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Chickens and Bulls

Photo Credit IC Rapoport

New York City detective James McDonnell was looking at a good collar. In July of 1965, a man claiming to be a detective was at the western union office at grand central in the company of a 14-year old runaway. The boy’s father suspected something fishy when asked to wire twice the amount necessary to fly the boy home. McDonnell drove down and quickly figured that the sharply dressed man was impersonating a cop and called for back-up. The panicked perp had a record of child molestation and promised McDonnell a much bigger story if he’d go easy on him...that story revealed a nationwide extortion ring shaking down prominent closeted gay men desperate to buy their way out of a potentially public jam…it involved unlocked a nationwide investigation by the FBI and the NYPD, the first case of law enforcement working on behalf of gay men. Writer William McGowan turned up some new details on the largely unknown story and wrote about it in an article for slate called “The Chickens and The Bulls.”

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