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Mayor blackmailed, arrested for paying for sex with man

Mayor blackmailed, arrested for paying for sex with man
This updated booking photo provided by the Indiana State Police shows Richard Fledderman, the three-term mayor of Batesville, Ind. who has been charged with patronizing a male prostitute.
This updated booking photo provided by the Indiana State Police shows Richard Fledderman, the three-term mayor of Batesville, Ind. who has been charged with patronizing a male prostitute. AP Photo/Indiana State Police
BATESVILLE, Ind. — An HIV-positive Indianapolis man has been charged with trying to blackmail a small-town Indiana mayor after the two had sex at the politician’s home. Batesville Mayor Richard Fledderman, 60, was charged Tuesday with patronizing a prostitute, while Randy Wigle-Stevens, 42, has been charged with failure to disclose dangerous communicable disease status, prostitution, and intimidation. The case was taken up by Indiana State Police after Wigle-Stevens went to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on July 19 claiming he had been sexually assaulted by the mayor. Police investigators have since uncovered conflicting tales of what happened. According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday, Fledderman told police he found Wigle-Stevens through a website, saying he was seeking a massage while his wife was out of town. Detective Roger Drew said Fledderman later admitted he was looking for sex.
Booking photo of Randy Wigle-Stevens, who is accused of failing to disclose his HIV status and attempting to blackmail Batesville.
Booking photo of Randy Wigle-Stevens, who is accused of failing to disclose his HIV status and attempting to blackmail Batesville.
Fledderman told Drew he paid Wigle-Stevens $170, including a $10 tip, for consensual sex at his Batesville home on June 7, 2014, according to the affidavit. Drew said Wigle-Stevens told him Fledderman forced him to perform a sex act. Fledderman told police that the other man realized he was a public official and demanded $500 for his silence, claiming he had DNA evidence of their encounter. Wigle-Stevens admitted he saw a badge reading “Mayor of Batesville” and that he called Fledderman several days later asking for $250 more for the extra two hours they spent discussing politics at the mayor’s house. Fledderman told Drew he met Wigle-Stevens in a parking lot and paid him $250, plus $20 for gas. He said Wigle-Stevens told him he had a brown prescription bottle that contained a paper towel carrying his DNA. Fledderman later discovered the bottle was empty, the affidavit says.

The Associated Press couldn’t reach Fledderman for comment Wednesday. His home phone repeatedly rang unanswered and he didn’t immediately respond to an email or a phone message left at his office in Batesville, 45 miles west of Cincinnati.

Wigle-Stevens appeared in court Wednesday and was released on his own recognizance. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 16. Wigle-Stevens told The Associated Press by telephone that had no comment.

Court records do not indicate if either man has an attorney.

Police say Wigle-Stevens was diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago. The HIV status of the mayor has not been disclosed. State police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said he could not comment beyond what appears in the probable cause affidavit.

On his website, the mayor describes Batesville as a “city committed to faith, family, education and a strong economy.” It is home to some 7,000 residents. He was elected to three four-year terms, but was defeated in the May Democratic primary by Elmer “Mike” Vonderheid.

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