Sunday, March 9, 2014

Game Warden Files--A Pervert on the Island

In my early days in Fulton County, Ray VanAnden and I shared a patrol boat on the Great Sacandaga Lake. It was not a bad boat--if you wanted to take a family boating; but not a good patrol boat by any means. Among other deficiencies was that it had no marine radio, something I'd fought to get for many years. I finally got one and was pivotal in making a good case along with the Fulton Co. Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Scott McCoy who was on the Sheriff's boat and I were stopped chatting somewhere near Northampton Campsite when my brand new radio crackled to life. Someone on Sand Island was calling a marina to ask them to call the police.  There was a flasher on the island and they had him trapped. I acknowledged the call and Scott and I headed for Sand Island--about a 10 minute run at top speed. My boat wasn't a good patrol boat, but it was fast, and I was a quarter mile or so ahead of the Sheriff's boat by the time we approached the island. I went to one place where there was a pile of arm waving and Scott went to the other. The bad guy was getting away and swimming for his anchored boat. Just as he reached it, I tied off to it and told him that he was under arrest--hoping I had the right guy, and there really had been a crime committed.
Scott did a couple interviews and confirmed that there was a case to be made, so he took the man into his boat while I stayed on the island to take statements. This guy had exposed himself to a couple young girls and a couple women in their 30's and 40's.  The young girls gave pretty good statements and one of the other women--who was a surgical nurse--was able to describe him in clinical detail...scars and all.
As I collected more information, I found that this guy had been doing this on and off for about twenty years. Though it had been reported frequently, including the registration number to his boat, he'd never been caught. When I checked the registration on the boat I found the likely reason: the boat registration was from several states away. He would bring the boat here each summer from that other state, use it for a short time and then return it. You can bet that I wrote my bosses a memo explaining just how critical that radio had been to making that case.
I don't recall what the outcome of the case was; but since I was never called to a trial of any kind it probably settled out with a plea agreement of some kind.

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