News from the DNR Office of Communications

Natural Resources Police Charge 8 with Sexual Violations in Undercover Operation at Gambrill State Park

Frederick County - Over the weekend, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged eight men with sexual violations at Gambrill State Park in Frederick County. The charges resulted from an undercover enforcement detail conducted by the NRP in response to complaints from citizens and park staff that individuals were soliciting and performing sex acts in Park restrooms, on trails and in other venues -- areas frequented by patrons of all ages and genders.

“I’d like to commend NRP officers – as well as our Park staff and visitors -- who worked together to put a halt to these activities and to maintain the park’s family friendly, safe atmosphere” said NRP Superintendent, Col. George Johnson.

The undercover operation was conducted from August 10 through August 14, by NRP plainclothes officers acting as park visitors. Six individuals were charged during the operation and two were charged during a pre-operation reconnaissance with a charges ranging from indecent exposure to disorderly conduct and assault.

Charged were:

1. William Lloyd Vanover, Jr, 50, of Myersville, charged with Disorderly Conduct for exposing himself in a public place.
2. Eric Anthony Ziegler, 39, of Arlington, VA, charged with Disorderly Conduct for exposing himself in a public place.
3. Joseph Whitehead, 54, of Frederick, charged with Indecent Exposure and Disorderly Conduct for exposing himself and engaging in a sex act in a public place.
4. Bruce Allen Propst, 60, of Frederick, charged with Indecent Exposure and Disorderly Conduct, for exposing himself and engaging in a sex act in a public place.
5. James Michael Cornwell, 57, of Frederick, charged with Assault Second Degree and Sex Offense Fourth Degree for making sexual contact (grabbing) with an undercover officer.
6. Steven Elwood Baynard, 56, of Hancock, charged with two counts of Indecent Exposure for exposing himself in a public place.
7. James Thomas Williams, 77, of Frederick, charged with Assault Second Degree and Sex Offense Fourth Degree for making sexual contact (grabbing) with an undercover officer.
8. Charles Allen Stone, 69, of Purcellville, VA, charged with Assault Second Degree and Sex Offense Fourth Degree for making sexual contact (grabbing) with an undercover officer.

“This type of activity is illegal and indecent, and will not be tolerated in Maryland’s State Parks and other public use areas,” said Lt. Paul Hanyok, Frederick County Commander of the NRP. “Future undercover operations will be planned to curtail this type of activity."


   August 18, 2009

Contact: Sgt. Brian Albert
301-293-1940
balbert@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 249 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority.  Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov