BARRE — An arrest warrant has been issued for a homeless man accused of masturbating at the Good Samaritan Haven.

Tyler M. Wilford, 25, failed to show up to his arraignment Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre on a felony count of lewd and lascivious conduct. If convicted, Wilford faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Bail on the warrant is set at $5,000.

Officer Jacob Frey, of the Barre City police, said in his affidavit on Dec. 2 he received a report about a man that needed to be removed from the homeless shelter. He said the shelter’s staff reported there was an incident involving Wilford and he needed to be removed.

Frey said Wilford was escorted out of the building and appeared to be drowsy. Wilford refused to answer any questions, Frey said, and just stared at Frey.

Staff at the shelter told Frey people at the shelter had reported Wilford had been masturbating in front of people. Frey said Wilford replied that he had been masturbating, but in the bathroom and not in front of people. He said Wilford again refused to answer questions.

Frey said he asked Wilford if he had smoked marijuana laced with ecstasy and he nodded he had. He said Wilford was taken to Central Vermont Medical Center for evaluation because he appeared to be in an altered mental state and would laugh at inappropriate times.

Staff at the shelter told Frey they had heard a commotion coming from the living room and came out to see several men holding Wilford against a wall. Frey said he spoke to a witness who reported Wilford came into the living room and pulled down his pants. He told Frey that Wilford masturbated for 15 to 20 seconds before men stopped him and pushed him up against a wall.

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