Local News

Prominent Rocky Mount Leaders Charged with Sex Crimes

Posted Updated
Wanda Williams
ROCKY MOUNT — Two prominent leaders in Rocky Mount arecharged with soliciting homosexual favors from strangers. Police filedmisdemeanor charges after, they say, the men approached undercoverofficers in a public park.

Nine people have been charged in a sting operation set up after policereceived complaints that strangers were approaching them in Battle Parkasking for sexual favors. Among those charged are 62-year-old EdDavenport, a board member for theRocky Mount YMCA, the other is 52-year-old Vito Gioia, Chairman of thelocal BigBrothers/Big Sisters organization.

The director of Big Brothers, Big Sisters says that, until this incident,Gioia was in charge of administrative operations, not activities involvinginteraction with children. Wanda Williams, executive director of theorganization, says they've always been pleased with his work.

Supporters at the YMCA say they think Davenport is innocent of thecharges. Carol Dickens, President of the organization's board says shethinks a misunderstanding has occurred.

Charges against the two men do not include any interaction withchildren or with clients of either organization. But both have voluntarilystepped down from their positions until the matter is resolved.

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