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Oka cracks down on public sex: The measure of a man

The measure of a man

Oka beach: But the breeches were never breached

Oka beach visitor detained for adding his wood to the lot

The Sûreté du Québec and security guards at Oka National Park charge some Montrealers are taking outdoor recreation a tad too far by having "public" sex up in the forest behind Oka beach. The gay west end of the beach, which can be reached by foot in less than an hour from the parking lot, has long been a nudist beach.

But on sunny days trekkers may also come across gay men having sex in the bushes.

For one gay couple visiting from Vermont this summer, Ernie McLeod and Kevin Moss, the cops are also taking things a little too far. On August 6, Moss was taking a nature stroll when he spotted two men having sex. When he became erect himself, an Oka security guard armed with "industrial-size binoculars" caught him, despite the fact Moss never exposed himself.

"When I saw [the guard] coming I started walking to the beach," Moss told Hour this week. "But he came directly to me and the first thing he said was, ‘It’s forbidden to have an erection.’ I thought that’d be the end of it. But he asked for identification and escorted me back to Ernie. I was partly annoyed and amused by it – they were actually going to make a big deal over this, especially compared to what we had seen [in the forest] in the past hour. We saw much more overtly sexual things than a woody. Plus, the entire beach was nude."

For Moss’s life partner Ernie McLeod, being escorted off the beach to their car was humiliating.

"We simply got a warning, but the price we paid for not getting a ticket was being escorted out," McLeod recalls. "The walk of shame out of Oka as the trooper walked [Moss] down 45 minutes to the car. I refused to walk with him because I didn’t want to be seen."

Later, the guard – who identified himself as Paul Junior Chartrand – escorted them out to the highway on his ATV. "We were stunned into silence," McLeod says. "It was kind of shocking to us."

Oka National Park spokesperson Lise Duquet told Hour that park security only patrols access to the park. "The SQ pass on the beach about every half hour," Duquet says. "They also take care of patrolling the woods because [exposing oneself] is a criminal offence."

But Lt. Michel Lapointe, SQ director for the Two Mountains region, says Chartrand must be an Oka National Park security guard since he has no SQ agents by that name.

"We also have an SQ squad on bicycles," Lapointe says. "Oka beach is an isolated area so going by car isn’t an option. We don’t patrol the area every day because it depends on how busy we are. We are conscious that this is a nudist area. But visitors must remember that indecency will not be tolerated. Public sex is illegal."

But is merely getting a hard-on against the law?

Lapointe laughs, then says, "There was an arousal. Our mandate is to prevent sexual assaulters in the area. The people who go to the beach are good people, but we have a mandate to prevent any indecent acts from taking place, regardless of whether they are straight or gay. The law applies to everybody regardless of their sexual orientation."

But Ernie McLeod and Kevin Moss, tourists who spend each summer up north in Quebec, say they may never return.

"I will think twice about going back to Oka," McLeod says. "It’s a bizarre policy, especially if they are enforcing it at the whim of an officer. We’ve seen straight sex and gay sex whenever we’ve been there. I’ve seen straight couples having sex on the beach. This just seems to be an ad hoc policy that we never expected in a liberated place like Quebec."

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