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8 men charged after park sting

August 18, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

FREDERICK, Md. -- Maryland Natural Resources Police last week charged eight men with crimes ranging from indecent exposure to assault during an undercover operation at Gambrill State Park in Frederick County, according to a Natural Resources Police press release.

Natural Resources Police conducted the operation in response to complaints that people were soliciting and performing sexual acts in the park, police said.

They have not received such complaints about other state parks, Maryland Natural Resources Police Sgt. Brian Albert said Tuesday in a telephone interview. The worst complaints police receive from people at Greenbrier State Park in Washington County are about noise, he said.

Officers acted as park visitors during the undercover operation at Gambrill, which ran from Aug. 10 to 14.

The offenses happened in two "day-use" areas of the park -- a lower part near U.S. 40 and another area where pavilions are rented to the public, Albert said. None of the alleged sexual acts were performed in the campground or trail areas, he said.

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Investigators still are trying to track down how the men knew to meet up in the park, Albert said. Some of the men who have been interviewed said it was by word-of-mouth, while others said they made connections on the Internet, he said.

Six Maryland men and two men from Virginia were charged, police said.

Indecent exposure, fourth-degree sex offense and engaging in a sex act in a public place were among the charges, police said.

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