Local law enforcement agents in Placerville were stunned to learn that a man who had, just minutes before, registered as a sex offender at a nearby police station, had allegedly exposed himself to a strange woman on the street. Witnesses claim that he left the police station just 25 minutes before committing this second sex crime in the 1300 block of Broadway Drive, just minutes from the station. The man was arrested both on charges of indecent exposure and for a parole violation.
Strangely, California law (which dates back to 1872) is quite vague when it comes to defining the kinds of behavior that may be considered ‘indecent exposure’ (CA Penal Code 314). In the main, indecent exposure is the action of purposefully revealing one’s intimate parts to another person. This violation of the law, however, must be motivated by sexual gratification (of one’s self or of another person). Thus, the law on this point is not only often considered archaic or out-of-date, but also difficult to prove, as it involves determining, beyond the shadow of a doubt, what an individual person’s motivation was in exposing themselves.
Although indecent exposure is not often considered to be a serious offense by members of the public, violating this law comes with, perhaps, far too serious consequences. For example, if you are convicted of a first-offense indecent exposure charge, you can expect to spend up to 6 months in county jail and be subject to a $1,000 fine. However, any second-offense charge could mean facing a longer sentence in state prison. Most importantly, even a first-offense indecent exposure conviction, as can be seen in the story above, results in the penalty of lifetime registration as a sex offender.