Police investigate sexual misconduct incidents in Cosmo-Bethel Park

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 | 3:57 p.m. CDT; updated 11:56 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 12, 2013
Police have reported two recent incidents of sexual misconduct at Cosmo-Bethel Park, which borders Gentry Middle School and Rock Bridge High School.

COLUMBIA — Two separate incidents of sexual misconduct in Cosmo-Bethel Park have been reported in the past two weeks, according to a release issued Wednesday by Columbia police.

Two teenage girls told police they were walking home from school at about 3:05 p.m. Tuesday when they saw a man masturbating in a white SUV. They also reported he had a cellphone out and could have been taking pictures of himself or them, the news release said.

The man was described as white, in his early to mid-20s with dark hair.

In an earlier incident reported Aug. 30, a man was reported to be masturbating in the park and possibly taking pictures of himself with a cellphone, according to the release.

The description of the man in that incident was similar. 

Cosmo-Bethel is less than a quarter-mile from Gentry Middle School. Both are located on the 4000 block of Bethel Street. The Police Department notified the Columbia Public School District about the incidents.

Both incidents are being investigated, and police were asking anyone with information to contact the nonemergency line, 442-6131, or 911 in case of emergency.

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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Skip Yates September 11, 2013 | 4:38 p.m.

A decade or so ago, a police officer friend of mine told me it was well known that "cruising" in CosMo park and a couple of other places was a known problem, along with sexual encounters in some of the adult theaters/bookstores in Columbia. And, it wasn't a priority. No suprise here.

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