Judge Heather Doyle of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court ruled Feb. 8 to find Tampa resident Joseph Traugott, 62, guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor for the exposure of sexual organs.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Traugott June 26, 2021, after a complainant reported seeing him remove his clothing and masturbate in front of her and two relatives on the south side of Passage Key.
Passage Key is a national wildlife refuge that people are prohibited from visiting — other than wading in the waters around the small island.
Traugott, who was wearing a mesh thong, reportedly fled after the complainant screamed for him to stop what he was doing.
MCSO marine units arrested Traugott and brought him to the Kingfish Boat Ramp in Holmes Beach, where another officer took custody of Traugott and transported him to the Manatee County jail.
Traugott was released June 27, 2021, after posting a $15,000 bond.
Despite Traugott’s July 2, 2021, not guilty plea and demand for a jury trial, he pleaded no contest at a Feb. 8 pre-trial conference.
Doyle sentenced Traugott to serve 12 months of supervised probation, participate in a psychological evaluation and complete 75 hours of public service.
The sentence also includes orders prohibiting Traugott from contacting the victims and returning to Passage Key, as well as disposed one of two $7,500 bonds paid upon Traugott’s release from jail.