2 men arrested for lewd activities at Polk County parks

Polk County
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Two men are facing charges following a Polk County Sheriff’s Office sting targeting lewd activity in public parks.

Deputies say the operation was in response to complaints of lewd activity out in public. It was conducted at Saddle Creek Park and Gator Creek Reserve Park in Lakeland.

Jose Javier Martinez, a 59-year-old from Lakeland, was arrested at Saddle Creek Park after deputies say he exposed himself and solicited an undercover detective for sex in the bathroom. The detective also says Martinez grabbed his arm against his will.

After he was taken into custody, Martinez told deputies he was arrested at the park back in 2014 for the same crime. He is now facing charges for soliciting another for a lewd act, battery, resisting arrest and trespass.

Deputies say 75-year-old Gregory Merrill of Kissimmee also solicited an undercover detective to perform a sex act. An arrest report says Merrill told detectives he went to Saddle Creek Park to meet a stranger for sex. He was arrested for soliciting another for a lewd act and was given a trespass from all county parks.

“We will continue to conduct operations such as this one to get the message across to everyone that we will not tolerate this type of criminal activity at our parks,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement.

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