Scroll To Top

Indiana Mayor Gay Sex Scandal: Assault, Bribery, HIV, and Felony Charges

Indiana Mayor Gay Sex Scandal: Assault, Bribery, HIV, and Felony Charges

A small town Indiana mayor was recently arrested for paying another man for sex while the alleged sex worker was charged with intimidation, prostitution, and "failure to disclose dangerous communicable disease status," despite the latter man's protestations that the sex was coerced not consensual and that he has an undetectable viral load with little chance of transmitting the virus.

Although the investigation began when the sex worker went to the police alleging that the mayor had assaulted him, no charges were brought based on that allegation.

Batesville Mayor Richard Fledderman and massage therapist Randy Wigle-Setevens were both arrested Tuesday. The Mayor’s charges are all misdemeanors related to hiring a "prostitute," while Wigle-Stevens faces felony charges for allegedly failing to disclose his HIV status.

Batesville is a city in Indiana with a population of about 6,500 people. It is home to the Batesville Casket Company and Hill-Rom, a hospital bed manufacturer. Fledderman has been the mayor since 2003, but lost the Democratic primary election earlier this year.

According to an affidavit cited by the station WCPO, Fledderman told Indiana State Police that on June 7, his wife was out of town and he was drunk. AP reports and the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, say the 60-year-old grandfather then went online and found Wigle-Stevens listed as a masseuse. Fledderman then apparently called Wigle-Stevens, 42, of Indianapolis multiple times before making arrangements for him to visit the mayor’s home. Wigle-Stevens, who has been HIV-positive for 20 years, is an out gay man with a husband who has been vocal in social media about his arrest.

Court documents state that when Wigle-Stevens arrived at Fledderman's home, the man opened the door wearing nothing but a bathrobe, which he immediately discarded. Fledderman then stretched out naked on the couch and both men acknowledge that Wigle-Stevens then straddled his client and proceeded to massage him.

What happened next isn’t entirely clear, as the two men have offered considerably different accounts.  Wigle-Stevens claims that at this point Fledderman flipped over and tried to kiss him. He claims he avoided the mayor’s advances, which angered the older man, who, Wigle-Stevens told police, then grabbed his head and forced him to perform oral sex.

Meanwhile, Fledderman claims that the two engaged in a consensual sexual encounter that included both men performing oral sex on each other. Afterwards, Fledderman said be paid Wigle-Stevens $170 for the massage and gave him a $10 tip. The two men then talked about politics for three hours. 

Wigle-Stevens allegedly admits that when he was being paid he saw a gold badge emblazoned with the words "Mayor of Batseville." Several days later, Wigle-Stevens reportedly called Fledderman. The mayor said Wigle-Stevens blackmailed him, demanding an additional $500 in hush money. The massage therapist told police he wasn’t blackmailing the mayor, but just wanted the man to pay another $250 for the extra time he spent at Fledderman’s house after the massage.

Both men agree that they later met in a parking lot where Fledderman gave Wigle-Stevens $250, and $20 for gas. Six weeks later, Wigle-Stevens went to a local hospital, made allegations that the mayor had sexually assaulted him, which led to the police investigation. Because of the mayor’s position, the case was assigned to the Indiana State Police, not the local authorities.

According to the Indiana State Police, during the investigation conducted by Detective Roger Drew, “it was determined that in June of this year Fledderman paid Wigle-Stevens for sex acts.  It was also determined that Wigle-Stevens failed to disclose his HIV status to Fledderman prior to engaging in the sex acts.  The investigation also revealed that Wigle-Stevens threatened to go public with the encounter unless Fledderman paid him additional money.”

David Stevens, who identified himself as Randy Wigle-Stevens' husband on Facebook, posted that his spouse was being "slut shamed while mayor sleeps in his cozy bed." In another post, Stevens wrote, “Cops and prosecutor can’t do their jobs without all the info. For example, Randy is on Truvada, HIV is undetectable… He gave a nude massage and handjob, and was then assaulted by mayor (I have pics) sorry porky pig you can’t get HIV from a massage and handjob…How can you make an arrest based on old outdated laws—the only person ever at risk was Randy… From a drunken mayor who’s not used to hearing, ‘No’!”

Local media reports say that the townsfolk seem supportive of the popular three-term mayor, and whether this is assault or bribery gone awry, the HIV charges are a conundrum for advocates in Indiana and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the recent cases of HIV-criminalization suggest that prosecutors and juries often reject the science in favor of their mistaken beliefs both about how HIV is transmitted and whether the virus itself is a death sentence. 

Tags: Law & Crime

From our Sponsors

READER COMMENTS ()