INDECENT EXPOSURE CHARGE AVOIDED

On Thursday morning, July 2, 2015, PQ, a 64 year old man from Cambridge was out working in his garden completely naked. His next door neighbor a sixty-eight year old female was not amused. The police were called and responded. This was not the first time that PQ had done this – in fact it was the third time that had been reported. By the time the police had arrived PQ was in his house and had his clothes on. The female neighbor – who suffers from PTSD – told the police she was “shocked and alarmed” by his repetitive behavior. The police could have charged PQ with Open and Gross Lewdness and arrested him on the spot. Open and Gross Lewdness is a felony and upon two convictions sex offender registration is required. PQ got his first break that morning. The police did not arrest him; instead the police told him he would be receiving a notice from the Court. About one month later PQ received a Notice from the Cambridge District Court that the Cambridge Police had filed an application for a criminal complaint to issue against PQ for Indecent Exposure. The Notice informed PQ that a hearing would be held by a Clerk-Magistrate at the Court to determine whether or not PQ would be formally charged.That was PQ’s second break; the police were seeking a criminal complaint for Indecent Exposure, a misdemeanor that does not require sex offender registration as opposed to the felony charge of Open and Gross Lewdness. (Open and Gross Lewdness is an enhanced form of indecent exposure; it is Indecent Exposure that causes “shock and alarm”.) PQ retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin told PQ he had to enroll immediately with a therapist/counselor/psychologist with expertise in exhibitionism. PQ followed Attorney Lewin’s suggestion and immediately began a program of psychological counseling. Attorney Lewin contacted the Cambridge Police Prosecutor who in turn put Attorney Lewin in contact with the Officer who would be prosecuting the case at the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin spoke at length with the prosecuting police officer and explained that PQ was now in psychological counseling. Attorney Lewin suggested to the prosecutor that the case be resolved at the level of the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing; specifically, Attorney Lewin advocated that a criminal complaint not be issued.
On September 15, 2015 PQ and Attorney Lewin appeared in Cambridge District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. PQ’s neighbor was there; the property manager for the complex where PQ and his neighbor live was present; and the prosecutor from Cambridge PD was present. The neighbor told her story to the Clerk-Magistrate; the property manager testified as to the prior complaints from other neighbors in the complex and as to how PQ had been spoken to by the property manager on prior occasions. Attorney Lewin informed the Clerk-Magistrate as to PQ’s good background and as to how he had immediately enrolled in counseling with a psychologist with expertise in dealing with sex offenders. Attorney Lewin presented a report from the psychologist. Attorney Lewin advocated for the Clerk-Magistrate not to issue the criminal complaint but rather to hold the application for one year and if PQ were in no further trouble then the application could be dismissed. The neighbor objected and wanted either a complaint to issue or the matter to be left open for two years. Ultimately the Clerk-Magistrate adopted Attorney Lewin’s proposal and continued the hearing for one year. The Clerk-Magistrate gave PQ a stern warning that if he exposes himself again that he will be arrested and charged with both this case and the new case.
This was a significant win for PQ. He was not charged with any criminal offense; no entry will be made on his criminal record; when the one year goes by – assuming he has been able to keep his clothes on – this application for a criminal complaint will be denied and dismissed and the papers are destroyed. PQ left the courthouse quite relieved.