Batesville mayor accused of patronizing a prostitute resigns

Batesville Mayor extortion (VIDEO)
Mugshot for Randy Wigle-Stevens, provided.
Mugshot for Randy Wigle-Stevens, provided.
Mug shot for Batesville City Mayor Richard Fledderman, provided.
Mug shot for Batesville City Mayor Richard Fledderman, provided.

BATESVILLE, IN (FOX19) - The Batesville mayor accused of patronizing a prostitute resigned, effective immediately Wednesday.

Batesville City Mayor Richard Fledderman, 60, who is married, faces one count of patronizing a prostitute in June.

"It is with great regret that I must step down as mayor of Batesville, a city that I have been privileged to serve for two decades. I am truly sorry for my actions and for the hurt I have caused my family and community as a result. It is my hope that the City of Batesville can move forward under new leadership while I take this time to focus on my health, my family and my friends whom I love very deeply," said Fledderman, in a provided statement.

Batesville City Council President Gene Lambert has been serving as acting executive for Batesville.  Lambert as an acting executive will expire on Aug. 27, unless it is extended by a judge.

A caucus of the Batesville Democratic Party precinct committee members will select a replacement to finish Fledderman's term, which expires on Dec. 31.

Police say Fledderman paid another man, Randy Wigle-Stevens, for sex acts in June.

Wigle-Stevens, 42, of Indianapolis, failed to disclose he had HIV and threatened to go public with the encounter unless Fledderman paid him additional money, according to Indiana State Police.

Wigle-Stevens was charged with failure to disclose dangerous communicable disease status, prostitution and intimidation.

He faces a Ripley Superior Court judge at 9 a.m. His bond already was set at $1,050, court officials said.

Court records detail the men's encounter and how the incident came to the attention of state police.

Wigle-Stevens went to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on July 19, claimed the mayor raped him and he had DNA proof, according to a sworn statement from Indiana State Police Detective Roger Drew.

The nurse did not collect a sexual assault kit because the alleged sexual encounter occurred more than a month ago. But Wigle-Stevens said he brought the mayor's DNA, so the nurse contacted state police.

Wigle-Stevens left the hospital and met the next day with Drew at the Columbus Police Department in Indiana. He told the detective he received four phone calls on June 7 from a male caller later identified as Fledderman and requesting a massage at his Batesville residence.

Wigle-Stevens said he thought the mayor, who sounded intoxicated, had gotten rid of his phone number from Wigle-Stevens' website. But he went to Batesville and the mayor answered the door in his bathrobe, court records show.

He showed Wigle-Stevens to another room in the home, where he disrobed and laid nude on the couch. Wigle-Stevens told police he straddled Fledderman and began to massage him.

During the massage, the mayor rolled over and tried to kiss him, but Wigle-Stevens said he declined.

That's when the mayor allegedly forced him into a sex act, court records show. He left the room, collected the DNA evidence on a paper towel and left.

He told state police the mayor paid him $170 in cash from his wallet for the massage. During that time, WIgle-Stevens said he saw a gold-colored badge that had "Mayor of Batesville" on it.

The two men discussed politics then for the next three hours, and Wigle-Stevens said he left.

Several days later, Wigle-Stevens said he called the mayor and wanted an additional $250 for the extra time he was at Fledderman's. Within the next few days, the two men in a Staples store parking lot in Greensburg, Indiana next to a Wal-Mart, and Fledderman handed over the money.

The mayor asked him if he ever had a sexual experience with a client during a massage and he replied 'yes,' court records show, and that he had an open relationship with his husband.

Drew, the state police detective collected the DNA evidence/paper towel Wigle-Stevens said he had been keeping from June 7.

Next, Drew met with the mayor in the detective's car and asked him how he came to meet Wigle-Stevens. The mayor responded he found him on a website while looking for a massage therapist.

During a later conversation, he admitted to the detective he was not only seeking a massage therapist, but he also was looking for someone with whom he could have sex, Drew's affidavit states.

The mayor's version of events differed from Wigle-Stevens' account: He said he invited the massage therapist to his house while his wife was out of town. He admitted to being intoxicated and in a bathrobe when he answered the door, but insisted the sex between the men was consensual.

He said he paid Wigle-Stevens $170 including a $10 tip and that the man was only at his home an hour.

The mayor said Wigle-Stevens contacted him by cell phone several days later, said he had DNA from their encounter and "was going to tell" unless Fledderman gave him $500, at which time Wigle-Stevens would turn over DNA.

The two men at the Staples, where the mayor said he paid him $250 plus $20 in gas and in return Wigle-Stevens gave him a brown prescription bottle that contained a paper towel supposedly with his DNA on it.

Fledderman said he opened the bottle, looked at the contents, didn't see anything and threw it out in the trash.

As part of the investigation, police discovered Wigle-Stevens is HIV-positive and was diagnosed 20 years ago. At no time during the encounter with the mayor did Wigle-Stevens disclosed his medical status, the affidavit states.

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