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FIRST ON 3: Former UNCW Asst. AD arrested for soliciting sex at Hugh MacRae Park

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Former UNCW Asst. AD arrested for soliciting sex at Hugh MacRae Park

A former UNCW assistant athletic director is accused of soliciting sex in a county park. 39-year-old Thomas McKnight was arrested at Hugh MacRae park for committing crime against nature. It happened April 1 in broad daylight.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office says McKnight approached a male undercover officer in a parking lot at the park just after 3 p.m. Three other people were arrested the same day on similar charges.

"We have particularly been targeting the nighttime hours for vandalism and other things," New Hanover County parks director Jim McDaniel said. "So I've actually been pleased by this because we are literally driving them to a different time period and something that is easily caught. So I look at this as a huge step in keeping our parks safe."

McKnight was an assistant athletic director for facilities and event management at the university. He worked there for a little more than a year before resigning last week.

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Hugh MacGay park

Anyone who is from this area knows that this has been an ongoing problem for many years at Hugh MacGay park, in the past they would signal each other by driving throught the park during the day flashing their headlights on and off, then they would park meet and go in the bathrooms over by the infant area. I stopped taking my kids their a long time ago. After the big sting operation a few years ago it toned down a little, but it still goes on evidentally. Every now and then a public official or someone well known in the community gets caught, they step up patrol for a little while and then eventually it goes right back to the gay haven. Ridiculous, get a room guys. Motel 6 is cheap!!!

Closeted Gays

Closeted gays go to fringe areas, such as public parks, to pick up sexual partners. I am sure that Thomas McKnight had to hide his sexual identity around his UNCW colleagues.

Instead of meeting partners in gay bars (there are at least three in town), or other gay venues--a local church, advertised gay social gatherings, etc.--these closeted individuals seek anonymity in an anonymous setting.

Being gay still carries such a stigma that single men who want to appear straight and married men (married for apperance's sake) seek sexual gratification in public areas that are not specifically designated as "gay."

They fear the exposure and outing that a gay bar or other venue would reveal. Sad, but true.

As for public parks, gays may meet a partner there and drive to other locations for sex. The park is rarely used for this purpose.

THE Dubs

Places like this exist for both straight and gay people in every cluster of civilization on earth... For straight people their relationships are openly accepted so these spots aren't as necessary (but they do still exist). Gay people hide their relationships because some people in some places considered them "crimes against humanity". In Boston, one of the most traveled parks in the city (the Back Bay Fens) is noted for rampant male homosexual activity at night. So much so that outreach groups wonder the park at night handing out condoms and encouraging the men to find some privacy. When a couple does get caught having or soliciting sex in the park, they are usually charged with indecent exposure or prostitution if applicable. Yes I know, in this case he was arrested at 3 pm, and I have never seen anything graphic or obvious in the Back Bay Fens before 11 or so. Should he have been arrested? Most obviously YES... but not for "Crimes against humanity". It seams as though he was trapped by a cop disguised as a male prostitute, I believe that crime is called "soliciting a prostitution". By charging people with these arcane crimes titled to instigate hatred and disgust towards homosexuals, instead of the true crime, society encourages these places to exist.

Ultimately this story is hilarious. If he was straight it would still be hilarious. Wasn't the Elliot Spetzer story hilarious? Maybe UNCW is flummoxed with the head coach search because he was the leading candidate. Oh Well... another day in the existence of North Carolina's least favorite safety school. Seriously, how can UNCW compete athletically or academically without leadership in either rhelm. Leave the CAA, focus on academics, change the schools name, then try at sports again in like 10 or 20 years; cause all you got right now is an open spot if the kids don't get into to UNC, NCSU, UNCC, ECU, App. State, or any private school (if they could afford it).

Sorry, it's true.
-A Northeasterner

First of all, Hugh MacRae

First of all, Hugh MacRae Park does not exist for the reason that you SUGGEST!!! It is a park! It is there for people to play ball, exercise, and picnic - NOT TO LOOK FOR A SEXUAL PARTNER!!!

Secondly, he was not TRAPPED by an undercover police officer. He solicited sexual relations to someone that happened to be there doing his job - so he was arrested! That is not ENTRAPMENT!

Last - I see NOTHING hilarious about this story. Nothing at all!!! Granted, UNCW may have some issues with the athletic department, but the school has come a long way, and maybe you have not experienced how difficult UNCW admissions can be, even with excellent grades and high SAT scores. UNCW is no longer a party school near the beach, but a great school, with many fabulous, desirable programs. It is just as difficult to get into UNCW as the other better schools in the state, and don't compare ECU with UNC or NCSU. ECU is probably one of the easiest schools to get into that you mentioned, but UNCW is no longer a "last resort" college and has not been for some time!

Perhaps you should go back to the "northeast"!

That's simply not true

ANYONE can get into UNCC.

Way to Go UNCW!!

Way to go UNCW!! This whole athletic department is rediculous.....Get the AD the heck out of there and hire someone who is qualified. All she is there for is to get her ticket punched anyways.

I have known this man and his family for many, many years and

there is something terribly terribly wrong with this picture. This person is not a danger to children nor to the public as portrayed by this "story." I think this smells a bit like police entrapment to me. Nothing like healthy homophobia to make the world go'round.

Lovely day in he park

A lot of people go to the park to blow off their stresses of the day but not literally ! Hugh MacRae Park is known as a haven for homosexual activity therefore I never visit this park with my family. Another black eye for UNCW and an embarrassment to alumni. Maybe this is why UNCW can not find a basketball coach because they are tied up in their extracurricular activities .Why was he not at work on a Thursday afternoon at 3 pm ?

WoW!!! Nothing like integrity!

Just the kind of leaders we need in our university system. Will it ever get cleaned up? Where do they get these sleazeballs from?

Way to go Tommy, thanks for tarnishing the university's reputation and throwing egg in the face of your superiors!

Now, for your next job, practice these words. "Paper or plastic, sir?"


Sadly, this happened, but... it had NOTHING TO DO WITH CHILDREN! He is an adult, and should have been SMARTER, yes, but it WAS NOT A CRIME AGAINST NATURE!!! If he picked up a chic, it would have been cool, huh?
What does any of this have to do with Children? WE ARE ALL HUMAN. ALL THE SAME. It was STUPID, but not against Nature. How far backward are the LAWS in this town???
It was NATURE CALLING. He should have afforded an appropriate venue. The Hilton would have been much cheeper for sure.
Get off his back! He will have to pay for his mistakes. MYOB! It's 2010, learn some compassion.


Wonder if we can get all elected government people the same job training when we vote them out....

What would've happened if he

What would've happened if he was approached by a female????? Nothing I'm sure!

to go tommy go

being gay isn't a crime but approaching people in a park asking for it is. Bet you would feel different if it was your son he approached.

I guess Tommy...

wasn't in line to be the next coach.


Who cares! This is his personal life and being gay isnt a crime.... To hell with the WPD and NHC sheriff! Go get em Tommy!

R u kidding me, its not your

R u kidding me, its not your personal life when u go to a public park where there are children and try to get sex, being gay isn't a crime but doing it in public certainly is. Hats off to the law enforements that try and stop this craziness. what is the world coming to, there are no morals anymore. anyone that doesn't see anything wrong with this needs to go look in the mirror and see what kind of person is looking back at them

Hugh MacRae Park

Well, it is not illegal to be gay, but it is illegal to solicit sex - that is a crime! Also, Hugh MacRae Park is a FAMILY park and should be a safe place for families and children. My son plays ball there and there are times when our boys have to use the restrooms, during practice and games. I should not have to worry about the safety of our children walking just a few feet away during a baseball practice session or game. Law enforcement needs to continue to patrol the park - Run these loosers to some other location, other than Hugh MacRae Park!

It isn't a personal life when you solicit!

I care for one!!! I don't want some homosexual pervert soliciting me for sex in a public park where my children play. Have you fallen off your crooked rocker? WPD and NHC Sheriffs are doing their job and a great one at that trying to keep sleazy scumbags like him from lurking in public and preying on innocent people.

On top of that, the man is a public figure in our hometown University and he has no better self-control than that? I thought that was what the shady XXX video stores were for. I'll bet his mom is really proud to see his MUG SHOT on the front page of our local newspaper!!!

From your despicable attitude against our LEO's, I suspect either your MUG has already been displayed for similar charges...or very soon will be!!! That sort of disdain doesn't just appear out of thin air without provocation.

No....However soliciting

No....However soliciting sex, also known as prostitution, is a crime. But you're right. Since he's gay I guess that gives him a free pass to break the law. Honestly......

Keep away from parks

 14-177. Crime against nature

If any person shall commit the crime against nature, with mankind or beast, he shall be punished as a Class I felon.

It might not be a crime to be gay, but it is a crime to commit gay sex. I don't care if he wants to put feathers in his hair and swing from a ceiling fan, keep away from parks.

GoTommyGo sounds like he/she must have been busted in the past for doing the foot tap or otherwise soliciting for gay sex.



so how about next time your

so how about next time your robbed or need law enforcement, call a crackhead... remember you will need us WAY BEFORE WE NEED YOU

Um, no genius, being gay

Um, no genius, being gay isn't a crime, however, PROSTITUTION IS!


Get A Room Idiots!

News flash

Being gay is not a crime. However, the sex acts committed by homosexual men and women ARE!!! Deal with it. Crimes against nature.

On the other side, what he does behind closed doors is his business. It is not newsworthy.

And "to hell with WPD and NHC Sheriff", remember that when you're a crime victim.

Actually, according to

Actually, according to Lawrence vs. Texas, the US Supreme Court has ruled it is NOT a crime and thus he should NOT be charged under the statute that has been nullified by SCOTUS. I don't see how they are going to keep this charge, but it will be interesting. And since when did the thinking of a crime become the "crime" itself??? This must mean that the deputy/officer did indeed himself participate in the act. Something to think about.

"Actually, according to

"Actually, according to Lawrence vs. Texas, the US Supreme Court has ruled it is NOT a crime and thus he should NOT be charged under the statute that has been nullified by SCOTUS."

This is a another case of law enforcement not caring about the law, but their own narrow views. Tommy should be able to sue the county and the DA for bringing the charges. Apparently there is some ulterior motive for arresting someone for a law that was already ruled unconstitutional. Sue them and recover damages for unlawful arrest.

he he

.....well at least the department has diversity.

And that is where it (the

And that is where it (the "diveristy") stops.