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The Ariston Bathhouse Raid of 1903: Character, Class, and the Legal Construction of Sodomy
Unformatted Document Text:  As the New York Times noted, some of those caught in the raid were “men of professions and of high social standing.” 41 The second character-based defense of the Ariston defendants attempted to align normative sexual practices with economic wealth. By convincing jurors of the high social status of their clients, defense attorney tried to secure their perceived respectability and, therefore, their innocence. Social class played a large role in the defense strategy of George Galbert, an architect for Carrere and Hastings, leaders in the Beaux Arts movement in architecture and design. Galbert was accused of engaging in illegal sexual practices with Bennett in the northwesterly cooling room. During the raid, Galbert hid in one of the rooms and locked the door behind him. As Inspector Walsh walked through the premises with a team of police officers, he stopped at the locked door and instructed whoever was inside to leave. According to Galbert’s account, he asked “What is the matter?” and someone yelled “Well, come out here, Maude, and you will see what is the matter.” 42 When Galbert emerged, another officer said “Oh, here is the indignant lady.” 43 Galbert cursed at the officer and then ran across the couches toward the doorway until the police restrained him. During his opening statement, Charles LeBarbier, Galbert’s defense attorney, promised jurors “a galaxy of weighty, prominent, important businessmen of New York on the question of character.” 44 LeBarbier called architect John Carrere, along with four other character witnesses to attest to Galbert’s moral health. John Carrere gained notoriety by serving as the main architect of the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo New York. Galbert’s attorney implored jurors to remember their defenses of Galbert’s character: “Now, gentlemen, I importune you, speaking to you as men, I importune you, before you reach a conclusion, not to treat lightly the testimony of those men.” 45 He argued that good character “is a good name. It 21

Authors: Donovan, Brian.
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background image
As
the
New York Times noted, some of those caught in the raid were “men of professions
and of high social standing.”
The second character-based defense of the Ariston defendants
attempted to align normative sexual practices with economic wealth. By convincing jurors of the
high social status of their clients, defense attorney tried to secure their perceived respectability
and, therefore, their innocence.
Social class played a large role in the defense strategy of George Galbert, an architect for
Carrere and Hastings, leaders in the Beaux Arts movement in architecture and design. Galbert
was accused of engaging in illegal sexual practices with Bennett in the northwesterly cooling
room. During the raid, Galbert hid in one of the rooms and locked the door behind him. As
Inspector Walsh walked through the premises with a team of police officers, he stopped at the
locked door and instructed whoever was inside to leave. According to Galbert’s account, he
asked “What is the matter?” and someone yelled “Well, come out here, Maude, and you will see
what is the matter.”
When Galbert emerged, another officer said “Oh, here is the indignant
lady.”
Galbert cursed at the officer and then ran across the couches toward the doorway until
the police restrained him.
During his opening statement, Charles LeBarbier, Galbert’s defense attorney, promised
jurors “a galaxy of weighty, prominent, important businessmen of New York on the question of
character.”
LeBarbier called architect John Carrere, along with four other character witnesses
to attest to Galbert’s moral health. John Carrere gained notoriety by serving as the main
architect of the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo New York. Galbert’s attorney
implored jurors to remember their defenses of Galbert’s character: “Now, gentlemen, I
importune you, speaking to you as men, I importune you, before you reach a conclusion, not to
treat lightly the testimony of those men.”
He argued that good character “is a good name. It
21


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