Sex sting targeting Carver-Roehl
The recent arrests of men accused of seeking sexual liaisons with other men at Carver-Roehl Park should send a strong message, Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said this morning.
“We want to make sure that the message gets out in that culture that this kind of behavior is not accepted in our parks,” Spoden said.
“It’s not because it’s gay sex. It’s because it’s inappropriate sexual behavior in a public park.”
Deputies arrested four men over the last several weeks:
-- Randy A. Udell, 46, Fitchburg, on a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior at 2:40 p.m., Sept. 25. Officers reported seeing Udell repeatedly enter and exit the men’s restroom in the park. When an undercover deputy entered the restroom, Udell reportedly exposed himself. He was released with a court date.
-- Keith A. Lutz, 56, Janesville, on a charge of disorderly conduct at 1 p.m. Sept. 27. Lutz reportedly agreed to meet an undercover deputy just south of the park entrance with the implied expectation of having sexual relations in Lutz’s van. Lutz was arrested after he parked his van on the side of Carver’s Rock Road just north of Creek Road, where deputies reported seeing him prepare his vehicle for the anticipated sexual encounter. Lutz was released with a court date.
-- Lupe T. Medina, 51, Whitewater, on charges of fourth-degree sexual assault and lewd and lascivious behavior at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27. Medina is accused of striking up a conversation with an undercover deputy in the restroom, fondling himself and grabbing the front of the deputy’s pants. Medina previously was convicted of attempted first-degree murder and reckless use of a weapon, according to the sheriff’s department. He was released with a court date.
-- Gerald R. Matzke, 61, Delavan, on a charge of fourth-degree sexual assault at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Matzke is accused of touching the front of an undercover deputy’s pants and propositioning him in the men’s bathroom. He was released with a court date.
Deputies also cited an Elkhorn man Wednesday for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of alcohol in the park. They also cited an Elkhorn woman Wednesday for possession of alcohol in the park, littering and driving after license suspension.
Spoden this morning said the undercover investigation began about six weeks ago after patrol deputies noticed increased suspicious activity at the park. That included individual men sitting in their vehicles.
While that is not illegal or suspicious in itself, the frequency and number of men aroused suspicion, he said.
The activity usually occurred in the day, usually in the afternoon.
A park friends’ group formed about five years ago after residents complained of sexual activity, saying families were afraid to visit the park.
Police then targeted Carver-Roehl, and the activity moved to other rural parks such as Magnolia Bluff in Magnolia Township and Murwin Park south of Clinton off Highway 140, Spoden said.
“I think it’s cycled,” Spoden said. “I think they moved out for awhile, then began to resurface when the undercover operation ended.
“Our intent is to make a strong statement that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated in a family park.”
Spoden said he is aware that sexual-liaison locations are listed on various Web sites.
Deputies will continue patrolling spots known for anonymous male liaisons, including parks and rest stops along the Interstate, he said.
Nancy Pope of the Friends of Carver-Roehl Park welcomes the police presence.
The group is dedicated to the safety and preservation of the natural beauty of the park, she said.
Pope noted a sign in the park that warns visitors that the park is patrolled by both uniformed and undercover deputies and members of the friends group.
“What we want the park for is for families to enjoy,” she said.