Groped in a Bar


After the bar check at the Rainbow Lounge, the news that a patron was charged with assault after groping a police officer was deemed to be a “gay panic defense” by activists. Some angrily demanded to know why no one was charged with assault if it was alleged to have happened. Others demanded doctors reports proving that assault occurred. These reactions show both an ignorance of the law and of the charges levied against patrons of the Rainbow Lounge.

The charge of assault does not require a showing of injury in order to be upheld. Rather, any offensive contact knowingly committed can be charged as assault. The Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 22.01 provides:

Sec. 22.01. ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or

(3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against:

(1) a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;
Intoxication is not a defense against assault, nor does it reduce culpability. The Texas Penal Code, Title 2, Chapter 8, Section 8.04 states:

Sec. 8.04. INTOXICATION. (a) Voluntary intoxication does not constitute a defense to the commission of crime.
The act of making contact with another inappropriately is deliberate and therefore cannot be considered accidental.

One bar patron, Chad Gibson, was arrested for both public intoxication and assault. After falling and injuring himself, he was released into the custody of EMTs in order to be treated for alcohol poisoning and the after-affects of hitting his head on concrete while falling. Police records indicate that the citations for public intoxication and assault remain.

Many bar patrons have claimed that they never saw any groping occur. They need to consider these questions:
  • Were you personally watching Chad Gibson the entire time in the bar?
  • Were you standing in close proximity to where Chad Gibson made contact with the TABC agent?
  • Could you have seen contact made in the limited amount of inches that separated Mr. Gibson and the agent as the former passed the latter in a hallway?

Given the layout of the bar, it would be unlikely for more than one or two other patrons to answer "yes" to even one of the above questions. Yet dozens have stated that it didn't happen. We all know, however, how accurate eyewitness statements are.

Disclaimer: The information posted on this site has not been prepared or approved by any police agency, police association, or legal or law enforcement professional. It has been compiled through research of already available information and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as findings of an investigation.

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