Indecency charges spark outrage among neighbors

BELLEVUE Neighbors of the Bellevue man accused of having sex with a picnic table are upset the acts
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

BELLEVUE

Neighbors of the Bellevue man accused of having sex with a picnic table are upset the acts took place in plain view of an elementary school.

The way his neighbor William Ball said he looks at it, Art Price Jr. should face criminal charges for not having the sense to keep his sexual activities behind closed doors.

"What he did was his own business. ...What he did, he should have kept it inside his house or in thebasement -- not in the open," said 65-year-old Ball.

The backyard of Price, 40, of the 100 block of Brinker St., faces the playground of Ridge Elementary School. Bellevue police said Price was caught on video pleasuring himself on his deck with the small metal table's umbrella hole.

Part of what led to the four felony counts of public indecency was the fact that the school is located a stone's throw from Price's deck, said Bellevue police Chief Dennis Brandal. The video evidence also indicates Price performed those acts at hours when school could have been in session, he said.

"Through the investigation, with the fact of the proximity and the fact that it may be viewed by juveniles because of the time frames, recesses, things like that ... that stepped it up to the F-5 (fifth-degree felony)" status, he said.

Police said an anonymous neighbor told them the activity was going on. A police report said the neighbor was told proof in the form of a photograph or video would "be helpful."

The neighbor then dropped off three DVDs with video taken from Jan. 29 to March 14 showing Price naked and pleasuring himself with the table, the police report said.

During an interview Price admitted to performing the acts, police said. He was then charged with public indecency.

Bellevue was soon buzzing about the incident. National and international media have also picked up the story.

Ball's wife, 45-year-old Jean Ball was not as understanding as her husband about the whole matter.

"I am very disgusted. He should be ashamed of himself," she said. "He's got a wife. He's got children. What is he thinking?"

Another neighbor, who declined to give his name, shares a similar view.

"My first reaction was kind of humorous because no one had heard anything like that before," said his neighbor of many years. "But when you sit down and think about it, that's when the concern sets in."

But another neighbor, who also declined to give her name, said even if the charges are true, there are worse things in this world than what Price is accused of doing.

All Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler would say is that his office is reviewing the case.

Price has an initial hearing Tuesday in Bellevue Municipal Court. He could not be reached for comment.