SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Clark County law enforcement is taking a stand against those having illegal rendezvous in state parks.
Sheriff Gene Kelly told 2NEWS that Buck Creek State Park has become a haven for men looking to meet up for sex.
“We’ve been making arrests and they’re not from Springfield, they’re coming here with one purpose to engage in this type of sexual behavior and we’re not gonna have it,” said Kelly.
The sheriff said the buck stops with him, despite the obstacles he may face to monitoring the area.
Patrolling at the family oriented park has significantly decreased following recent state budget cuts.
However, with this issue resurfacing, officials are increasing their manpower to end the problem by adding more patrols with the Sheriff Office.
Attention to the issue rose when residents sent complaints to the sheriff.
Many reported men of all ages are exposing themselves, soliciting sex and having sex in wooded areas at the park.
The sheriff said he believes a group of men are using an online forum to plan when and where they will meet.
Thursday, deputies arrested a West Chester man who they said was naked at the park and later resisted arrest.
Officials believe 63-year-old Joseph McCormick struck the deputy twice and tried to flee because he works for the Springfield public school district.
Friday, McCormick appeared in court to face several charges including 2 counts of assault, resisting arrest, sexual imposition, public indecency, as well as loitering and solicitation.
Kelly said those who mimic McCormick can expect the same consequences.
“We’re working with the Department of Natural Resources. We’re using undercover detectives to patrol the park as well. And again, we want people who see this type of activity and who are appalled by it to report it. I’ve had many people who have reported, but again,, the public needs to take charge of this park and it’s a beautiful facility and we want it to be safe and secure for families and anyone who want to come here and enjoy,” he said.
Officials are advising people at the park to stay in groups and keep an eye on young children.
They’re also asking anyone who sees this behavior to immediately call police.