Friday, May 11, 2001

Caesar Creek put on alert


Gay cruise spot under surveillance; 14 people arrested

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASSIE TOWNSHIP — Caesar Creek State Park is trying to eliminate its reputation as a gay cruise spot.

        Park rangers on Thursday said they had arrested 14 people during a sweep of the park's Fifty Springs Picnic Area, an area listed on the gayuniverse.com Web site as a “cruise spot” with an “action rating” of 4 — a notch below “hot.”

        “Rangers will patrol the (parking) lot occasionally,” a posting on the site warns. “They know what goes on, but don't bust people that often unless they see it.”

        But, over the past several weeks, the park has been cracking down.

        “They must not have updated that (Web site) yet,” said Chuck Thiemann, park manager and senior officer in the 9,700-acre park that spans Warren, Greene and Clinton counties.

        During the past three weeks, park rangers spent two days a week in plainclothes, concentrating on snaring offenders on charges of public indecency, importuning (making offensive same-sex propositions) and sexual imposition, Mr. Thiemann said.

        The sweep was in response to dozens of complaints from park users who unwittingly witnessed the activities, he said.

        The charges are misdemeanors, but two of the suspects are also accused of fleeing and eluding. The alleged offenders might find the charges particularly embarrassing, Mr. Thiemann said, because the typical person arrested was a white, middle-aged, married man. Many came from adjacent counties; one, from out of state.

        A compilation of the reports was not immediately available Thursday afternoon, Mr. Thiemann said.

        Although the sweep officially ended Thursday, Mr. Thiemann said rangers would continue to be on the lookout for illegal sex acts, no matter who commits them.

        “We're totally neutral about their sexual orientation,” he said, adding that rangers will be just as aggressive about busting heterosexual couples engaged in intimate acts in public.

       



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