DETROIT (AP) — The son of sex research pioneer Dr. William H. Masters is accused of exposing himself to a sheriff's deputy and another woman posing as recreational kayakers during a sting operation along a river in eastern Michigan.
A completely nude William H. Masters III yelled for the women's attention on Saturday, then made obscene gestures from the bank of the Pinnebog River, Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said. The deputy called for backup from a Michigan conservation officer who tracked down the 60-year-old Masters, who owns property in the area.
Masters, who made an initial court appearance Tuesday, also was arrested for indecent exposure earlier this year in New York City.
Hanson said Wednesday that his office has investigated four indecent exposure incidents in the area during the past two weeks, but added: "This has been going on for years."
The sheriff said investigators are looking into similarities between the case involving Masters and past incidents of indecent exposure in the Port Crescent State Park area, such as "this time of the year, that stretch of the river."
Masters, who lives in Southampton, New York, is charged with aggravated indecent exposure, a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail and a $2,000 fine. He wasn't represented by an attorney during his court appearance. Neither he nor his wife returned calls Wednesday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Masters was arrested May 9 in New York City after a police officer reported seeing him expose his genitals and masturbate in Central Park. Court records show he was ordered to perform two days of community service under an agreement with prosecutors, who say the Michigan arrest might affect the New York case.
Masters' home in Michigan is in Pointe Aux Barques Township, which Hanson described as an older community where several wealthy families from around the U.S. own property.
Susan Gilbride, 54, of Grosse Pointe Park, said she was "totally blown away" by news of Masters' arrest. The suburban Detroit resident said her family's Pointe Aux Barques summer home sits a few doors down from one owned by Masters, who she's known for more than 20 years.
"Howie is a very special person," Gilbride told The Associated Press on Wednesday night, adding that she and her husband would share dinner or drinks with the man she described as "charismatic" at least twice each summer. "To have this happen is beyond shocking."
Gilbride said she was not aware that local police were trying to stop a spate of indecent exposure incidents. She said Masters and his wife remain "close friends."
"He is an extremely warm, sensitive, compassion person," she said. "These are wonderful people ... This whole thing is just horrible. I can't imagine what they are going through right now."
County Prosecutor Timothy Rutkowski said Masters was freed on a $5,000 cash bond. The judge permitted Masters to travel to New York, but he must be present at all court appearances, including a pretrial hearing Sept. 13.
Masters' father, who died in 2001, pioneered research in the field of human sexuality.
The elder Masters and his partner Virginia Johnson conducted interviews and observed sex in the act, researching biological responses and monitoring the physiology of sexual arousal. He and Johnson, whom he later married, wrote 1966's "Human Sexual Response," which was a best-seller.
Associated Press writers David Goodman and David Aguilar in Detroit contributed to this report. Colleen Long and AP news researcher Jennifer Farrar contributed from New York.