Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Retired police chief pleads not guilty to indecent exposure [Updated]

December 20, 2010 |  1:37 pm

A retired Huntington Park police chief charged with indecent exposure pleaded not guilty Monday in an Orange County courtroom.

Anaheim Police said Paul Lawrence Wadley, 56, had left sexually explicit photos in Anaheim parks and allegedly flashed a woman. He turned himself in Monday and was released on $15,000 bond in connection with the alleged misdemeanor.

Detectives last week conducted a search of the ex-chief's home near Toyon Park, where many of the incidents occurred. Wadley surrendered to authorities after returning from overseas.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.: Wadley’s attorney, Al Fadel Amer, said the retired chief was working overseas last week when Anaheim detectives were looking for him, and he immediately returned to clear his name.

“He was working in Kosovo with the European Union on policing when he heard about this case,” Amer said. “He immediately quit his job to come back to deal with this case. He is innocent and is looking forward to his day in court.”

Amer said he had just received the evidence in the case and could not discuss specific allegations.]

Detectives tied Wadley to the crimes after his fingerprint was found on one of the explicit photos left at the park, said Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez.

Anaheim police said an eyewitness to the indecent-exposure incident gave a description that matched Wadley. They said they also have additional evidence gathered from his home.

The investigation began Nov. 4 when a woman contacted Anaheim police to report she found a photograph of "male genitalia" on the ground near a running trail at Oak Canyon Road in east Anaheim, Martinez said.

The woman told investigators she had found similar lewd photographs on the trail on a previous occasions. She did not notify police then, she said, because she destroyed the pictures.

In another incident on Thanksgiving Day around 6 a.m., a woman reported that she was hiking on a trail near Toyon Park when a man walked by and exposed himself to her by lowering his pants to his knees, police said.

And on Nov. 29, three women returned to their cars in the Toyon Park parking lot and found lewd photographs on their car windshields, police said.

Martinez said that patrol officers found additional similar photographs near the trail in the days after those incidents.

-- Richard Winton