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EDITORIAL: Mason City YMCA to release statement on “sex offense”

Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

Finally, in the wake of the arrest of three North Iowa men for a  “sex offense” at the Mason City YMCA, the organization says it is on the brink of releasing a statement.

I made contact with Mason City YMCA Director Liz Conley last week.  I asked what some might consider some “uncomfortable questions.”  I feel like they are questions that need answers.  She communicated to me that she would have answers to my questions by the end of the day on August 8th.  The only response I ended up receiving was:

“We will be communicating with our members in the next few days. We will also release a statement to all media.”

This incident bothered me, and it bothered the community.  It bothered me because I used to go to the Mason City YMCA.  I stopped going because of the behavior I witnessed in the men’s locker room there. I never saw any “sex acts” but I routinely saw men walking around naked, pacing around, stretching naked, shaving naked, and staring at the rest of us getting dressed.  That was enough for me to  say “goodbye.”

I’m not the only one who has been creeped out by the goings-on in the men’s locker room there.

One man told me “From my days there I saw old men sitting in there naked.  One guy getting out of the shower and doing naked jumping jacks while I shielded my eyes and went to my safe place.”

Another woman told me “My bf has! He said some men were standing around with their “bidness” all out, just talking, acting really weird.  He stopped using the men’s locker room and started using the family ones for privacy!”

There were other accounts, but you get the picture.  Sorry about that.

This is a serious matter, and believe me when I say, the three men charged are innocent until proven guilty and I am passing no judgement on them.  Let the courts determine their innocence or guilt.  But it is despicable that there are so many in the community that feel the YMCA has a bad element in it.

Especially since there could be youngsters or even children in that locker room.  Where is the YMCA leadership and staff in monitoring that place?

I asked former YMCA Director Don Nelson, who was in charge of the Y back when it was on Pennsylvania Ave., what he thought of this situation.  He ran the place for years.

“Very unfortunate,  just unfortunate, I was shocked,” Nelson said.

“Pleased it didn’t happen on my watch,” he continued.  “It indicates more supervision is needed, that’s what I did.  I had people walk through, and we made an effort to walk through and see what was going on, especially when the youth were there.”

Nelson closed with some sage advice:  “I think all facilities where you have children and adults have to be supervised.”

We await the news release from the YMCA.


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So is nakedness a crime and a sin now?!

“routinely saw men walking around naked, pacing around, stretching naked, shaving naked” — No shit, it’s a locker room for adult men who shower after working out.

Amazing how times have changed or maybe it’s an Iowa thing.

Nakedness in the locker room is a bad thing? Get real. How do you shower? With your clothes on, or maybe you don’t after working out?

The 4 major colleges I attended all had gang showers. The local YMCA I attended in a city of over 100k had gang showers. The middle school and the high school I attended had gang showers. No, we did not wear swim suits in the shower.

I guess now people prefer to stink and not shower and that is what’s gross.

What the hell is this person commenting on nakedness in the lockerroom thinking. I have been a Y member for over 30 years and nakedness IS the way it is. I have been on the road for those same 30+ years and that IS THE WAY it is at ALL other Y’s. I have no problem walking around in the locker room with no clothes on and that is NORMAL. If someone else has a problem they should not go to the Y.

Other members are not “parading” around it is just the way it is in a locker room. What the hell do they think it is like in high school or college locker rooms? This dumbass is just trying to start trouble…There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the way the Y’s mens locker room is now!!!!

Being naked in a locker room isn’t the problem for me.

What’re you supposed to do? Take a shower or steam bath with your clothes on? Now if I saw a person doing that, I would really have some concern.

The problem for me is the obvious one–some individuals turned the locker room into their sexual play pen.

Yes, the sex was the problem and it needed to be taken care of immediately.

Taking your clothes off before showering is something most people were taught early in life.

I would feel more embarrassment by showing an over weight disgusting body off than walking around in the buff.

Have they released their statement yet?

The YMCA is a joke. Besides these jokers affairs and ruined marriages occurred at the YMCA with sex in the family changing room. I talked to Liz about this and she didn’t care.

The Y is a dump with the biggest group of bums for workers I’ve ever seen at a fitness club.

Niiiice. So there’s free or reduced membership rates for some of the gangster wanna beeeees that have been showing up in Mason City? Who knew? That, combined with poor supervision equals trouble doesn’t it? Do you think “free YMCA membership” is on those posters people talk about seeing in some bigger cities advertising our area welfare benefits?

IT’S A LOCKER ROOM!! I get it that doing jumping jacks and sex acts in the sauna is just plain sick, but as to people walking around naked, get over it and stop being such little pussys. Man up. If you don’t like people seeing you naked or seeing other people naked, take your clothes like you did in junior high school and change in the corner.

It’s also called being appropriate and respectful. There is no need to be completely nude in these facilities unless you are taking a shower. I am hoping the YMCA will adopt some new rules. Like you must have shorts on to enter the sauna or steam room. You must have a towel around your waist if you are not showering, ect. Nothing pussy about it there knucklehead, but perhaps you like staring at schlong rather than the other.

Listen jerk off. You think we don’t know that?! The point is…IT’S A LOCKER ROOM. Take your cloths off, take your shower, dry off, and get dressed. Don’t sit there for an hour naked with your legs spread wide open. Is that too much to ask? You need a reality check or maybe you enjoy looking at this for extended periods of time? I’m not worried about someone seeing ME naked. I don’t care to see old men with little weiners hanging out in the locker room naked for extended periods of time. I guess you enjoy that sort of thing.

Agreed! First things first, I’m not condoning the “sex act,” but there is nothing wrong with being naked in a locker room. To me this is a generational thing…my dad was a member of the YMCA back when it was only a men’s facility and you practically did everything naked included swimming laps in the pool.

I had a family member who was a part of the MC basketball team in the early 2000s and they all showered in their swimming trunks after each game…now to me that’s weird.

It’s no wonder that the younger generation thinks that it’s weird that the older generation is standing around naked in the locker room…I don’t know what happened, but I guess it’s not okay to be naked anymore?

Oh, by the way, I’m female and glad I don’t have to deal with this locker room crap. And I think the YMCA is a great facility, and hopefully they can rebound from this.

You guys that are disgruntaled there are other places that you can work out at like ANYTIME FITNESS (24 hr) and lots of security cameras, NIP, and IRON HOUSE (24hrI, Iused to go to the Y but switched to Anytime fitness due to all the trash I saw the Y was allowing to use their facility. Better prices at the other 3 gyms.

Ironhouse Gym isn’t a bad place to work out but one of the owners is TOO anal…No caulk allowed and signs everywhere… “Don’t lean on wall” Don’t pee on toilet” “Don’t spit in drinking fountain” etc. and NO AB MACHINES!

Northofstate Hey Its Not like that, You think you are better then everyone else and you are prob the one that leaves the weights on the machines cause you are better, but your not

Not better just stating facts, as far as leaving weights on the machines, read the first line I WAS a member but I have found a BETTER place to work out, no thugs and no old naked guys running around!! If that makes me better so be it, how much you paying a month for your membership? I’m guessing very little

I was Y member for a short time. Having to watch grown men / Old men parading around the locker room without towels was just one of the dysfunctions at this facility. I got sick of paying my monthly bill every month then going in and having to put up with these low life thugs, dboys, young punk wanna bees who didn’t work being allowed there free of charge because they were unemployed, not because there are no jobs, they sell drugs, steal or live off the government, several had long criminal histories, they show up intimidate, talk smack, cuss hoot and holler stare ath the females who are using the facilities. Run around with the shorts hanging off their ass, ALL FREE OF CHARGE!! The Y has many more problems beyond the perversion of what’s been going on in the locker room!! Great place to take your family!!! NOT

The Dboyz must have really done a number to you by the way your post gets off of the actual main subject of the indecent exposures. How do you know they got “free” memeberships? The really funny thing is you criticize them while they are at the Y. I don’t understand what that group of people could do without having fingers pointed at them. Just think about it if your small mind is capable of critical thinking…

Lets remember that this is a business. They can’t go out making statements with out first considering what should and should not be said. As curious as we all are they need to be professional about this situation. On a side note like others have said dont let the acts of 3 idiots ruin a great place. In general if you see something inappropriate going on ANYWHERE turn whoever in! But bad things to a stop. Its not fair that people have to leave a gender specified locker room for a family one because people cant act like grown adults!

The Y is a great facility. Don’t let the acts of three people cloud your judgement. The locker rooms are small and need to be expanded. It would be a good idea to make it a rule that you must wear a swimsuit or shorts to go into the sauna or steam room. It would also be a good idea to reconfigured the showers. The Y is not full of perverts. Don’t condemn it because of the acts of three people.

I agree with everything you have said minus the acts of 3 people. Trust me, these are not the only 3. Hopefully the other old pervs have learned a lesson from these 3, and will now start being appropriate. It been going on for too long.

I too had a family membership there and saw WAY too much in the locker room. I pulled the membership and have never gone back. Nor will I. I know for a fact that at least one male staff member KNEW. Not sure how Brea is oblivious to it all but the point is, i was there. I saw it. I WISH I hadn’t. Why do some old dudes with big bellies and little weiners think you would want to see their junk? Definitely not something i’d be proud of if I were them.

I agree with the statements being made. I quit going because of how uncomfortable they made it in there… There are several others that just prance around there like they are at a nudist colony. Your not allowed to shave in the steam room but guys were in there all the time naked shaving while I’d be trying to cut weight with sweats on. I almost had a naked guy sit on me because he didn’t see me sitting there, which I think is BS since I’m wearing sweats and fully clothed. I had a family membership n had my kids go with me there to enjoy themselves when I’d workout. They’d shoot some hoops and stuff but also had items stolen. It’s just a shame since there were never these problems at the old Y and it was much bigger and not so much of an open area like the new Y. I think the locker rooms need some construction and need to offer more privacy. Also background checks would be a good idea also considering they allow people like Mike Peckham in there. Also something that kind of got brushed under the rug was an adult contacting a teen through facebook to have sex in the “family” locker room at the Y, he also had stated that he’s done it before… NOT COOL! He was charged however for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, slap on the hand, probation… However if the act would have happened and the parents wouldn’t have found the facebook convo it would have been a worse situation for both him and the Y!

Glad Matt got a quote from Don. I don’t live in MC anymore, but was at the Y all time as a teenager, and concur that Don ran a pretty tight ship. Had employees walk through the gym constantly, the locker room attendant would check the racquetball courts a few times each hour to ensure players were wearing eyeguards and white sole shoes….this was good, and prevented other bad things from happening….need to step up supervision.

How sick that you put sex offense in quotes.

I stopped going to the Y because of all the theft. I was tired of my things being taken. Also my daughter would use the child’s locker room and was always a vicitm of theft and the kids in the locker rooms don’t behave and there is no supervision. Once there was a group of girls climbing on top of the lockers, and going through all the lockers looking for stuff to take.
I think the Y is a good place for kids if they actually want to do something of some use there, like swim or play basketball. But too many kids just hang out and cause trouble.
And now in the light of this nonsense with these men, I will not ever go there again. There’s other facilities to work out at, and probably cheaper too.

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