, the performance of sexual activities advertised at these sites is illegal under Connecticut’s statutes.

The park’s Squirt page became active after last week’s arrests, with a warning posted to the page and many comments recommending people stay away due to police monitoring.

Police have said they will continue to investigate potential public indecency and breach of peace misdemeanors at the site.

“The Fairfield Police Department will continue to monitor and address quality of life concerns in all the open space areas within the town,” said Capt. Robert Kalamaras.

The McDonald’s at the service plaza off Interstate-95 Northbound is also listed on many of these websites. Descriptions read that it is busiest late in the evenings, particularly on weekends. Cruising Gays says that the bathroom and parking lot are both popular sites for sexual activity.

According to property records, the state of Connecticut owns the service plaza, making it a public space in which the performance of sexual acts is illegal.

On Aug. 20, someone posted that the area is under surveillance: “Not safe,” wrote a commenter. “Police monitor now.”

Intersate-95 is under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut State Police. According to Trooper Josue Dorelus, the State Police patrols the highway regularly, but it is not actively investigating that site as of now.

“We encourage members of the public if they see something to report it to police officers,” Dorelus said.

Internet forums also identify popular meet-up sites for public sexual activity in neighboring town, including Sherwood Island State Park in Westport and Beardsley Park in Bridgeport.