LONDON - He was convicted of a crime more than half a century ago, but what he did in 1959 - have consensual sex with another man - would be perfectly legal today.
So John Crawford, 70, wants his criminal record cleaned up for good, so that he doesn't have to disclose his conviction when he seeks volunteer work, and because of a deeply held belief that he should not be punished for his sexual orientation.
"I came into this world without a criminal record and I'd like to leave this world without one," said Crawford, a retired butler. "The police beat me and beat me and forced me to confess to being gay, but I know in my heart I did nothing wrong."
Crawford's bid to clean up his record is backed by gay organizations looking to help others who were convicted under Britain's once draconian anti-homosexuality laws, which began to be eased in 1967 as social values changed and sex acts between consenting adults began to be decriminalized.
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