March 10, 2010

Pittston man charged with climbing in toilet

TREVOR MAXWELL

— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — When Gary Moody pleaded no contest to trespassing in 2005 for hiding in a pit toilet on White Mountain National Forest property in New Hampshire, a judge urged him to seek help for whatever had driven him to climb down there.

According to a new complaint, Moody didn't get the message.

The 49-year-old Pittston man is charged again -- this time in federal court -- with climbing into a pit toilet in the White Mountain National Forest.

Authorities say a 9-year-old boy saw Moody climbing out of a toilet at the Hastings Campground on Memorial Day, and two other witnesses saw him walk away from the outhouse. The campground is about three miles south of Gilead, just east of the New Hampshire border.

Moody was not identified at the time, but a special agent from the U.S. Forest Service investigated the report from the campground manager. Recalling the well-publicized incident involving Moody in 2005, special agent William Fors paid a visit to Moody's home on June 19.

''Based on the extremely rare nature of this type of activity, the fact that Gary Moody had a previous conviction for the same activity and the fact that Moody had a last known address in the Gardiner, Maine, area, I decided to locate and interview Moody,'' Fors wrote in an affidavit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Portland.

''I asked Moody if he knew why we were there,'' Fors wrote. ''Moody stated, 'I guess someone must have filed a complaint.'''

''I advised Moody that I understood that this was likely a difficult issue to talk about and that it was our intention to solve the problem of Moody getting caught in the pits of National Forest outhouses,'' Fors wrote.

According to Fors, Moody admitted that he had been in a toilet at the Hastings Campground on Memorial Day. Moody initially said he had dropped his shirt into the pit and climbed down to retrieve it.

That story was similar to one Moody had told authorities on June 26, 2005, when he was found in a toilet on U.S. Forest Service property in Albany, N.H. Moody said he climbed into the pit to retrieve his wedding ring, but officials cleaned out the pit, screened the contents and found no ring.

''I told Moody that I did not think that his trips into the outhouse pits had anything to do with dropping things by accident, and asked Moody if I was right,'' Fors wrote in the affidavit. ''Moody said 'yes.'''

Moody admitted that he had gone into outhouse pits more than twice, Fors wrote. Moody said he never took photographs or videotaped people using the toilets, and he told Fors that he had not received counseling for what Fors called ''the outhouse problem,'' according to the affidavit.

Moody faces one count of attempted violation of privacy, one count of entering an enclosed area not open to the public and one count of leaving refuse in an exposed and unsanitary condition. Each count is a federal misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Moody is scheduled to appear in court in Portland to hear the charges on Sept. 16.

Walt McKee of Augusta, a lawyer who has represented Moody, said he has not heard from him and does not represent him in this case. There are no public phone listings for Moody in Pittston.

Fors said he was not sure how much time Moody spent in the toilet on May 25. In a telephone interview Monday, Fors declined to provide additional details about the case, which he described as the strangest of his 20-year career.

''We don't have a file cabinet drawer full of things like this,'' Fors said. ''This is kind of a category by itself.''

The investigation of the Memorial Day incident began on May 29, when another Forest Service officer met with the manager of the Hastings Campground regarding complaints from campers. Fors found that a 9-year-old boy had walked to one of the pit toilets in the mid-morning on May 25 and, after waiting for several minutes, opened the door.

He saw that the toilet had been pulled out of the pit, then saw a man pop out of the hole, Fors wrote in his affidavit. The boy and two other people saw the man, who was ''completely wet,'' leave the restroom. The floor was left covered with waste, the witnesses said.

On June 26, 2005, a 14-year-old girl was using a pit toilet in Albany, N.H., when she heard noises below. The girl looked down and saw Moody looking up at her. Officials pulled Moody from the toilet and firefighters hosed him off before he was arrested by Carroll County sheriff's deputies.

In October of 2005, Moody pleaded no contest to trespass. The judge imposed a 30-day jail sentence but suspended all of it in exchange for two years of probation.

Moody was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $700 restitution to the Forest Service for the cost of pumping out the toilet tank and screening the contents. He also was sentenced to 30 days in jail in Maine for violating conditions of his probation by leaving the state without permission. He had been on probation for a drunken-driving conviction.

''This gentleman has been subject to a great deal of media scrutiny and drawn to himself, should I say, notoriety. And a healthy share of bathroom humor, if you will,'' District Court Judge Pamela Albee said during the sentencing in New Hampshire.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

tmaxwell@pressherald.com

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