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'Outing' of gay sex sting suspects could 'destroy lives'

Activists slam media for identifying 18 men arrested in LA restroom
Protests over naming and shaming of men arrested in restroom in Manhatten beach in LA

Activists in Los Angeles say the naming and shaming of 18 men arrested in an undercover gay sex sting could 'destroy lives'.

The LA Gay and Lesbian Center has slammed newspapers and TV channels, including the Daily Breeze and CBS2, for publishing the names, mugshots and birthdates of suspects arrested in a Manhatten Beach public restroom last week.

Leaders of the center say the coverage of the story could lead to public humiliation and claim one of the men attempted suicide as a result.

The suspects have yet to be charged and the center's chief of staff, Darrel Cummings, told The LA Times that news organizations should use more discretion in such cases.

'Naturally we don’t condone illegal activity of any kind,' Cummings said in a statement.

'These men haven’t been proven guilty and historically, charges such as those leveled against them have involved police entrapment.

'Publishing their photos serves no purpose other than to humiliate and destroy their lives.'

The sting occurred after lifeguards told police the Marine Avenue beach bathroom was popular for sexual encounters.

Undercover officers posing as men seeking sex arrested the men, who were booked for investigation of offenses ranging from lewd conduct to indecent exposure.

City Attorney Roxanne Diaz says police commonly release identifying information of arrestees.

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