by Kilian Melloy
EDGE Boston Contributor
Wednesday Oct 31, 2007
A public sex sting at a New York state rest area off Interstate 684 has resulted in 20 men being charged in a month--including a Catholic priest.
A registered sex offender was also charged, according to an article posted yesterday by the Lower Hudson Online.
Among others, the operation also stung a Rotary Club president and a man of 72 years.
The sting came about as the result of a complaint registered by a man who had stopped at the rest area with his young son, according to Westchester County state police commander Capt. Robert Meyer.
Said the sting’s supervisor, Sgt. Joseph Lutz, "As soon as we saw that letter, we took immediate action."
Charges ranged from trespassing to loitering to, in one case, forcible touching. Four men were charged with indecent exposure, and two with public lewdness. All 20 men are expected to be int Bedford Town court this Thursday, Nov. 1.
The charge of forcible touching was brought against the Rev. Gary Mead, a Catholic priest who allegedly fondled an officer who was at the site in an undercover capacity. The article said that Mead was assigned to a Garnerville parish, St. Gregory Barbarigo.
The posted article said that calls to the Archdiocese had not been immediately returned.
A Level 2 sex offender named Shawn Cromwell, who the article said had been convicted 10 years ago for sexual abuse of a young boy, was also charged on three counts: public lewdness, loitering, and trespassing.
The president of the Katonah Rotary Club, John Canzio, was also charged, specifically with exposure, loitering, and trespass.
Nineteen of the 20 men charged are married, according to police. The priest was the exception.
The issue of public sex in restrooms has gained national attention following the guilty plea of Idaho Republican senator Larry Craig, who was arrested in June after allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover officer at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
However, at the rest stop in question, three years ago a similar operation resulted in 18 men being charged.
Said Lutz of the sting operation, "Some of the activity we observed was very, very disturbing."
Robert Becker, employed as a maintenance worker, and who works at the rest stop, said, "You can’t believe the stuff we see."
Said Becker, "We’re always calling the police."
Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts Editor.
A Priest and a Rotary Club president? Good golly miss Molly! Love the fact that the only unmarried man was the priest. By the way what is it with Catholic Priests and fondling people they are not supposed to? Is it word confusion? "Chaste" does not mean "chase" especially when your are talking about the altar boys.