Ashburn Teenager Faces Indecent Exposure Charges
An Ashburn, Virginia, teenager faces juvenile offense charges for several incidents of indecent exposure along the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
On Tuesday, September 24th, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of indecent exposure on the W&OD Trail. A female victim reported that the Ashburn teenager followed her along the trail. Then the Ashburn teenager allegedly exposed his genitalia and imitated a sexual act.
This incident follows the same pattern of numerous indecent exposures cases that occurred along the W&OD Trail since 2018. These incidents have mostly occurred near Ashburn Village Boulevard and Ashburn Road.
Based on their investigation of available evidence, local authorities apprehended the Ashburn teenager later and charged him with indecent exposure. At this juncture, the teenager appears to be facing charges as a juvenile, not an adult. But the same criminal statutes apply nonetheless.
What is the Virginia Definition of Indecent Exposure?
The definition of indecent exposure appears under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-387. This section makes it unlawful for any person to publicly:
- Make obscene gestures;
- Expose their person or genitalia; or
- Entice another person to make obscene gestures or expose themselves.
There is an important exception under Section 18.2-387. The act of breastfeeding does not qualify as indecent exposure under Virginia law. So any person who needs to breastfeed their child in public can do so without fear of indecent exposure charges.
It is vital to note that indecent exposure only applies to gestures, not actual contact. If the perpetrator makes any unwanted contact of a sexual nature, it can qualify as sexual battery. That is a separate charge under Virginia law.
What are the Virginia Penalties for Indecent Exposure?
Any person who violates Section 18.2-387 by committing indecent exposure is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Under Virginia law, Class 1 misdemeanors are typically punishable by one year in county jail and $2,500 in fines, either or both. And the offender will have a criminal record from that point forward.
In terms of the present news story, however, the offender was a teenager. As a result, the teenager will face a different penalty structure under Virginia’s juvenile sentencing guidelines. These guidelines prioritize rehabilitation for juvenile offenders instead of criminal punishment.
On the other hand, certain juveniles who commit serious offenses can be charged as adults. Or a juvenile can receive a blended sentence. In those situations, they serve part of their punishment as a juvenile and the rest as an adult.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about indecent exposure of juvenile offenses in Virginia, it can be exceedingly beneficial to contact a trusted criminal defense attorney. The Leesburg juvenile offenses lawyers at Simms Showers LLP understand how to mount an effective defense against numerous criminal charges, including juvenile and indecent exposure cases. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.