The sex crimes offense of indecent exposure is found in the Pa criminal code 18 section 3127. when should I call a sex crime lawyer It is defined as a person commits the act of indecent exposure if that person exposes his or her privates in any public place or in any place where other individuals are present under circumstances in which he should know that exposing himself is likely to offend or alarm these other people. An area of importance in this definition is the part which states “in any public place or in any place where there are present other persons”. This is an important part of the definition and what makes it separate from a similar charge of open lewdness which is defined in the PA criminal code under section 5901. Open lewdness occurs if he does any lewd act which he knows is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed.
In order to illustrate the factors that are relevant when trying to establish if sex crimes such as indecent exposure took place, let’s look at the case of Com. v. DeWalt, from the year 2000. sex assault In that case the defendant was convicted of a charge of indecent exposure and corruption of a minor but won the appeal. In that case the defendant, while on her back porch and in the company of other adults, lifted up her shirt exposing her breasts and pulled down her pants exposing her pubic area and preformed a “strip tease”. Three minor boys testified that she observed them watching from a rooftop next door. The decision of the court to vacate her charges were due to the following reasons: first, the government did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any of the witnesses saw her genitals, second, that she exposed herself in public or in the presence of others, or that she knew her actions would offend, affront or alarm. One of the most important takeaways from this decision is that it helped provide clarity on what constitutes a public place, which makes it an element that helps differentiate between a charge of indecent exposure which is a misdemeanor of the second-degree and open lewdness which is a misdemeanor of the third-degree.