The indictment in DC federal court charges him with five counts of assault on federal land and one count of impersonating a federal officer. A sentencing enhancement for hate crimes alleges that four of the victims were targeted because of their perceived sexual orientation.
Pruden was acquitted by a jury of a similar attack in federal court in Alexandria last year. In that case, prosecutors said two men were walking on Daingerfield Island on the afternoon of March 21, 2021, when Pruden, according to prosecutors, approached, identified himself as a police officer, then attacked a man with pepper spray and a baton while uttering “an anti-gay slur. At trial, prosecutors were not allowed to reference DC’s attacks.
A defense attorney complained to the Washington Blade in 2019 that plainclothes police were soliciting men for sex in Meridian Hill Park and then arresting them in undercover operations.
“The United States Park Police are receiving complaints about lewd acts occurring at Meridian Hill,” a public information officer told the newspaper. “As with any other complaint of illegal activity, we then take action to stop it.”
After his arrest last year, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Public Schools said Pruden had been teaching in the system since 2014 when he was suspended.
He was arrested in Norfolk on Thursday, according to court records.