The man arrested for allegedly offering to pay young women to watch him masturbate is a medical sergeant assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson officials confirmed Friday.
Sgt. 1st Class Duston Ridner, 43, from Austin, Texas, was arrested around 4:30 p.m. at North Academy Boulevard and Shrider Road, according to a news release from police. Colorado Springs police said there are at least 13 incidents in which a man drove a red pickup truck and offered to pay young women to watch him masturbate.
Ridner, who has been active duty military for 12 years, was arrested on suspicion of obscenity, a felony, and two misdemeanors: attempted indecent exposure and soliciting for prostitution, the news release said. Police did not say which of the 13 cases Ridner is accused in.
Police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley said she could not provide any additional information, including how police zeroed in on a suspect, because the case has been sealed by the District Attorney's office.
According to information provided by Fort Carson, Ridner has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and earned the Special Forces Tab, Pathfinder Badge and Parachutist Badge.
The arrest comes after officers spent three weeks canvassing the city in search of a suspect and his red pickup truck.
The three most recent incidents were reported Thursday, which bumped the number of confirmed incidents up to 13, police said.
The first incidents were reported April 28, and similar reports from females ranging in age from 12 to 22 cropped up across the city in the weeks that followed.
Some victims said the man wore chrome sunglasses and some reported him to be wearing a hoodie or military style clothing, police said. Many of the victims also said the man had offered them $100 to watch him masturbate. Many of the victims described him as being friendly and polite.
"As soon as we determined that this was not a one- or two-time deal, the unit was assigned the case," Colorado Springs Police Det. Jeremy Kniffen with the Crimes Against Children Unit told The Gazette earlier this week. "We're very confident that it's just a matter of time until we catch this guy."
The following incidents, involving eight girls under age 18 and five adult women, were reported by police:
- April 28: Two 15-year-old girls were solicited in a shopping area at Austin Bluffs Parkway and Barnes Road, near Doherty High School, within about 15 minutes of each other. The first encounter was between 3:20 and 3:30 p.m.; the second occurred around 3:40 p.m. That same day, a 12-year-old girl was approached at about 4 p.m. in the 7000 block of Austin Bluffs Parkway, west of Freedom Elementary School and about 3 miles from the earlier encounters.
- May 9: A 16-year-old girl was approached about 1:30 p.m. in the 4600 block of Austin Bluffs Parkway.
- May 13: A 16-year-old girl was solicited about 3 p.m. near Pearl Drive and Park Vista Boulevard, and a 17-year-old was approached about 20 minutes later near Pearl Drive and Meadowland Boulevard, east of Russell Middle School.
- May 15: A 22-year-old was approached about 1:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of Briargate Boulevard. A 20-year-old woman was solicited about 4 p.m. near Research Parkway and Scarlet Drive, about 3 miles east of the first incident.
- May 16: A 17-year-old girl was approached just after 2 p.m. near Palmer High School on North Nevada Avenue.
- May 19: An 18-year-old reported that she was approached in the 1700 block of Briargate Boulevardjust before 4 p.m.
- May 22: An 18-year-old as approached near William Avenue and Cheyenne Road around 9:30 a.m. police said. About 20 minutes later, a second female was approached at 2050 Southgate Road. Additional details were not provided about the third incident, which occurred Thursday afternoon.
Police believe there may be additional victims in the case.
Gazette reporter Lisa Walton contributed to this report