A 30-year-old Ottawa man who is a registered sex offender is accused of publicly exposing his genitals to a woman near the Kansas University campus, according to a newly released arrest affidavit.
It's a crime that often goes unreported but that Lawrence police are encouraging victims to speak up about.
Just before noon on Dec. 14, police took a report from a KU student who said she had left class and was walking north in the 1600 block of High Drive when she saw a man parked alongside the road touching himself, according to the affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court. The man was inside a gold, four-door vehicle.
A number of KU sorority and fraternity houses are located in the area where the incident is alleged to have occurred.
The woman said she and the man did not make eye contact; nor did he say anything to her, the affidavit says. As soon as the victim noticed the man and realized what he was doing she began to walk away quickly.
Once the victim was about 100 yards away she looked back and saw the man driving away, south on High Drive, the affidavit says. She then called the police.
Investigating officers did not immediately locate the suspect, but soon discovered records of an Ottawa man who is a registered sex offender and drives a gold, four-door vehicle, the affidavit says. The man was serving time in the Douglas County Jail with work-release privileges.
Officers confirmed with the jail that the suspect was temporarily released that morning for "job search," the affidavit says.
On Dec. 15, the next day, the victim called police once more, telling them she saw the suspect's vehicle driving southbound along Emery Road, near where she saw him the day before, the affidavit says. The suspect did not expose himself the second day.
Approximately five minutes later an officer stopped the suspect just west of Tennessee Street, the affidavit says. Another officer drove the woman to the scene, where she identified the man as the suspect.
The suspect was then taken to the Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway, for an interview and was returned to the jail shortly after, the affidavit says. A single charge of lewd and lascivious behavior was officially filed against him on Jan. 22.
In the fall of 2015 the man pleaded no contest to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior. He was sentenced to serve one year in the Douglas County Jail with authorized work release. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The suspect remains in the Douglas County Jail.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley said in an email that this type of crime often goes unreported.
"Some (victims) don't want to take the time required to make a police report, others don't want to participate in the court process or potentially face the suspect in court, and some individuals don't feel a crime rises to the level of needing police involvement," he wrote.
Police have seen lewd and lascivious behavior in a wide range of settings, McKinley wrote. The best thing a victim can do is to call the police and provide as many specific details about the incident as possible.