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12:41 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Man arrested after exposing himself to officer in park restroom

Richard Ivan Collins, 43, of Prescott Valley

Richard Ivan Collins, 43, of Prescott Valley

Prescott police arrested a man Friday on charges of public sexual indecency after he exposed himself to an officer in the men's restroom at Heritage Park, a spokesman said.

Officers booked Richard Ivan Collins, 43, of Prescott Valley, into the Camp Verde jail on charges of public sexual indecency, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and loitering.

Officers also issued Collins a trespassing warning ordering him not to return to any city park for one year.

"We have, in the past, received calls about homosexual activity in our parks," said Lt. Andy Reinhardt, spokesman for the Prescott Police Department. "We strive to keep our parks free from this activity and routinely patrol them to minimize this activity from occurring."

The men's restroom is near a baseball field and 60 feet from a children's playground.

Citizens had complained that men were meeting at the park, at 1403 Heritage Road, and using the men's restroom for sexual activity, according to the police report.

"An off-duty officer at the park with kids also felt that activity was going on as well," Reinhardt said.

At 3:45 p.m. Friday, an officer in plain clothes fitted with a recording device and a small video camera pulled up to the men's restroom in the park in an unmarked car while two other officers in plain clothes waited in an unmarked car nearby listening to the audio, Reinhardt said.

Soon after a man, later identified as Collins, pulled up in a white Ford pickup truck and went into the restroom. The officer followed him in about a half minute later.

After a brief conversation with Collins, the officer asked him what he wanted to do, Collins told him he was "open to anything," and asked the officer to "show me" referring to his genitals, to which the officer responded "you first," according to the police report.

Then the officer said a phrase to let the other officers outside know a crime was in progress.

The other officers entered the restroom, identified themselves as officers, and handcuffed Collins.

The officer who had been in the restroom said Collins had exposed himself in plain view from anywhere in the restroom, according to the police report.

When officers asked why Collins came to the restroom, he said he wanted to meet someone in a public restroom to have sex, according to the police report.

Collins told officers he'd come to this restroom a month ago with a gay friend and had sex with him there. Collins also told officers this was a known place for this activity.

Officers pointed out the restroom was close to a playground and that a child could enter at any time and see inappropriate things. Collins told officers he had not thought about that, but agreed it was wrong.

Police have received no complaints about men approaching children in the parks, but Reinhardt urges parents to keep a close eye on their children.

"My best advice is that parents who are the same sex as their child should go inside the restroom with them and parents of the opposite sex of their child should stand just outside the restroom to hear what's going on inside," Reinhardt said.

When officers asked Collins if he had any drugs or weapons in his truck, he told them he had a marijuana pipe in his ashtray.

As officers searched the truck, they found a prescription pill bottle with 7 grams of marijuana inside the driver's door panel pocket.

Collins told officers the marijuana was his, that a friend had given it to him and he'd forgotten about it, according to the police report.