Man Arrested for Lewd Act: "I was just out there hiking the nature trail."

Man Arrested for Lewd Act: "I was just out there hiking the nature trail."
KENNEWICK -- Police rounded up nearly a dozen men for sex acts in Columbia Park after a several month-long investigation with an undercover officer. Police received several reports from innocent citizens who saw the acts and the mess left behind.

We want to warn you, this story has a graphic nature.

"It happens everyday," Kennewick Police Sergeant Ken Lattin said.

Next to the Audubon trails and butterfly signs, a disgusting find. Gobs of toilet paper, police said, was a sign of sex in the park.

"It sounds gross but we're talking man on man stranger sex that's been going on for a long time," Kennewick Police Sergeant Ken Lattin said.

We knew that already. Action News uncovered evidence of men looking for sex on the sly in a report two years ago. Back then police cracked down. But we went back to the bushes again and it didn't take long to find evidence of the same dirty deeds.

"That's a spot," Lattin said, pointed out a sleeping bag in the park.

"That is not supposed to be found in nature," he said.

Apparently, nature lures more than just bird watchers. Robert Gudgel, 72, was arrested last month for exposing himself to an undercover officer.

"I'm here because Kennewick Police said you exposed yourself to one of them at Columbia Park," Action News reporter Chelsea Kopta said.
"That's what they claim, yes," he said.
"Did you expose yourself to a police officer? It says here you were arrested for showing your genitalia."
"It's true."
"So you did expose yourself?"
"It's true that I was arrested. But I am not guilty, I pleaded not guilty and the trial's sometime in the future."
"It says that they rounded up a bunch of people at Columbia Park for lewd conduct and sexual activity?"
"I don't know anything about that. I was just out there hiking the nature trail which I do several times a week."
"So you were just hiking in the park?"
"That's right. It's a mile around and I was about a half mile into it and I walked up into a swarm of detectives."

Police say they randomly enforce trails all the time, and often bring out an undercover officer, but it's still easy to hide.

"Do you think there's anything to be done differently to make sure people aren't doing this?" Action News asked police.
"We're going to step up patrols, we're going to make this an undesirable place to come and fulfill their desires," Lattin said.

Tucked away in the playgrounds and picnic tables, police are working hard to make sure you don't get an eyeful.

Columbia Park in Kennewick makes all the headlines. But Richland has its fair share of sexual deviants too. Captain Mike Cobb with Richland police said they arrest up to a dozen people a year near Bushwacker Road.

Across the river, Pasco Police said they're sure lewd conduct happens but don't know of any location that's a specific problem.

Gudgel was included in a list of several men arrested for sex acts including:

-- William A. Kelley, 33, of Kennewick for attempted lewd conduct with a male undercover detective.
-- Reese W. Radliff, 46 of Richland for masturbating in public for a male undercover detective.
-- Gerry E. Prochaska, 46 of Kennewick for attempted lewd conduct with a male undercover officer.
-- Kevin M. Hunt, 50, of Kennewick for trespassing and attempted lew conduct.
-- Douglas W. Bogart, 66 of Oregon for trespassing.
-- Robert Mendez, 48, of Kennewick for attempted lewd conduct with an undercover officer.
-- Rolando Rint, 72, of Kennewick for attempted lewd conduct win undercover male detective.
-- Ramiro Chavez-Luviano, 32, ok Kennewick for masturbating in public in front of an undercover officer.
-- Randall C.Wolf, 42, of Kennewick for committing a lewd sexual act with another male suspect.
-- Timothy J. Hendershot, 30, of Pasco for attempted lewd conduct with an undercover male detective.

If you'd like to report a crime, call Kennewick Police at 582-1316 or the Crime Stoppers line 586-TIPS.