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.