Indecent Exposure is an often misunderstood crime under Iowa law. Most mornings I peruse the news and this morning I read this article out of Frederick, Maryland. Apparently, a man got into a late night fight with his neighbor and became so enraged he pulled down his pants and mooned the neighbor. Neighbor called the cops and they charged him with disturbing the peace and indecent exposure. While I am sure mooning someone disturbs their peace, it does not necessarily constitute indecent exposure; at least not if it occurs in Iowa.
Iowa Code Section 709.9 sets out the crime of “Indecent Exposure” under Iowa law:
A person who exposes the person’s genitals or pubes to another not the person’s spouse, or who commits a sex act in the presence of or view of a third person, commits a serious misdemeanor, if:
- The person does so to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of either party; and
- The person knows or reasonably should know that the act is offensive to the viewer.
So, in Iowa it is not enough to merely expose oneself to commit indecent exposure. A person has to expose them-self to another for purposes of sexual arousal and must know or should know that the other person would find the exposure offensive. Mooning someone during an argument probably does not meet the first element of exposure for sexual arousal. Though, I am quite certain it meets the second element of being offensive.
The penalty for indecent exposure is a serious misdemeanor. Serious misdemeanors under Iowa law carry a maximum of one year in the county jail. Perhaps, more importantly is that a conviction for indecent exposure will land you on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry for ten years.
Indecent exposure is not a charge you should take lightly. If you or a loved one need help call Stowers & Sarcone, PLC at 515.224.7446 now!