Pa. police officer accused of masturbating in car says he was just trying to stay awake

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Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio talks during a press conference held by Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin. Martin announced Friday that Glenn C. Woolard, a Bethlehem patrolman, has been charged with two counts of indecent exposure.

BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem patrolman Glenn C. Woolard ended his night shift and was driving home Wednesday morning when he pulled down his basketball shorts and exposed himself, according to court records.

A woman in a box truck was driving next to Woolard's sedan as they both went south on Hamilton Boulevard in Lower Macungie Township and was shocked at what she saw, telling a state trooper who took her report, he was "waving it around" and fondling himself, court records say.

The woman gave the sedan's license plate number to police, who went to Woolard's nearby house. At first, Woolard denied the accusation, but then confessed, authorities said.

The 35-year-old patrolman admitted exposing himself Wednesday morning and also a week earlier in the parking lot of the Target store where a woman said he had his window down "as if he wanted to be seen," the records say.

In his defense, Woolard allegedly told the trooper, he wasn't doing it for sexual gratification. He was just trying to stay awake while driving home, court records say.

On Friday, authorities announced that Woolard, recently commended by Bethlehem officials for rushing into a burning home to save a life, was being suspended and charged with two counts of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. After he was arraigned by District Judge Rod Beck, Woolard was released on his own recognizance.

"This is always a sad day for law enforcement when these kinds of things occur," Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said at a news conference to announce charges. Martin was joined by Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez, Bethlehem Chief Mark DiLuzio and state police Lt. Jon Nederostek.

Martin said Woolard was off-duty in incidents the morning of Sept. 27 and Wednesday, was not in uniform and was in his personal vehicle.

Woolard was suspended after Wednesday's incident and will be facing further disciplinary action, which could include dismissal, DiLuzio said. The department's office of professional standards is conducting an internal investigation, he said, adding that he couldn't comment further because it involves a personnel matter.

"The Bethlehem Police Department has cooperated fully and will continue to cooperate fully with the Pennsylvania state police and the Lehigh County district attorney's office in its investigation," he said.

Woolard, who is married and lives in Lower Macungie Township, has been with the department since February 2013 and had no past disciplinary actions, Martin said. Before working in Bethlehem, Woolard served honorably in the Army's 75th Ranger Battalion and had multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

Before his military and law enforcement career, Woolard was a star pitcher at Kutztown University and is a member of the school's Hall of Fame. He was drafted in the 10th round by the San Francisco Giants in 2002 and spent several years in the minor leagues before enlisting.

Authorities say the investigation began with a pair of reports to the state police's Fogelsville barracks.

According to a criminal complaint:

A 49-year-old woman called state police at 10:44 a.m. Sept. 27 after seeing a man masturbating in the parking lot of the Target and Dick's Sporting Goods at 749 Krocks Road.

The woman said she was shopping, and when she returned to her car, she saw a man in a blue car next to hers exposing and touching himself. She said the man had his car windows down "as if he wanted to be seen." She said she left and called police.

Police got to the parking lot, but could not find the blue car. A trooper reviewed surveillance footage and could see the blue car enter the lot and park next to the woman's car at 10:17 a.m. The car moved to another location in the lot, but returned and again parked next to the woman's car at 10:37 a.m., a minute before she returned to her car.

Eight days later, state police received a report from a 37-year-old woman who said she saw a man exposing himself while driving on Hamilton Boulevard in a blue car of the same make as in the Sept. 27 incident.

The woman gave police the license plate number and it came back to Woolard, who lives in the 6600 block of Mine Drive.

After getting the report at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, one trooper headed straight to Woolard's house while another interviewed the woman.

The woman said she was driving her work truck south on Hamilton near Cedar Crest Boulevard when a blue car came up on her left side.

The driver, wearing a dark T-shirt and white basketball shorts, was exposing himself, she told the trooper. The woman continued driving to Lincoln Avenue and the blue car again pulled up alongside her, the driver still exposing himself, she told the trooper.

She said she followed him, took down his license plate number and called police.

At Woolard's house, a trooper found the blue car parked in the driveway, its engine still warm. Woolard answered the door, wearing the same clothing as the woman described.

The trooper told him his reason for the visit and Woolard denied the accusations. Woolard agreed to go to the Fogelsville barracks for an interview, during which, he admitted exposing himself in both incidents.

He told the trooper he didn't do it for sexual gratification or to "showcase" himself, but rather to "stimulate himself and stay awake while driving home from work," court records say.

Wednesday's incident happened after Woolard finished his shift, Martin said.

Martin said he's not aware of any other incidents, but expects some people may come forward after hearing the news of the arrest.

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