Lewd Conduct

San Jose Man Accused of Lewd Conduct and Robbery (CA Penal Code 314 and 211)

On the evening of April 15, an elderly woman (72) was making her way to her home close to Blackford Avenue in San Jose when a young man who exposed himself to her threw her to the ground, and took her purse.  Local law enforcement officials are at a loss as to what the main objective of this incident was.  Was the young man motivated by theft or was this a simple case of robbery?

If this were a simple case of charges of indecent exposure, the as yet unidentified man above would be subject to California Penal Code 314.  There, ‘indecent exposure’ is defined as a sex crime in which one person purposefully shows, or ‘flashes’ another person their intimate body parts in an attempt either to sexually gratify him or herself or to offend.  In this case, a conviction under this section of the law could be quite damaging, resulting in the possibility of up to 6 months in county jail, a $1,000 fine, and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

However, as there was also a robbery involved, there will likely be additional consequences for the young man, if his involvement can be proven. Violating CA Penal Code 211 (robbery) means the unlawful taking of another person’s property from them directly and against their will.  According to the law, this must be accomplished through the use of force or fear.  The crime of robbery is always considered a felony in California and what is known as ‘second degree’ robbery (any robbery that takes place outside of a vehicle used for public transportation, in an inhabited building, or near an ATM) is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison.

Sacramento Teacher Accused of Lewd Conduct with a Student (CA Penal Code 288)

A Foothill Ranch Middle School teacher has recently been accused of lewd conduct with a student (CA Penal Code 288) .  Social media seems to have been the key to the allegations at hand.  Local law enforcement agents became involved after being alerted by members of the Twin Rivers Unified School District.  At this point, the teacher has not been arrested, these are only accusations that will soon either be borne out or proven to be untrue.

The phrase ‘inappropriate conduct with a student’ is, in fact, quite vague and it is difficult to tell what penalties, legal or otherwise, might ensue if the individual teacher in question is in fact arrested.  According to professional standards set forth in the California School Board Association’s literature, ‘inappropriate conduct’ could mean any of the following:  endangering a student, discriminating against a student, harassing a student, physically or sexually abusing a student, possessing pornographic images on school property, using ‘profane, obscene, or abusive language,’ making loud noises, or using tobacco, drugs, or other illegal substances at school.

There is no way to determine what this teacher has actually done to land him or herself in the crosshairs of an investigation.  Furthermore, if and when there are charges brought against anyone in this case, it will be difficult to prove whether or not the reports on social media are correct.  In addition, whether the school district chooses to suspend or fire the teacher, the student or students involved could, nonetheless, bring a civil case against the individual.  In any case, it is certain that California law is not clear when it comes to all relationships and behavior between teachers and students.

Couple in Florida Cited for Lewd Conduct on Public Beach (CA Penal Code 647(a))

Florida, much like California, is a place where summertime beachgoers can enjoy a little sand and surf.  For one Florida couple (20 and 30), however, a fun time at the beach became a nightmare.  The couple has been accused of having had sexual intercourse on a public beach, witness statements and a video taken with a bystander’s smartphone point to the couple having had intercourse on the beach in the afternoon and in the presence of young children.  While the couple has refused to take the charges seriously, prosecutors have, asking for 15 years in state prison for the randy display.

California law also addresses the problem of lewd conduct in public (CA Penal Code 647(a)) and the penalties are just as harsh as they are in Florida.  “Lewd conduct in public” may describe a range of behaviors, but what it boils down to is the idea that it is illegal for a person to touch their own intimate parts or another person’s intimate parts for the purpose of a) sexual gratification or b) annoyance or offense to others.  However, there are other considerations to take into account.

Most importantly, sexual activity in a public place, by itself, is not considered illegal.  In order for you or someone else to be charged with and convicted of a violation of CA PC 647(a), you must have a reasonable expectation or knowledge that another person is watching.  In other words, if you engage in sexual activity or intercourse in public, you may not be charged with a violation of this law, but only if there was no way that you could have known that others were present and might be offended by the way in which you are behaving.  Clearly, if the Florida couple had conducted themselves in the same manner on a California beach, they would have been subject to similar legal consequences, as a public beach in the middle of the afternoon is certainly a locale in which one could expect that others were watching.  In fact, there seems to have been a veritable crowd present.

If you are convicted of a crime related to CA PC 647(a), you may expect misdemeanor charges.  It is likely that you will end up paying a small fine ($1,000) and, in some instances, you might spend up to 6 months in county jail.  However, the worst penalty for the violation of this law is the duty to register as a sex offender for life.  The Florida couple will likely have to do the same.  Their sexy frolic on the beach may cost them far more than they bargained for.

 

Bar in San Jose Loses Liquor License (CA Business and Professions Code 25601)

Anyone working in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol should understand the rules and regulations set forth by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  Bars and restaurants, like Bboss Bar and Restaurant in San Jose, may either shut down or have their liquor license revoked when they violate the law.  Not only do law enforcement officials claim that staff members at Bboss were selling alcohol during prohibited time periods, but also that they were engaging in lewd acts with the clientele (CA Penal Code 647) .  Now, the bar must not only pay a penalty, but must also re-locate and transfer his or her liquor license to someone else.

While there are many different ways in which an establishment could lose their liquor license (including sale of alcohol to minors, sale of alcohol to an ‘obviously intoxicated person,’ allowing employees to drink on the job, an intoxicated employee allowed to continue working, and others), (“Disorderly House, Prostitution, Lewd Conduct”)  California Business and Professions Code 25601 allows for suspension of and/or revocation of an establishment’s liquor license.  If state agents can prove that any of the above activities relating to CA BPC 25601 have gone on, then they may suspend a liquor license for a period of 30 days, revoke it entirely, or suspend it for 30 days until it is revoked.  In the case of Bboss, state law enforcement officials went undercover and the revocation of the bar and restaurant’s license was the result of their investigation.

 

Benicia Man Arrested for Violating Peeping Toms Law (CA Penal Code 647(i-j))

A 34-year-old man from East Bay (Benicia) has recently been arrested for having placed hidden cameras in the bathroom of a Walnut Creek Starbucks.  His intent was allegedly to record strangers while they used the facilities.  Starbucks employees managed to find these cameras on at least 2 separate occasions within the last 2 months.

In cases such as the one above, law enforcement officials must determine which of the vast number of California laws an individual has violated.  Most of these stem from the 1967 ‘Invasion of Privacy Act’ which deals with protecting the citizenry’s privacy in a number of ways.  2 such laws fall under the umbrella of preventing “Peeping Toms:” CA Penal Code 647(i), which deals with unlawful peeping and CA PC 647(j), invasion of privacy.  While CA PC 647(i) requires that an individual is already in the midst of loitering on a particular property CA PC 647(j) is the portion of the law that deals with recordings of other persons for a) the purposes of sexual gratification or b) for the purposes of ‘peeking’ or secretly looking at another person or persons for the purposes of viewing their underwear or naked body.  Both crimes are considered ‘disorderly conduct’ by law and are, thus, usually treated as misdemeanors.

If an individual is arrested for video taping or photographing others secretively, in other words, invading another person’s privacy in some way, then they may be subject to a $1,000 fine and 6 months in county.  However, if there has been more than one violation of a privacy law (either part i or part j of CA PC 647), then penalties rise to a $2,000 fine and 1 year in county jail.

Reno Man Extradited to California for Lewd Conduct with a Minor (CA Penal Code 288)

Law enforcement officials have been on the lookout for a 28-year-old man suspected of involvement in a child molestation case in Truckee.  For about a year, police have been attempting to bring the man (whose identity has been withheld to protect his privacy) in for questioning.  However, it seems that this particular individual has been arrested on entirely different charges in Reno, Nevada, where he is currently a resident.  Investigators with the Truckee Police Department contacted the Reno Regional Sex Offender Notification Unit and asked for their help in bringing the suspect in.  It was the U.S. Marshal’s Office, however, who arrested him in the Reno area.  He will now be extradited to California to face charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor child.

California law dictates that anyone who touches a minor child for the purpose of sexual gratification commits the crime of “Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Child” (CA Penal Code 288).  Commission of this crime does not require that an individual actually touch a child’s intimate body regions or that the child was unclothed at the time.  Thus, the above law covers touching any part of a child under the age of 14 for the purpose of sexual arousal.  If convicted, the Reno resident will face a maximum sentence of 8 years in state prison.  However, if it can be proved that he used any kind of force during the commission of this crime, his eventual sentence could be up to 10 years or 16 years if the prosecution can prove that there was a pattern of this type of behavior (3 or more times during a 3-month period).

 

Citizen Arrest Made Near Elementary School for Public Lewd Conduct (CA Penal Code 647(a))

The morning of Wednesday, October 29th, members of a landscaping work crew working in the green space directly across from Walt Disney Elementary School on Pine Valley Road noticed something very strange indeed.  What they witnessed was a man who was standing near the arriving children who, by their account, was fondling himself, though remained clothed.  The crew, who waited with the man until law enforcement agents arrived on the scene and was subsequently arrested for public lewd conduct, immediately arrested the unnamed suspect.  Police in San Ramon say that the man was delivered directly to a hospital, however, due to the fact that he was already injured in some way when they picked him up.

California law dictates that there are certain unacceptable public behaviors that are otherwise not illegal in the privacy of one’s own home.  CA Penal Code 647(a) states that anyone who participates in “lewd or dissolute conduct” in a public area (or solicits someone else to do the same) may be subject to severe penalties.  If an individual is caught touching either intimate parts of their own body or the intimate parts of another’s body for the express purpose of sexually gratifying themselves in public, then their actions will have been elevated to the status of a crime.

If convicted, the unknown man will face misdemeanor charges.  He will be subject to a $1,000 fine and a possible 6 months in county jail.  However, he will not be required to register as a sex offender unless the prosecuting attorney determines that they will also charge him (as is often done) with a violation of CA Penal Code 314,  “indecent exposure.”  If that is the case, then he will be forced to register for his lifetime as a sex offender (CA Penal Code 290-294).

 

Dog Walker Near Stanford Arrested on Charges of Lewd Conduct for Groping Woman (CA Penal Code 647(a))

23-year-old man (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) was recently arrested on charges of lewd conduct and sexual battery.  Allegedly, he was walking with his dog on California Avenue near Birch Street when he started up a conversation with a young woman who was also walking there.  Together, they walked for a few blocks and talked.  The complainant, however, claims that things changed rapidly after a few minutes, that he spoke to her in an offensive and inappropriate manner and that he touched her intimate parts over her clothing, but without her permission.  He left when the woman threatened to call for help.

In California, Penal Code 647(a) is entitled “Engaging in or Soliciting Lewd Conduct in Public.”  Here, ‘lewd conduct’ refers to either a) touching your own intimate parts in order to offend another person or to sexually gratify yourself or b) you touch someone else’s intimate parts (genitals, buttocks, a woman’s breast/s) for the same reason or reasons.  Any violation of this code is considered a misdemeanor.  If you are convicted pursuant to this law, you may end up spending 6 months in county jail and have to pay a $1,000 fine.

The state of California also considers actions similar to that which he is accused of to fall into the category of misdemeanor sexual battery (CA Penal Code 243.4).  According to this law, sexual battery means any physical contact done for the specific purpose of sexual gratification.  However, this particular law, differing from lewd conduct, requires that the alleged victim be somehow unlawfully restrained.  Conviction of a misdemeanor count of sexual battery will most likely end in up to 6 months in county jail, heavy fines, sex offender registration, and state-mandated sexual offender counseling.

 

Young Girls Accuse Handyman of Child Molestation in Mountain View (CA Penal Code 288)

43-year-old handyman (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) was working at an apartment complex in Mountain View, where he also lives, until recently when he was accused of child molestation of 2 sisters who are residents there.  According to the girls (aged 7 and 10 years), he tricked them into going into out of the way areas of the complex, where he proceeded to touch them inappropriately.  The allegations are that he did not molest the girls at the same time, but on separate occasions and separately.  Local law enforcement officials were alerted to the alleged abuse when the 2 girls told their parents of their claims.

The future may look bleak indeed for the handyman.  California law is strict when it comes to the sexual abuse of children (CA Penal Code 288,  “Lewd Acts with a Child”).  The law provides for harsh penalties when an adult touches a child’s body in a sexual way.  In order to be convicted of this crime, you need not touch a child under the age of 14 on any sexual organ.  Even ‘over the clothes’ touching on, for example, a child’s knee is covered under the law, as long as sexual gratification is the intent.

If convicted, he faces an 8 year period of incarceration in a California state prison.  On the other hand, if prosecutors can prove that he used force, he may end up spending up to 10 years in prison.  Additionally, he will have to register as a sex offender for his lifetime.  Any time that the alleged victim is under the age of 14, the state of California will consider ‘lewd acts’ crimes to be a felony.

 

Child Predator at San Francisco Barnes & Noble (CA Penal Code 314)

Heading to the bookstore with your daughter on a sunny summer day usually doesn’t spell disaster.  However, for one 10-year-old young lady and her mother, a trip to a San Francisco Barnes & Noble on W. Hillside Boulevard turned sour quickly when an unidentified 50-year-old man in a fishing hat and khaki pants led the girl out of the children’s section and into another, more quiet part of the store.  There, it seems that he exposed himself to her and touched her in an inappropriate way.  There is video footage of the man and local law enforcement officials are currently asking anyone who can identify him to come forward.  The accused man drives a dark 4-door car, which he was seen getting into as he left the store.

Normally, this type of offense would fall under CA Penal Code §314 (Indecent Exposure), in which an individual exposes themselves in public for the purpose of sexual gratification.  Yet, these laws are often vague and cover a broad array of behavior; not all cases are as “cut and dry” as this one seems to be – especially since it involves a minor child.  If convicted of a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure, the penalties include a maximum fine of $1,000, up to 6 months in jail, and lifelong registration as a sex offender.  Felony charges of the same kind can end in heftier fines and time in state prison.