CAMILLA, Ga. -- Claire Fox Hillard, conductor of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, was arrested wearing only a towel around his waist at about 11:50 p.m. Wednesday, a Camilla Police Department official said.
Hillard was charged with loitering and prowling, a misdemeanor, said Detective Robert Casterline.
"He was arrested naked and wrapped in a towel near Martha's Flower and Gift Shop," Casterline said. "He said he had been assaulted by two black males who took his keys. He later recanted and told the truth."
According to Casterline, Hillard dropped the assault story and told police the incident began at a party in Thomasville, where he met a woman who agreed to meet him in Camilla for sex. They met in an alley behind the AT&T building on Scott Street.
A witness saw them and reported suspicious activity to police, Casterline said. When police arrived, they found clothes "on the ground," but no people, he added.
Shortly afterward, Hillard called police to meet him at 70 S. Butler St., around the corner from the Scott Street building, Casterline said.
When police arrived, Hillard initially said he was jumped by two men.
In a telephone interview with The Albany Herald on Thursday, Hillard said that he discarded his clothing because of a gasoline spill at the gas pump. He said he did not meet a woman at the party. She was a panhandler who approached him at the gas pump.
"It was all a mix-up," Hillard said. "Two guys tried to rob me at a service station while I was pumping gas. I was changing into clothes I had in my car from the gym."
Hillard said he was in Thomasville at a dinner party on symphony business.
Casterline said there was no mention of alcohol in the report. Neither was there any reference to any odor of gasoline on his clothing, Casterline said.
A copy of the report was not released at the Camilla Police Department after a 4:45 p.m. request.
"This is just unfortunate. I wish it had never happened," Hillard said. "I in no way desire the publicity."