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LGBT advocates: Sheriff Judd outed trans women

Posted at 6:33 PM, Mar 01, 2016

Advocates in the LGBT community are accusing Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd of crossing the line when talking about a recent prostitution bust by outing four transgender women.

The incident in question occurred on Dec. 14 during a press conference called "Operation Naughty Not Nice." Deputies arrested more than 100 people -- johns and prostitutes -- in the undercover sting.

Four of them identified themselves as transgender.

"Touting an arrestee's transgender status is not just mean spirited, it's irresponsible in the extreme," said Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C.

Sheriff Judd tells ABC Action News he never outed anyone.

"They outed themselves. They advertised, with their pictures, that they were transsexuals. They outed themselves," Judd said.

The sheriff went back to the evidence room and showed us the four personal ads posted in the "transsexual category" on backpage.com.

ABC Action News is not showing their names or pictures -- but rest assured, you can see more than just their faces.

"What did they think was going to occur? Like, duh!" he said.

Advocates in the transgender community say it's really not the job of law enforcement to air criminal's sensitive gender identity.

"It's not part of their job and it doesn't protect or serve anyone. It only ruins lives," Tobin said. "I think it also reflects just how dangerous it is for transgender people."

Some are now calling on the county to reprimand the sheriff for his actions.

"I get the impression they want free publicity, and that's what this is about. Well guess what, they got it," Judd said.