Thursday, August 31, 2000

Overexposed duo getting diverted


Community service will restore image

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Public indecency charges likely will be dropped against a Kentucky couple whose oral sex act was publicly displayed on a monitor outside a photo booth at Paramount's Kings Island.

        Aaron C. Caudill, of Morehead, and Elizabeth Whitaker, of Mount Sterling, must each do 80 hours of community service with a charitable organization within six months before a judge will dismiss the charges, Mason Prosecutor Robert Peeler said.

        The legal process, called pretrial diversion, allows defendants to wipe out misdemeanor charges if they comply with court-ordered conditions.

        “I do think it's a fair resolution because they did never intend for anyone to see what happened,” defense attorney Barry Spaeth said Wednesday.

        Mr. Spaeth said he arranged for the couple to appear in an unscheduled hearing Tuesday to avoid media attention. Mr. Caudill, who recently graduated from Morehead University, and Ms. Whitaker, who is a senior there, were to appear Sept. 5 for a plea hearing. Both are pursing teaching careers.

        “I think with the humiliation they suffered as a result of the media attention, that was a pretty heavy price in and of itself,” Mr. Spaeth said.

        Mr. Caudill and Ms. Whitaker were arrested July 17 after Mr. Caudill snapped a picture of their sex act inside the photo booth, only to realize that the image was displayed on a monitor outside.

        Mr. Caudill then ran out of the the booth and tried to cover the image on the monitor with his hands, a police report said.

        The photo booth was located next to a children's area, and authorities said that amusement park employees, passersby and children saw the sex act.

        Neither Mr. Caudill nor Ms. Whitaker could be reached for comment Wednesday.

        “These people appear to be very remorseful and they were not by any means uncooperative with the authorities,” Mr. Peeler said. “I believe they deserve the benefit of pretrial diversion, which gives them a chance to put this behind them without having a record. I don't see any likelihood of this happening again.”

        Mr. Spaeth added, “I don't think they'll be going back to Kings Island anytime soon.”

       



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