Taylor Street. Maple Street. Bill Mcdonald Parkway. The fourth floor of Wilson Library. Recently, multiple Western alerts have been sent out reporting incidents of indecent exposure on and around campus. Although three notifications involving indecent exposure have been issued in 2015, the University chief of police, Darin Rasmussen, said Western’s campus is safe. “There seems to be more incidents of indecent exposure this year, but I wouldn’t say it is more of an issue.
I would say it is a chronic issue that Western, not unlike other universities, experience. It is one that we work to identify, investigate, apprehend and deter through education and patrol,” Rasmussen said. Indecent exposure, while labeled as a misdemeanor on the first offense by the Revised Code of Washington, becomes a class C felony upon the second offense. Those found guilty will be subjected to jail time of no longer than 90 days, and fined as found appropriate in court.
The indecent exposure cases have caused Rasmussen to order extra patrols and extra visibility. Although records indicate a slight increase in frequency throughout the neighboring Sehome neighborhood and Western’s campus within the last five years, the indecent exposure cases rarely present any additional threat, Rasmussen said. “People who do indecent exposure are obtaining some kind of personal gratification for what they’re doing,” Rasmussen said.
“A very small percentage of those people escalate to other things, for example, grabbing someone. But that doesn’t mean they do not occur.” The majority of incidents reported during the school year have occurred on streets surrounding the campus, but one case, on Feb. 5, involved a man who exposed and touched himself on the fourth floor of Wilson library. When police arrived, the man, age 25 and identified as not being a student at Western, was found masturbating in the west corner, which overlooks a study hall, according to public records.
The man was arrested for first-degree trespassing and indecent exposure. When asked about Western Alerts—brief warnings sent to student’s phones in the case of a possible threat to campus –however, many students seemed to agree that the alerts have created more awareness than panic. “It doesn’t make me worry about Western. It is a very safe place to be. It makes me worry about the world more so,” Western sophomore Kristin Garner said.
“It just makes me think ‘what would I do in that situation?’ and it helps get the news out so people can come up with ideas on how they could react if it were to happen to them.” Rasmussen said the public is a critical part of crime prevention in Bellingham. “People just need to be encouraged to say something. If they don’t know who it is, but they have seen anything suspicious at all, they can let us know and potentially stop something from happening,” Rasmussen said.
“If you see something, say something.” The recent reports, while all targeting females, don’t appear to pose much concern for the men on campus, Sepand Nikzad, sophomore at Western, noted. “I don’t feel victimized because I’m a guy, and sometimes I feel like the constancy of the reports almost downplays it. I’m just like, “What is going on? Why is everyone exposing themselves?” Nikzad said.
The rate of indecent exposure for winter quarter appears to mimic a similar pattern of voyeurism last year as three Western Alerts, regarding men looking into women’s windows near campus, were sent out in February. The weather changing during this time, Rasmussen said, could likely be a factor. “When it is cold, rainy or snowy, it is less likely to have an outdoor crime occur as opposed to an indoor crime.
When the weather starts getting nicer, people start walking outside and spending more time outside and you start to see more interaction with outdoor situations,” Rasmussen said. The alerts are associated with the Jeanne Cleary Act, which, according to the Act’s website, requires “colleges and universities, both public and private, participating in federal student aid programs to disclose campus safety information” with focus on any threats of sexual violence along with other emergencies.
The Western Alert system was recently enhanced, Rasmussen said, as it was updated in 2014 to a dashboard referred to as RAVE, which has allowed for a quicker notification of emergencies to Western’s students. Rasmussen said police are excited about the system as it will increase awareness for students and enhance their safety. He added that safety on campus can be enforced by University Police in various ways.
“There is safety and there is the perception of safety. It is one thing to say we have a very safe campus —which we do— and it is another thing to address people’s concerns for safety and that has to do with other things like lighting, walkways, green-coat escorts and those kinds of things,” Rasmussen said. Rasmussen added that students should take reasonable precautions such as carrying a fully charged phone, telling friends where they are going, and walking with others.
He encourages students to utilize the greencoat escorts, who are available to accompany any student across campus as part of the free service offered by the University Police. Although the suspects are not always found, Rasmussen said, many repeat the behavior. “People are creatures of habit. If something was successful last time, they will do them again,” Rasmussen said. “It is why people generally get caught, like the phrase, ‘They always return to the scene of the crime’—well, they don’t—but they oftentimes do similar things over time.
” AdvertisementsSee Also: First Advantage Resident Screening
An equipment has become the biggest investments you will ever make. Appliances are generally significant purchases, and so are one in the most important elements of your house. You depend on appliances for almost everything from cooking to cleansing, and especially thinking about the level of dollars you might be placing forth for it, it only is smart that you d want to ensure that you make the most practical invest in.
Home appliances is often a phrase which can be applied quite commonly these days but exactly what does it stand for? House appliances stand with the mechanical and electrical solutions which might be made use of in your house to the working of the typical residence.
Posted on May 4, 2016 by Law Office of Brett A Podolsky Public Lewdness and Indecent Exposure in Texas One of the many goals of the Texas government and law enforcement is to maintain public peace and order. This includes laws and ordinances that prohibit certain kinds of behavior that are believed to be dangerous, obscene or disturbing to the general public. Preventing small behaviors that violate the peace ensures that large-scale disturbances do not occur.
Two common offenses that disturb the public peace and order are known as public lewdness and indecent exposure. Although these two criminal offenses are similar, they are distinct in their definition. Engaging in behavior that violates the law in a public place can end in a trip to jail and criminal charges. Public Lewdness vs Indecent Exposure The Texas Penal Code prohibits and penalizes inappropriate conduct in a public place.
Just as there are laws that prohibit intoxication in public, there are laws that make it illegal to engage in public nudity or public sexual activity. The laws regarding public lewdness and indecent exposure are a great example of these kinds of prohibitions. There are a few key components when it comes to defining these two offenses. According to Section 21.07 of the Texas Penal Code, public lewdness involves engaging in any of the following activities in a public place: Any act of sexual intercourse Any act of sexual contact Any type of sexual activity with an animal Any of these listed behaviors can be met with arrest and criminal charges.
Also, a person who engages in any of these acts while not in a public place may still face charges if he or she acts recklessly without regard for others who might see the activity and be offended. For the purposes of this law, a public place is any location that is not in a private residence. If it’s not behind a closed door in a private residence, it may be considered a public place. Section 21.
08 of the Texas Penal Code defines indecent exposure as an act which involves a person who exposes his or her anus or any part of their genitals: With the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person With reckless disregard for whether another person may see the actions and be offended The intent of the alleged perpetrator is important in cases of indecent exposure. For example, a person who urinates in public may not necessarily be guilty of this offense.
However, a person who “flashes” strangers on the street may be picked up by the police and taken to county jail. Legal Penalties Anyone who violates Texas laws regarding indecent exposure or public lewdness can expect a serious punishment. First-time offenders may face jail time and repeat offenders may have to deal with enhanced penalties. For example, a charge of public lewdness in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor.
This means that a conviction for this offense can be punished with: Up to one year in county jail Up to $4000 in fines A first time offense of indecent exposure is a Class B misdemeanor. This is the same penalty category as a first time DWI offense, which is very serious. A person who is found guilty of this crime may face: Up to 180 days in county jail A fine of up to $2000 It’s important to note that both of these crimes are considered sexual offenses in the state of Texas.
This means, in addition to jail time and fines, convicted offenders may have to undergo mandatory treatment or education classes. They may also have to face community supervision, community service and possible restraining orders. Repeat offenders may even have to register as a sex offender if they continue to commit these kinds of crimes. Legal Defenses No one wants to go to court for a sexual offense in Texas but sometimes that is necessary to protect the rights of the defendant.
Hiring a defense attorney is the best way to construct a good legal defense in these types of cases. For example, an attorney may be able to present a strong argument against the prosecution by arguing that the defendant had no criminal intent. A defense attorney may also be able to negotiate with the court for a plea bargain so that the defendant can receive a lighter sentence. Navigating the law can be incredibly intimidating and difficult.
If you have been charged with a crime, you need a lawyer who can dissect the case and defend your legal rights. Brett A. Podolsky is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who can help protect you. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.