Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mercer Court, New Jersey - May 8, 1896

I just came across a case of three "tramps" indicted on a charge of sodomy in New Jersey in 1896. The two witnesses were 17 year old boys who had run away from home and were found with the tramps when their camp was raided. The boys said that the men had forced themselves upon them. While the stories of the boys could be true, it seems interesting that they had run away from home and were caught inflagrante delicto with the men before they made any accusations against them. Unfortunately, I don't have enough information on any of these people to find additional documents on them at this time.

Here are the full original articles as I have found them:

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey)

May 8, 1896

In Mercer Court Today

In Mercer Court today Stephen Murphy, James Barry and Charles Conners, three tramps, were put on trial for sodomy. They were arrested a few nights ago in a raid made by Constable Ford, Detectives Pilger and Applegate and Patrolman McCarty on a lot of tramps at Coalport, and in which raid several shots were exchanged. Witnesses against defendants were John Dorney and Frank Roderick, two seventeen-year-old boys, who had run away from their home and met the tramps at Coalport. The boys testified that the defendants were guilty and said they used force, sending one boy on an errand while the other was abused.

May 12, 1896

The three tramps tried in Mercer Court last week on a charge of sodomy were acquitted yesterday by Judge Woodruff, who had doubts as to their guilt.

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