The Sexist

D.C. Police Describe “Men’s Parties” Location: Used Condoms, Glory Holes, and a Crucifix

On Wednesday, the District of Columbia filed suit to shut down "Men's Parties," the underground male sex club operating at 1618 14th Street NW. The lawsuit's three defendants—David J. Butler, 1618 14th Street LLC, and the D.C. Wrestling Club—face charges of "opperation of a business without a basic business license" and "use of premises for business without appropriate certificate of occupancy."

The initial documents in the case offer a glimpse into the club's secretive activities, as well as additional information concerning the fatal accident that occurred inside the club on the morning of October 4th.

According to court documents, D.C. police responded to the report of "an unconscious person at the address" at 5:18 a.m. Detective Thomas Smith, a former Prostitution Enforcement Unit cop, was called to the scene to investigate a potential homicide. During the course of the investigation, Smith met Butler, "who identified himself as the President of a private club, doing business as the D.C. Wrestling Club."

Butler told Smith that he hosts parties where "men come into the premises, make a donation, and socialize." By the time Smith entered the property, Butler was accompanied by "more than twenty patrons and staff." Three other staff members identified themselves to Smith, according to documents: Jerome Goodman, Juan Adams, and Ralph 'Jay' Rushing.

According to Smith's affidavit, the activities of the club were obvious: "Strewn throughout the entire location are used condoms, empty condom wrappers, paper towels, cloth towels and other indicia of frequent, non-discrete sexual behavior." What, no snacks?

The affidavit offered a full inventory of the club's amenities:

First Floor: "A lounge area immediately inside the front entrance" which includes "two sets of lockers" and couches. Also on the first floor, "separated by curtains, are three wooden stalls containg 'glory holes' used for sexual activity" The floor also contains a "powder room and a linen closet."

Second Floor:
An additional "lounge area with several counches and a mounted television set" sits on the club's top floor. The second floor also yields a "kitchenette and full bathroom." Behind the lounge are "sexually-oriented materials" including a "sex swing, large wooden cross that permits an individual to be bound to the structure, and a bench." The second floor also includes a bedroom "reportedly belonging to Ralph 'Jay' Rushing," and another bench.

Basement: Two sets of stairs lead to this floor (the accident victim was found at the foot of one staircase). In the basement are"thirteen bed spaces separated by built-in wooden partitions and dark curtains," each containing a "mattress and trash can."

  • Mike Riggs

    At least the place had trashcans.

  • Pingback: Steep Price: Gay Sex Club Closes After Fatal Injury - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • mdesus

    ok so the fact that someone actually lived there is really strange.

  • damnMissedAnotherParty

    safe sex... ok. dead person...ok. being bound to a cross, big deal. i'm not getting it. what the fuck is the story?

  • Dayid

    One thing I found odd about this article is "seeing condoms everywhere!" Nobody who goes here uses condoms lol.

  • Dayid

    This "Hess" chick who writes for the city paper is always out on witch-hunts doing stories about gay men and sex. She seems to be very obsessed with "gloryholes."

    Any secret you'd like to share with us Amanda?

  • Truth Hurts

    If the city is shutting down establishments for operating without basic business licences or certificates of occupancy, that's good. Just make sure to nail the 500 other violators. If it's only going after sex clubs, as the court docs suggest, then be honest about the objective. If it's a possible homicide, however, then wtf? Assign homicide investigators and report back if/when there's a case.

  • LoganCirclite

    WHAT? No granite counter tops? Reason enough to shut this down!

  • ManOpener

    And I thought the video of Andrew Sullivan b'tching on The Blade website was self loathing.

    How degrading can it get in Washington in 2009? Societal prejudice can only be blamed so far, self esteem is an inside job. What level of esteem would allow one's sex life to be degraded to the point of a public mattress in a dank, dark, filthy, dungeon like basement, behind a ragged curtain, by a garbage can with a slimey slop of aged santorum sticking to everything.

    I guess the answer is in the numbers. Some percentage of the LGBT community is still stuck in a 5th rate status mentality, enough to fill the coffers here. My guess is 90% of the clientele is from the suburbs.

    There is no way in h'll this will ever reopen in Logan Circle or probably anywhere in DC. They should save the money they might spend on fighting that.

  • Adam

    Funny- ManOpener has clearly been to this club (and so have I a few times many years ago when it was on Florida Avenue)- he describes the place to a tee, including details that do not appear in the article. After getting my rocks off there a few times, it lost its edge for me and I realized it wasn't my scene- I'll bet countless gay and bi men in the DC area have done the same. Many more have been there just out of curiosity.

    At least the city is going after the place for operating without a business license and some unsafe conditions; I remember about 17 years ago they raided the Follies, a similar establishment, and arrested all the patrons there on charges of "attempted sodomy"- it was nothing but anti-gay harassment- and all the charges were dropped after the people's names were printed in the Post. Go after the proprietors if they are creating unsafe conditions or evading taxes, but otherwise let the patrons have their fun- they're mostly only harming themselves, if anyone at all. The same could be said of most late night bars.

    Underground sexclubs and bordellos have probably been around ever since humans invented cities, so the sensationalism of this article is a bit silly. I guess uptight people have been around a long time too, though.

  • ManOpener

    Wrong Adam, never been inside the joint since it was a tailor shop. Took my description from the article and observations made as a neighbor over the years. Just guessed about the santorum sticking to everthing!

    Never been in its sister act, Crew Club, either! I have been to bath houses but prefer them clean and with lots of amenities. Too bad we are all being ripped off by these 5th and 15th rate establishments when there re really reat places in Chicago, LA, etc.

    These local places are just holes!

  • Dave

    What is santorum?

  • Dan

    Santorum 1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.

  • Rick Mangus

    You guys just don't get it! You all are crying like babies, "Your spoiling our fun", grow-up and act responsible for once in your pathetic lives.

    This city has the highest rate of HIV in the US, as a matter of fact we rivial some countries. Lets not forget other STD's like Sypholis and Gonorrhea which is on the rise again and Hepatitis.

    This re-mines me back in 1990 when all you queens bitched and complained about getting beat-up and robed in the 'P' street beach area, saying, "the police don't care because we our gay", so the park police had some of the growth cut away, and sure enought you queens starting bitching about that action as well, dam if you do, dam if you don't I guess.

    It say something about one's self esteem if you find sex in a filthy shit hole or in public to be enjoyable and appropriate.

    Let's now talk about the people that exploite you, exploitation another self esteem issue. Let's talk about these people who run these shit holes like the one at 1618 14Th Street, David Butler and Steven Jaffe, the slum lord from Potomac, Md. and let's not forget, Bob Segel who use to own the 'Glorious Health and Amusements' aka 'Glory Hole'. Not one of the before mention persons, ever contributed one dime to our community, and I know this for a fact! No support of 'Brother Help Thy Self', the 'Whitman Walker Clinic' or any other GLBT orgainizations I think that speaks volumes of what they think about us.

    Now some of you have a problem with the reporter of these stories, Amanda Hess. Ms. Hess enbodies the best in journalism, she get's out there and digs for information, not like those at the 'Blade' who's news stories come from the wire service and that's it, that is lazy jornalism and who have also buried this story on page 39 because 'Men's Parties' took out every week a half page ad.

  • Adolf

    Gasp. A sex club? In DC?? And gay, no less.

  • J

    sorry - but anyone who could defend a place like this has a problem. Thank you Ms. Hess for exposing one of the reasons men don't reach 40 in this town. Places like these should not exist- safe, clean places should. You can do the same stuff in a holiday in or marriott (minus the crudcifix I guess).

  • hard truth

    @ Truth Hurts:
    There's not enough capacity in the DC Gov to shut down every place that doesn't have a BBL or CofO. So, naturally, the ones that call attention to themselves get the attention. And, *DUH*, having someone DIE at your business is a sure fire way of calling attention to yourself.
    On the side, the real chronic problem with that place was the cocktail of drugs + unprotected sex.
    Deny it all you want, guys. Everyone knows better.
    It's over.

  • Dan

    News for "3" - Men must live past 40 in the suburbs at least because otherwise this hole would have had no business, 98% of the crowd was well north of 50 and also mostly appeared to be anti-bathing.

    If you want to have that toxic cocktail of drugs and unprotected sex with the under 50 (but not much) set, Crew Club is the dingey hole for you!

  • proballdc

    This is the top news story in the District for City Paper?

    It does seem surreal that in 2009 we are still having this conversation about the dangers of anonymous and unprotected sex. It is like running through a minefield waiting to be blown up.

    I won't judge the patrons of these kinds of places. I am sure some are there just for the thrill of it, leading otherwise completely normal lives.

    However, the District DOES have the highest HIV infection rate in the nation and I surmise that at least some of those who attend these type of "discrete" sex venues are undercover married men with children thereby putting their wives at risk for infection.

    Closing those this place may have been a blessing in disguise to it's patrons.

  • Pingback: What Exactly Happens At A “Wrestling Club”? - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: “Men’s Parties” 911 Caller: “They Didn’t Want to Call the Police” - The Sexist - Washington City Paper