By Tom Spalding
November 14, 2003
Three police departments are investigating allegations that 10 law enforcement officers joined a fishing trip that included a prostitute -- and some are suspected of having sex with her.
A Marion County sheriff's deputy is accused of arranging for the woman's visit with officers from the Speedway and Indiana State Police departments last summer at Eagle Creek Reservoir.
If true, it would be the second prostitute linked to Deputy Danny J. Gaither, 37, who last month was suspended for 90 days after he admitted having sex with a prostitute at a truck stop motel.
Speedway Police Chief Jeff Dine and Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson confirmed Thursday it was the Gaither investigation that uncovered information about the fishing party.
"They picked her (the prostitute) up from an area of a truck stop and brought her back to Eagle Creek, where she exited the back seat and did a dance," Dine said. Some then individually went into a wooded area with the woman, he added.
"I will not say everyone participated in some type of sexual activity with the female prostitute."
The other officers involved were seven Speedway reserve officers, one full-time Speedway officer and a state trooper.
All were off-duty and using personal cars at the park, except for the trooper, who drove his squad car, Dine said. The group included supervisors, he said.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed they didn't exercise better judgment," said Dine.
Dine did not identify the Speedway officers; State Police 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten said he could not release the trooper's name.
Dine said Gaither called the prostitute on his cell phone, adding that Gaither and the trooper picked the woman up and returned to Eagle Creek. It is not clear if they used the trooper's department-issued car.
Police are trying to find the woman for questioning. Other than Gaither, the officers remain on duty.
Gaither could not be reached for comment Thursday.
His attorney, John Kautzman, said he would not comment until he could review the allegations.
The seven reserve officers have law enforcement powers but aren't paid. The other Speedway officer is a 12-year veteran of the department with no disciplinary record.
The reserve officers could face termination by Chief Dine.
The veteran's case will go to an oversight panel made up of three Speedway residents.
State Police are investigating their officer's alleged involvement.
All could be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, which can occur on-duty or off-duty.
The incident at Eagle Creek is the latest embarrassing case involving sheriff's deputies.
Both Gaither and his supervisor, Sgt. Eric Parker, who was fired this week, were punished because they had sex with prostitute Toni Burley.
She is not the prostitute in the Eagle Creek incident, police said.
Burley told The Star that she plans to give investigators additional information about other officers, including an allegation that she danced naked for an unidentified deputy.
Burley said she began talking to the sheriff's internal affairs division Aug. 29 after she became angry that the department didn't properly investigate vandalism to her car.
Anderson said again Thursday he has a "zero tolerance" policy against rule-breakers.
"Anytime that I have any accusation made of any of my employees . . . doesn't make me feel very good.
"It's important to know there are two sides to every story," Anderson said. "I want things to go through due process, then just punishment should be made."
Anderson has asked the Merit Board to fire Gaither.
Bursten said widespread misconduct involving prostitutes is not suspected.
"We're made up of the same public that we police," he said. "On any given day in Marion County, there are several thousand police officers that are doing their job and serving the citizens, but it's human nature that we like to concentrate on those that have fallen."