Local News

Prominent Rocky Mount Leaders Charged with Sex Crimes

Posted March 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Two prominent leaders in Rocky Mount are charged with soliciting homosexual favors from strangers. Police filed misdemeanor charges after, they say, the men approached undercover officers in a public park.

Nine people have been charged in a sting operation set up after police received complaints that strangers were approaching them in Battle Park asking for sexual favors. Among those charged are 62-year-old Ed Davenport, a board member for the Rocky Mount YMCA, the other is 52-year-old Vito Gioia, Chairman of the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.

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

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

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