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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).


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