Six men - including the executive director of a Toledo-area center for people with disabilities and another man previously convicted of public indecency - have been arrested on sex-related charges from an undercover sting at Secor Metropark, authorities said.
The sting operation by police officers was undertaken because visitors and Toledo Area Metroparks staff members have complained about illicit homosexual activity at the park near Central Avenue and Bancroft Street, authorities said.
Over the past month, undercover Metroparks police caught the men, ages 38 to 64, touching or exposing themselves, authorities said.
In one case, a suspect is charged with fondling a male undercover officer at the park.
Larry White, executive director the Anne Grady Center since 1998, was among those arrested for public indecency. Authorities said Mr. White, 60, of Swanton drove to Secor Metropark about 12:30 p.m. on June 1 in one of the center's vehicles. Once there, police allege he motioned to an undercover officer to follow him down a trail to an open shelter.
Mr. White was allegedly touching himself and talking to the undercover officer before he was arrested, police reported.
Mr. White yesterday told The Blade that he was at the park during his lunch break to take a walk and that what happened was "certainly misconstrued."
"There is no basis whatsoever for that charge," Mr. White said. "There was a guy there. I got the impression he was trying to pick me up. I felt very uncomfortable."
Mr. White said he's concerned the criminal charge could have a negative impact on his career and family. He said he had not told his family, his co-workers, or the board of directors of the Anne Grady Center about the incident. No date for a hearing on the charge had been set.
Members of the Anne Grady Center's board could not be reached yesterday for comment.
The most serious charge was an allegation of sexual assault on an undercover agent. Robert D. Schondel, 61, of 5432 Dorr St., Apt. J, pulled his car next to an officer's about 12:30 p.m. May 2 and told him that he was looking for sexual activity, police allege.
Mr. Schondel told the officer that he usually took people back to his apartment.
But when the officer said he was not comfortable with that, they agreed to meet at a picnic shelter, where Mr. Schondel told the undercover agent he'd like to perform oral sex, authorities said. Shortly after, the man grabbed the officer in the groin area, police said. The suspect was arrested and charged with sexual imposition.
John H. Sidwell, 64, of Sylvania Township, was arrested for public indecency about 4 p.m. Thursday for purportedly engaging in sexual activity while he was in his car talking to an undercover officer standing outside the vehicle.
Three other men were arrested and charged with public indecency on May 25:
●Daniel Mossing, 46, of Metamora, Ohio, who about noon attempted to lure an undercover officer from the park for sexual activity, police said. When the officer declined, the man went back to his SUV and was touching himself before he was arrested, police reported.
Mr. Mossing is on probation for a public indecency conviction. He was charged last August by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for an incident in Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve.
●Jeffrey Johnson, 48, of Sylvania, who, an officer reported, was seen touching himself about 1 p.m. while in his car. Mr. Johnson then followed the officer to a picnic table area, discussed sexual activity, and then went to a restroom, where he was arrested, police said.
●Gregory Hall, 38, of Holland, was arrested about 4 p.m. after he exposed himself to an undercover officer in a restroom, police said. Additional charges are pending because of suspected drugs allegedly found in his car.
Metroparks police said they intend to work to prevent such activity.
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