2005-07-29 / Front Page

Cop Bursts Kid-Pervert’s Sick Balloon

By Brian Magoolaghan

A U.S. Park Police officer last week busted a sicko who was telling young children to strip out of their bathing suits and sit on shaving cream-filled balloons inside a bathroom at Gateway National Recreation Area, court records reveal.

Police said the man, who was arrested at the Bay 9 Bathhouse at about 6:45 p.m. on July 20, filled up three balloons with shaving cream and left them about 10 feet from where children were playing. He watched from a distance as a group of kids between the ages of 8 and 12 began playing with the balloons and then approached them and dared them to “do what the balloon says.”

The twisted message on the balloons said, “Take off your suit and sit on me.”

Court records say the man told the kids, “if they were too embarrassed to do it outside, they could do it in the bathroom to try busting the balloon.”

It was unclear if any children actually took the man’s dare or whether he intended to watch children as they broke the balloons.

The mothers of two boys, 9 and 12-years-old, alerted police after their sons encountered the man in the bathroom. U.S. Park Police officer Shannon McFadden arrested Nicholas Battaglino, 26, and recovered one of the balloons from a nearby garbage can.

Battaglino, a courier from Westport (Connecticut) with a history of leaving lewd balloons in his hometown, signed a written statement in which he admitted the strange balloon behavior. He told police that he is attracted to “girls around the age of 8 and over and to boys around the age of 8 to 12.” Strangely, he also described himself as “a heterosexual male.”

A woman who identified herself as Battaglino’s mother hung up on a Wave reporter who called their residence seeking comment for this story.

Battaglino, meanwhile, has a criminal history involving other lewd balloon incidents. He was charged with breach of peace in April after allegedly leaving a lewd balloon at Compo Beach in Connecticut. A police source interviewed by the Westport News, which reported that story, said Battaglino is well-known for activity involving lewd balloons.

Battaglino was also charged in May with third-degree criminal trespass, risk of injury to a child and three counts of breach of peace for similar incidents at a high school in that area, according to another Westport News report.

Battaglino faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. His bail was set at $3,500 cash/$7,500 bond at his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on July 21. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

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