Mem Gym

One of the most notorious long-term habitués of Mem Gym’s happy-hour sauna group, “Mr. X,” was arrested in June 1995 and pleaded no contest to indecent exposure. Note: The “shower stall” referred to is a large communal shower, and the victim claimed he was the only one in the shower when Mr. X approached him. Mr. X is a former president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association.

From the victim’s statement to the police: “On 6/5/95, Mr. X was masturbating within 3 feet of me in the University of Virginia recreational facility known as Memorial Gymnasium in the shower stall.”
11/14/95: Pleaded no contest to the charge that he “did unlawfully intentionally make an obscene display of [his] person or private parts in a public place.”
60-day sentence suspended on condition of good behavior and continued treatment.
Gym privileges revoked.

The following are the accounts of three men, whose names have been changed.

“Rick Mendoza”
The incident described took place ca. 1986.

I’m a bodybuilder, and I’ve been approached a few times. I used to go in the sauna, and older men do try to pick you up in there. [One guy] offered money; he was in his mid-fifties, probably, [and looked like a] professional. The others just made suggestions. I was in the sauna, and one [said], you know, You look pretty nice, you’re built pretty good, and then touched me on my leg. I just got out of there.

“John Sorenson”
The incident described took place ca. 1986.

I was in the shower and went to my locker. He came over to me, and we started talking. He told me he was a law professor, but in subsequent years I [saw] him walking around Cabell Hall—I get the impression he was a professor, maybe, in Arts and Sciences. He was in his early or mid-forties. He wanted to show me around the rest of the gym. He made a pass at me, and then he said, There’s [a place] we can go to outside that’s private. I said, Okay, you go first and I’ll meet you there. [But] I never did; I just went back to my dorm.

“Andy Nelson”
The incident described took place sometime in the late 1980s.

I was going to the gym on a fairly regular basis, and I started going into the sauna. There were a lot of older men, [and one] guy followed me out of the sauna into the shower and started clearly playing with himself and looking at me. He follows me out of the shower—he’s not obnoxious or anything, other than the fact that he’s kind of obvious—what was obvious about what he did next was he took his hair dryer and sort of blow-dried himself from top to bottom, [looking at me] in the mirror, about 10 feet away. That’s an odd thing for any guy to do. He was trying to do some kind of gay come-on; I just left. This is where it got out of hand: when I got in my car and pulled out, he was behind me. I went through the light [at Emmet and University], and [he did too], and I’m thinking, This is too weird. So I did a U-turn into [what was at that time] the Exxon station to get gas, and he actually made the U-turn in as well. I pumped gas and ignored him; at this point there was just no doubt he was following me. I don’t know where he went, but he got the picture that I wasn’t interested.

A year or two later, I was [in Cabell Hall] for registration, and I could swear that I saw him there, as if he were a UVA professor. He was white, kind of nondescript; I would say he was medium height—five ten, five eleven, brown hair. He wasn’t in good shape; he was soft.

I went [to the locker room] a few more times, and then about two weeks later I was approached by somebody else, but this time it was a much more normal, polite thing. [The] guy came up to me and asked if I wanted to go to his place for drinks. That I didn’t mind so much; that’s just some gay guy trying to meet somebody. I just said no. The other guy was above and beyond any kind of limit of what his behavior should have been. I quit going to the sauna and shower, [because] I figured out this was legitimately some kind of pick-up place.

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