The Iowa Court of Appeals has overturned the indecent exposure case of a Polk County man. Scott Richard Newell was charged with indecent exposure after a 15-year-old clerk at a Goodwill store allegedly saw Newell masturbating among a rack of clothes. The clerk followed Newell out of the store, wrote down his license plate number and gave the number to the store manager who called police.
The district court found Newell guilty of indecent exposure, but Newell appealed saying the State failed to prove that he committed a sex act, that the clerk was offended by the act, and that Newell knew or should have know the act was offensive.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled on the second part of his appeal, saying the clerk did not testify he was offended by the conduct. And the court said it was reading too much into the clerk’s decision to write down Newell’s license plate to conclude that action was substantial evidence that the clerk was offended by Newell’s conduct.
One judge did say while there was no testimony from the store employees that they were offended by Newell’s action, there was ample testimony that showed Newell tried to hide what he was doing with clothes in his other hand. The judge says this showed Newell knew or reasonably should have known his action was offensive. But the judge says under the current status of the law, she concurs with the majority that Newell’s conviction should be reversed.