A 29-year-old woman told police she was harassed inside of a corn maze by a masked man posing as a staffer at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
The woman was exploring the 7-acre corn maze at Chatfield Farms with friends and family Sunday night when the man approached her, she told a deputy with for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
The man, who was wearing a white mask, said “inappropriate things” to the woman’s cousin before attempting to coerce her to “touch him,” “dance with him” or “kiss him” in order to pass by him on the maze’s path, the woman claimed, according to the police report.
The woman’s cousin was able to get around him, but the man then confronted her with the same demands, she told police. Assuming he was joking, she attempted to “get by him by sidestepping,” but he would not let her pass, the woman told police, according to the report.
The woman then became agitated that the man would not let her by “so she gave in and grabbed the male’s hand to dance with him,” the police report states. When she moved to try to get around the side of him, he then “whipped her around” before throwing her forcefully to the ground, dragging her by her arm for at least 2 feet, according to the report.
By the time she stood up, her cousin’s husband was confronting the man, but the situation ended without further incident, according to the report.
When the woman reported the incident to the gardens’ staff, they told her that four others had complained of similar encounters with a masked man, according to the report. She is the only person who filed an official complaint, Erin Bird, communications manager for the Denver Botanic Gardens, told ABC News.
The man was eventually escorted off the property by an off-duty deputy, but the deputy simply thought the man was being removed because he was a nuisance and was not aware that he had been accused of “anything physical,” Bird said.
The deputy had been contracted by the Denver Botanic Gardens for an extra-duty assignment, and no specific incident had been reported to law enforcement at the time of the man’s removal, Jenny Fulton, public information officer for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident and are attempting to locate the suspect, Fulton said.
Masks and costumes have always been prohibited inside the maze, but the man’s mask was hidden upon entry to the maze, Bird said.
“This is a very unfortunate incident that has not happened before at the Gardens’ corn maze,” Bird said. “We are doing everything we can to ensure it does not happen again.”