(WBIR-Sevierville) Authorities have arrested eight men after a crackdown on sexual activity around Douglas Dam.
The Sevier County Sheriff's Office and TVA Police teamed up for an undercover operation after learning the area was being used as a meeting place for sexual activity.
Investigators learned that suspects were using the internet to solicit sex and setting up meetings in the parking lots or scenic trails for sexual encounters.
"About mid-June, we got information this type of activity was going on over there at TVA reservation," said Captain Jeff McCarter with SCSO. "At that point we met with TVA authorities and investigators and, basically, came up with a plan."
Maggie Hurst and her family live in Sevier County. When they learned about the arrests at one of their favorite spots for recreational activity, they were surprised.
"We didn't understand there were things like that going on here," Hurst said. "We knew of other places, but not this beautiful place."
Authorities increased uniformed patrols at the recreation site, and also conducted multiple under-cover sting operations.
"We want to try to curb any activity like that. That's a place for people to enjoy over there, they shouldn't be exposed to anything like that," Capt. McCarter said.
Sheriff Ron Seals said the recreation area at Douglas Dam Reservation is a place where families come to enjoy camping, picnicking and fishing. He said his department will continue to work with TVA Police to curb illicit activity.
"TVA is committed to keeping our properties family friendly environments," echoed David G. Jolley, TVA vice president of Security and Emergency Management. "Our partnerships with local departments such as Sevier County are critical to achieving that goal."
The sheriff's office has increased patrols in the area.
These men were cited for Public Indecency:
John L. Walker Jr., age 36
Daniel N. White, age 56
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Allen K. Ogle, age 31
David R. Wilson, age 58
Michael W. Utz, age 59
Strawberry Plains, Tenn.
These men were charged with sexual battery:
Darrell J. Doucet, age 48
Jefferson City. Tenn.
Russell A. Miller, age 49
Larry G. Oleson, age 67