SPENCERVILLE — Enforcement officers for the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District issued warrants to 13 area men on Sept. 4 for public indecency at an Auglaize County historic site.
Ben Altenbach, chief ranger for metro park district, said an operation conducted at Fort Amanda Park that began in late July culminated in misdemeanor charges being filed in Auglaize County Municipal Court against the men.
Fort Amanda, located along state Route 198 north of Wapakoneta, is owned by the Ohio History Connection but is operated and maintained by the Johnny Appleseed park district.
Altenbach said the operation aimed at detecting suspected illegal sexual activity at the park “was not necessary undercover; we were’t all that sneaky.”
The park ranger said routine drive-throughs at the park revealed a pattern of repeat visitors and that trash found in some portions of the park “alluded to criminal sexual activities.”
Altenbach said cameras were erected at locations throughout the park that revealed such activities were indeed taking place. Using the cameras to detect vehicle license plate numbers, park rangers attempted to interview the individuals believed to have been taking part in illicit activities. Charges were filed against 13 individuals, Altenbach said, and all 13 have been banned from Johnny Appleseed park properties for one year.
He said the investigation is ongoing.
Cited for public indecency, according to court records, were Rick Baker, 65, Wapakoneta; Kevin Briggs, 28, Lima; Craig Brown, 55, Spencerville; Richard Byrne, 68, Lima; Joseph Geise, 69, Delphos; Dennis Hughes, 67, Wapakoneta; Thomas Hundley, 68, Lima; Timothy Layman, 53, Lima; Gilbert Lindawan, 71, Lima; Robert Mallett, 67, Wapakoneta; Matthew Neumeier, 57, Wapakoneta; Leland Schrock, 34, Lima; and Jason Wildman, 50, Lima.