Douglas Dam sting operation nets arrests
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office told The Mountain Press Monday that it had arrested several people over the last few weeks for allegedly using the Douglas Dam Reservation for sexual rendezvous, including three men who now face felony charges.
The Tennessee Valley Authority oversees the property, but asked Sheriff Ron Seals to aid its police force in increasing patrols and sending undercover officers to the area.
Authorities began receiving complaints that the area was being used for illicit activities several weeks ago, and started the undercover operation as far back as June 20, when the first arrest was made. The investigation revealed some suspects were using the Internet to solicit sex and set up trysts on the TVA property, officials said.
“TVA is committed to keeping our properties family friendly environments,” said David G. Jolley, vice president in charge of security for TVA. “Our partnership with local departments such as Sevier County are critical to achieving that goal.”
Seals said his deputies worked with TVA personnel to curb illicit activity in the area so that families could enjoy using it for camping, picnicking and fishing.
The Mountain Press learned of the operation, which concluded Monday, last week after an unnamed source told the paper about it. A reporter confirmed the operation when it was mentioned in the arrest warrant for one of the suspects — Darrell J. Doucet, 48, of 144 Colony Drive in Jefferson City, who was charged July 22 with sexual battery and indecent exposure.
According to his arrest warrant, Doucet, allegedly approached an undercover deputy on July 22 with his genitals exposed, then groped the deputy. “This act was unprovoked by the victim,” the warrant sates. “The victim did not give Mr. Doucet consent to touch him.”
The newspaper agreed to wait to publish the information after officials said doing so would end an ongoing operation.
The arrests include three men charged with sexual battery, a Class E felony: Doucet, along with Russell A. Miller, 49, of 2260 Robertson View Point in Sevierville, and Larry G. Oleson, 67, of 1501 Parrotts Chapel Road in Sevierville.
Five other suspects were arrested after law enforcement officers allegedly caught them exposing themselves.
John L. Walker, 36, of 1376 Waterfront Drive in Dandrige; Daniel N. White, 56, of 220 Dogwood Place in Pigeon Forge; Allen K. Ogle, 31, of 3329 Bent Road in Kodak; David R. Wilson, 58, of 2302 Maples Crossing Way in Kodak; Michael W. Utz, 59, of 6702 Strawberry Plains Pike in Strawberry Plains, each face charges of public indecency, a misdemeanor.
Seals said he will continue sending additional patrols through the reservation in coming weeks, and that he expects to conduct additional undercover operations to see to it that the illicit activity comes to a halt.