Friday, April 19, 2024

Pay Per View

The Iowa Supreme Court has held that a masturbating in public defendant may receive consecutive sentences when viewed by two persons

After masturbating in public within the view of two women, the defendant was charged with two counts of indecent exposure under Iowa Code section 709.9 (2022). On appeal, the defendant asserts the unit of prosecution for indecent exposure is per exposure, not per viewer. As a result, the defendant argues there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction on two counts of indecent exposure, thereby rendering the imposed sentence illegal. Finally, the defendant argues that the district court did not state sufficient reasons for imposing a consecutive sentence under Iowa Rule of Criminal Procedure 2.23(3)(d) (2022).

We hold that the unit of prosecution for indecent exposure is one count per viewer, not one count per exposure. Thus, we affirm the defendant’s conviction of two counts of indecent exposure. Additionally, the district court provided sufficient reasoning for imposing a consecutive sentence; therefore, we affirm the sentencing order of the district court.


On the evening of November 28, 2022, E.H. and T.A. arrived at a Hy-Vee gas station at approximately 9:30 p.m. E.H. parked her vehicle by the front doors of the gas station and attempted to go inside. The gas station was closed but E.H. briefly spoke with the store attendant. When E.H. began to walk back to her vehicle, T.A. told her to get into the car. E.H. and T.A. then saw the defendant, Christopher James Wilson, approximately six feet away from the vehicle. While making eye contact with E.H. and T.A., the defendant openly masturbated with his penis pulled through a hole in his pants.

E.H. and T.A. called 911. The two women remained on the line with the dispatcher and moved their car to a nearby Hobby Lobby parking lot on the other side of the gas station. After relocating, E.H. and T.A. could not see the defendant for a period of time. However, the defendant had followed them to the other side of the gas station. He weaved in and around cars and continued walking toward E.H. and T.A.’s vehicle. He eventually became visible, and the defendant again openly masturbated while directly making eye contact with E.H. and T.A.

The police arrived shortly thereafter. The two responding officers noted a hole in the defendant’s pants that went from underneath the crotch area toward the inner part of his right knee.

(Mike Frisch)

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