The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld the indecent exposure conviction of a Mason City man. Employees of the Shopko in Mason City say they saw Troy Harley Jorgenson on a closed-circuit video system in the store in June of 2006. They say Jorgenson was following an unidentified woman through the store while repeatedly exposing himself and masturbating.
The police were called and Jorgenson was arrested, but the woman he was following left before employees could find out who she was. Jorgenson was convicted of indecent exposure– given a suspended one-year sentence and placed on probation. Jorgenson appealed, arguing he did not commit indecent exposure because there was no evidence to support a finding that he knew the store employees might be watching his actions via the closed-circuit video system.
Jorgensen also asserted there was no evidence he purposefully exposed himself to the Shopko employees knowing that the act was offensive to the employees. The Supreme Court notes this is the first time an indecent exposure case was brought to them where the person who committed the act was only seen on a closed-circuit video.
The justices say the law does not require the person to be aware or have knowledge of the specific person or persons to whom he is exposing himself. The High Court says the only limitation is that the exposure or act of making visible must be to another person not the defendant’s spouse.
The court also says that although the store employees were not the object of Jorgensen’s sexual desire, Jorgensen’s exposure was sexually motivated at the time they witnessed it, and were offended. They say Jorgensen knew or should have known his actions in a public place seen by unwilling viewers would be offensive. The Supreme Court says that district court decision should stand.