Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Local men plead guilty to lewd conduct charges

By Andy Johns

Two Anniston men and a Woodland man have pleaded guilty to lewd conduct charges for allegedly having sex in a clearing at Morgan Lake in Cleburne County.

According to a press release from the Talladega National Forest division of the U.S. Forest Service, Robert T. Pittard, 44, of Anniston, Rodney D. Greenwood, 47, of Anniston, and Terry J. Baily, 55, of Woodland, have been banned from the national forest after pleading guilty in federal court on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. District Attorney's Office in Birmingham said the men were fined $1,000 apiece and banned from the Talladega National Forest for two years.

The men don't have to register as sex offenders, the spokeswoman said.

Forestry Patrol Capt. Charles Blake said the men were issued federal violation notices at the scene after patrol officers happened upon the trio having sex in a clearing. There had been reports that the men had been involved in such actions numerous times around the lake, he said.

Blake said the overlooks and scenic byway of Morgan Lake are known locations for such “lewd behavior,” and pictures and videos of sexual acts at the lake litter the Internet.

“There's definitely more than these three,” Blake said. “This was not an isolated incident. Basically, anytime we go up there we can find this going on.”

Blake said there have been rumors of lewd acts at the lake for years, and he is not sure why Morgan Lake is a hot spot for such activity.

Cleburne County Sheriff Joe Jacks said his deputies patrol portions of the roadways near the lake. He said they frequently make drug arrests in that area, but said he had never heard of anything like this.