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Police say sex stings starting

July 25, 2000

Police say sex stings starting



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


Hagerstown City Police wants City Park to be known for scenery, not sex.

Residents have complained about prostitution at the park and police are cracking down on the problem, according to Sgt. Dennis Ballam.

"I've talked to about a half a dozen people (who made complaints) this month," he said.

Ballam said police are conducting stings and increasing patrols both in the park and in the residential parking lot behind it.

He said residents who bring their children to play on jungle gyms and visit the museums do not want to walk past people engaging in illicit behavior.

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Police made an arrest in a prostitution sting Tuesday at 9 a.m., he said.

James Allen Haskiel, 63, of Falling Waters, W.Va., was charged with solicitation. He was being held at the Hagerstown City Police Department Tuesday evening pending a bond hearing.

He was arrested in the parking area across from the baseball fields, police said.

Conviction on a solicitation charge is punishable by a fine of $500 or a year in jail or both, police said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he has fielded complaints about lewd activities at the park.

He said police have been addressing the problem, but the park continues to be attractive to prostitutes and couples because of its many semi-secluded areas shaded by trees.

Ballam said lewd behavior by couples at the park has become as prevalent as prostitution.

Many of the people arrested for solicitation in Hagerstown come from other states, he said.

In addition to regular patrol, Hagerstown City Police's Street Crimes Unit conducts regular prostitution stings.

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