Attempted sodomy

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Attempted sodomy was a charge sometimes brought against men suspected of homosexual acts, given that sodomy itself was difficut to prove. Attempted sodomy was re-classified as an "infamous crime" under the Threatening Letters Act 1825 which dealt with blackmail.[1] The Offences against the Person Act 1861 laid down specific penalties for attempted sodomy and indecent assault.

Men convicted of attempted sodomy included Rev John Church in 1816 and the painter Simeon Solomon in 1873.

After the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, the new and more all-embracing offence of "gross indecency" could be used instead.


  1. Charles Upchurch, Before Wilde: Sex Between Men in Britain's Age of Reform, University of California Press, 2009.