Washington

Carnival worker at Washington State Fair charged with indecent exposure in Tacoma

A man who told police he worked in a child play area at the Washington State Fair was arraigned Wednesday on charges of indecent exposure and drug possession.

Ernest Guy Volk, 58, is accused of masturbating in front of a Tacoma home Tuesday and having methamphetamine in his pocket when police arrested him.

He has previous misdemeanor charges from more than 15 years ago for similar sexual behavior, some of which was in the presence of children.

According to charging papers, he said he worked in the “kids corral” play area at the fair in Puyallup, and initially said he had snorted meth at work Monday, but then said he had not.

Fair spokeswoman Stacy Howard said there isn’t a “kids corral” at the fair.

Volk was employed by Funtastic, the fair’s carnival operator, and has been fired, she said.

Howard couldn’t confirm what Volk did for Funtastic, and said the company was investigating. Funtastic was not reachable for comment Wednesday.

Fair officials said in 2014 that Oregon-based Funtastic screened all workers operating rides and games for past felony charges. Ride operators who worked with the youngest kids at the fair’s SillyVille underwent a second check to look for other crimes and arrests.

It was not clear Wednesday whether Volk worked in the SillyVille area.

His criminal record includes a 1999 misdemeanor conviction of indecent conduct, for masturbating in public, including in front of children near a Tacoma park.

In addition, he has a 1998 misdemeanor conviction of second-degree criminal trespass with sexual motivation, for hiding in a hedge to watch a 13-year-old Tacoma girl sunbathe.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail for the new charges at $7,500.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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