A 36-year-old man has recently been arrested on charges of misdemeanor indecent exposure after he allegedly exposed himself to several persons in the Stanford Shopping Center in Menlo Park. Witnesses claim that the man exposed his intimate areas at least 3 times within the space of one hour’s time. The incident was reported both by the alleged victims and by other mall-goers.
California Penal Code 314 makes it illegal for anyone to purposefully expose their genital areas in order to either a) offend another person or b) for the purposes of sexual gratification. Interestingly, this law has been in existence in the state since 1872 and it covers a vast array of behavior, some of which might no longer be considered ‘indecent.’ However, it is still considered a more serious crime than most people think; there are certainly harsh penalties awaiting anyone who participates in indecently exposing themselves in California.
Consequently, conviction on a indecent exposure charge (almost always considered a misdemeanor) opens you up to a $1,000 fine and the possibility of 6 months in county jail. Although this may not seem a harsh punishment, it is important to note that any conviction involving indecent exposure also forces you to register as a sex offender, for life. This is perhaps the worst part of even a misdemeanor indecent exposure conviction, the shame and embarrassment that often come with having to continually register as a sex offender, especially when your behavior was not intended for the purposes of offending another person, nor for the purpose of express sexual gratification.