Park flasher problem highlights needs for armed self-protection in parks

To hear the gun ban extremists tell it, there is no need for self-defense in parks, and those who make preparations to defend themselves in case they do, are "buying into a culture of fear." Notice how this news outlet suggests that having a cell phone can make you safer, but says nothing of Ohio's new concealed handgun license law.

Flasher exposes himself to young woman in North Chagrin Reservation

April 29, 2004 NBC Ch. 3 Cleveland

NORTH CHAGRIN RESERVATION -- As the weather turns warmer and more people are getting outdoors comes word that authorities are looking for a man who targeted a woman in one of the Metroparks.

Metropark rangers say the man flashed himself to a woman jogger then asked for sex.

It happened at the North Chagrin Reservation.

"I'm always aware that that could happen or even something worse even," said Lisa Casamatta.

Hikers like Lisa Casamatta and Libbie Tenaglia enjoy the North Chagin Reservation and are cautious. But they say they won't let this incident scare them away.

"This is really a park that's used by all ages, families and seniors and everybody in between so we still want folks to come out and enjoy this park," said Casamatta. "We're very lucky to have it."

It was an unlucky morning for a 24-year-old woman when she encountered the flasher at 11:30 a.m. on a warm spring Saturday.

"A white male had himself exposed and he blocked her path and she was brave enough not to let him scare her, but that was apparently enough to frighten him away and he took off running," said Sgt. Ernie Oergel of the Cleveland Metroparks.

The woman describes the man as about six-foot-two in his late thirties with dark blonde hair and a beard.

Park rangers fear they'll be the more victims since these incidents seem to rise as the temperature does.

"As soon as the warm weather comes we get a few here and there and it can happen in any of our park reservations," said Oergel.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

As for the park users, they consider themselves fortunate to have avoided any contact with park perverts.

"I'm sure glad it wasn't me encountered by this person," said Tenaglia.

There are several ways to make yourself less vulnerable for an assault.

  • First, be aware of your surroundings, don't blast your headphones so you don't hear anything and always look around.
  • Never Jog or Hike alone
  • Visit During the Day
  • Vary Your Park Visits
  • Never jog or hike alone
  • Visit the park during daylight hours

    Also, you might want to carry a cell phone so you can immediate report anything, which makes you safer and gives rangers a better chance of catching the person.

    Mayors in several cities, such as Columbus' Michael Coleman, have made a big production out of complaining that Section 9 prohibits them from banning CHL-holders from parks.
    Other mayors, such as Toledo's Jack Ford, have simply decided to violate the law and enforce an illegal ban.

    Section 9 of House Bill 12 states, in part, that "No municipal corporation may adopt or continue in existence any ordinance, and no township may adopt or continue in existence any resolution, that is in conflict with those sections, including, but not limited to, any ordinance or resolution that attempts to restrict the places where a person possessing a valid license to carry a concealed handgun may carry a handgun concealed."

    The Ohio Attorney General concurs with the opinion that city and county gun banners are preempted by state law.

    The following cities are either already in violation of Section 9 of HB12, or are contemplating the passage of a violation.

  • City of Brooklyn Heights - all city parks
  • City of Campbell - all city property
  • City of Cleveland Heights - all city parks
  • City of Cochocton - (proposed) city property
  • City of Delphos - all city parks & "facilities"
  • City of Dover - all city property "within limits of law"
  • City of Elyria - all city property
  • City of Fairborn - all city property
  • City of Fremont - (proposed) city property
  • City of Loveland - all city parks
  • City of Madeira - all city parks
  • City of Marion - all city property
  • City of Mayfield Village - (proposed) city property
  • City of New Philadelphia - city property
  • City of North Kingsville (proposed) city property
  • City of Pickerington - all city parks
  • City of Toledo - all city property
  • City of Toronto - (proposed) city property
  • City of Twinsburg - all city parks
  • City of Uhrichsville - (proposed) city property
  • City of Warren - (proposed) city parks
  • Flint Ridge State Park, Glenford
  • Mineral City - any
    village property including ball fields
  • Lake County Metro Park, Eastlake
  • Lorain County Metro Park, Lorain

    If you live in these areas, please call your city councilpersons, mayor, and law director, and ask them to follow the law to either repeal existing law, or to refrain from passing new ones.

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