In his new autobiography "Confess", JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford revealed that he was once arrested for cruising Venice Beach toilets (in a case of police entrapment) in search of sex, yet the cops didn't release the information to the media because they were PRIEST fans. The incident took place six years before George Michael was outed when he was arrested cruising a bathroom in Beverly Hills in 1998, the same year Halford came out voluntarily.
While promoting "Confess", Halford recalled to Yahoo! Entertainment how he was hoping to hook up with a gay lover when he was arrested as part of a police sting operation and taken into custody.
"[I was doing] this thing that we call cottaging in the U.K.; it's call cruising over here," Rob said (see video below). "And some gay men choose to do this thing where you go to a bathroom and you try and have a little bit of fun with another guy that's there for the same reason as you.
"The incident that we're talking about happened to me on Venice Beach," he continued. "I was living in Marina Del Dey at the time, and for my daily exercise, I'd get on my bicycle and go all the way up to Malibu and back, with a stop [laughs] in bathrooms. You've gotta laugh, because if you don't laugh… whatever. So I stopped, and I go in there. It's quite busy. I'm sitting on the loo, as we call it, and this really hot guy comes in. He's across from me and he's washing his hands. There was a mirror, and he's looking at me and kind of nodding and winking. And I'm, 'Oooh.' 'Hello.' 'Hello.' 'Over here.' And then he turns around and he looks at me and I look at him and he kind of acknowledges me and I acknowledge him. And then the next minute, he pulls out his badge and says, 'You're under arrest for indecent behavior.'"
According to Halford, "so many things" went through his mind right after his arrest. "They took me and put me in a little room that was behind the bathrooms in Venice Beach, and there was already, like, five or six guys in there," he recalled. "We all sat there for a couple or three hours chained to the bench. And then they took us in a van to some police station — I still don't know where it was. It was miles away; we seemed to drive forever. At the police station, I was still chained to the bench. We were all chained to the bench. And I saw these feet walk past me, and this guy pulls my baseball cap off. And he goes, 'Rob.' I go, 'Yes.' He goes, 'What are you doing here?' I'm, like, 'I've done something really dumb and stupid.' 'Come with me.' So internally, I'm thinking, 'Oh, great. I'm free.' No. They put me in a cell by myself, and then for the next hour, every cop in the police department came by the little glass window [and went], 'Yeah! PRIEST!'
"I didn't get off with it," Halford added. "I paid a fine, which I should have; I was put on probation, which I should have; I pled guilty, which I should have. And the police were really, really cool. 'Cause you get the TMZ at the time calling all the police departments [and going], 'You got any stuff?' And they very, very courteously kept that out of the press.
"It's something I have to talk about simply because it's poignant. It's kind of sad that I had to go to such extreme dangerous measures to get some kind of intimate physical contact."
"Confess" arrived on September 29 via Hachette Books. The book has been described by the U.K.'s The Telegraph as "one of the most candid and surprising memoirs of the year."