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In 1955, a panic broke out in Boise about a “homosexual menace,” leading to 16 men being charged with crimes and some going to prison. The events that became known as the “Boys of Boise” scandal focused on fears that dozens or hundreds of young boys were being menaced by a ring of adult molesters who preyed on them.

But in the end, it turned out all that was happening was that some young adult men and teenagers were soliciting the few gay men in Boise for sex acts in exchange for money, and some then blackmailed the men. All had consented to or initiated the acts; no young children were preyed upon.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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