Worker at State Fair arrested on drug, indecent exposure charges

PUYALLUP, Wash.--A worker from the Washington State Fair is under investigation for his actions on and off the job.

According to court documents, Ernest Volk worked in the kids corral play area at the Washington State Fair, and it’s what he’s accused of that has families and fair officials concerned.

With its fun rides and iconic foods, many families make the Washington State Fair a destination every year. However, what mom Jorden Dempsey didn’t appreciate is hearing that an employee with the fair’s carnival operator, Funtastic, was arrested Tuesday for indecent exposure and possession of a controlled substance.

“I mean they should be trying to do some background checks or drug testing,” said Dempsey.

According to court documents, it all started with witnesses in Tacoma reporting Volk was pleasuring himself in the front yard of a residence. Investigators said he was also caught in possession of methamphetamine. They say that’s when he admitted he used the drug while on the job at the fair.

“He was terminated immediately when we heard news of an arrest and Funtastic is going to do a further investigation,” said Stacy Howard with the Washington State Fair. “We want everybody to have a great, great time and if people don’t feel safe we want to make sure that we do everything we can to achieve that.”

Howard couldn’t go into detail about Funtastic’s background check policy. In 2014, the fair promised increased security measures after three fair workers were let go when it was discovered they were registered sex offenders.

According to court documents, Volk had been charged twice before with indecent conduct, making fairgoers wonder how he got hired in the first place.

“It’s disappointing that he was able to pass and get that job, so I think there needs to be more, greater security as far as background checks and so forth,” said Carla Scheidt, a fair attendant.

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist says his office takes cases like this seriously, especially when it involves someone who works in close proximity with children.