Defining the Crime of Indecent Exposure

What is indecent exposure? As a criminal offense with different statutes in every state, indecent exposure is known as conduct that occurs in a non-private area or an area that may be within public view that may be interpreted as indecent or lewd. These "indecent" gestures can include revealing areas of the body that can be considered private or taboo, such as the genitals, female nipples, and buttocks in some cases. Other instances of masturbation in public, sexual intercourse, and other sex-related actions can be considered indecent exposure. It is important to understand that while this criminal charge originated with the concept of preventing those in public from feeling uncomfortable and to prevent individuals from exposing themselves in public, a person can face these types of charges even if no other person was around at the time of the offense.

This criminal activity is considered to be a very serious charge that is easily attainable for an unsuspecting individual. Actions such urinating in public or changing your clothes in a public place, such as in your vehicle, may constitute indecent exposure, even if there is no other person around besides for an officer of the law. This criminal charge is one that should be combatted immediately with the help of an attorney, especially because the consequences that are tied to this offense are usually quite severe.

What type of criminal process can a person expect to face for this charge? First, a person who is suspected of indecent exposure will be questioned and most likely detained by an officer of the law. In some cases, an officer will let a person off with a warning, but these instances are few and far between. After the alleged suspect has been detained, they will then be processed and booked at the police station. They will be read their Miranda rights and have the opportunity to secure an attorney. It is in your best interest to talk to an attorney before providing the police with any information or answering any questions, as their main job is to find evidence against you. Your legal representative will be able to complete the rest of the criminal process, fight to have your charges dropped, and take your case to court if necessary.

What consequences are generally delivered for a conviction? One of the primary consequences that occurs with an indecent exposure charge is the possibility of having to enlist on the sex offender registry in the state in which you live. This is a serious consequence that will follow you for the rest of your life, as this is a publicly available list that was designed to warn communities of sex offenders who may live in the area. On this list, someone may be able to access your name, basic information, and where you live. If you do not wish to spend the rest of your life on this list and face the financial and emotional hardship of a criminal conviction, it is highly advised that you talk to an attorney about your charges today.

Is It Time To Hug A Hoodie?

Hoodies, or hooded sweatshirts as they used to be known, were first developed for labourers but were soon picked up by the sports market. Spurred on by Rocky, the trend persisted but not before fashion designers had realised that hoodies were an extremely flexible item of clothing. For one, they could be made into a great symbol of isolation, ideal for the hip-hop crowd whose angry lyrics about their outsider culture meshed well with half-hidden faces.

Surfers and skateboarders, the self-consciously cool crowd who spend a lot of time outdoors catching waves or grinding curbs, are also keen hoodie wearers. They see the tops as practical and trendy, with funky slogans or quirky designs. Most Californian golden boys have at least one hoodie in their wardrobe and would be surprised at the amount of bad press that this item has received in Britain. Then there is the frat boy trend; the wearing of hoodies with university logos by students who take pride in their place of study.

Unfortunately, the criminal element still receives far too many column inches for their hoodie preference. Hoodies have been at risk of being ostracised for their association with unruly groups of men or intimidating criminals, but this hardly seems fair. Their history is long, varied and filled with happy customers. Even the Bluewater shopping centre, which banned people from wearing Hodded tops inside a few years ago, still continued to sell them. Despite Tony Blair's distaste for them, David Cameron balanced the political picture - even if Labour politicians derided his speech as 'hug a hoodie' propaganda.

But away from the froth of news and the raw edges of society are millions of ordinary men who do not want to carry an umbrella. After this year's terrible summer their attitude is quite understandable. Umbrellas are hopeless in winds and simply not very 'manly', unless you take John Cleese as a role model. Men's hoodies [] are superbly practical, comfy and trendy.

A new line of fashionable designs have filtered down to the high street from the catwalk, featuring bright colours, original designs, retro prints, and - occasionally - no sleeves. They are the garment in which the comfort of sport and the desirability of fashion collide. Isn't it time that you hugged a hoodie?

LDS Consumers and the Apparel Industry - Are Your Purchases Promoting Pornography?

"The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act." For the Strength of Youth, p. 14.

You are what you wear. Not long ago, I saw two startling examples. A criminal defendant, charged with drunk driving, came to court to enter his plea. To the astonishment of everyone in the courtroom, he wore a tee-shirt advertising a popular beer brand. Didn't he realize the inappropriateness of his shirt? Amid snickers in the courtroom, the annoyed judge sternly warned the defendant to dress differently for his next court appearance.

Later that same week, a couple of teenage girls were at the gym. One was dressed in loose-fitting sweat pants and a baggy t-shirt - quite modest compared to the popular "spandex and skin" look. But printed on her t-shirt were a woman's silhouette and the brand name "Hustler." I was shocked that a young girl would wear that shirt. What was she thinking?

Does she know that Hustler magazine graphically displays deviant sexual behavior? Does she know that its founder Larry Flynt is the most notorious pornographer in U.S. history? Did it occur to her that she was a walking billboard for sleaze and aggressive sexual behavior? Did she realize her shirt invites assumptions about her sexual attitudes? Do her parents know she owns that shirt?

Pornographic marketing of apparel - a case study

Most parents wouldn't let their children wear pornographic brand clothing. Or would they?

Recently, the manager of an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Virginia was criminally cited for obscenity. Local police received complaints about explicit photographs displayed in the A&F store. Upon investigation, an officer found two offending posters - one a picture of a shirtless male model exposing the top of his buttocks and another of a topless woman partially covering her breasts with her hands. The police officer determined that the posters violated the city's obscenity ordinance, and warned the manager to remove them.

When the officer returned a day or two later, the pictures were still displayed. So he issued a citation and confiscated the posters. The national media widely reported the incident.

So why didn't A&F remove the posters? Because A&F profits greatly from its long-standing use of sex and pornography to market its apparel. The controversy immediately generated national publicity. A&F received millions of dollars worth of free advertising from the news media, as thousands of customers visited the nearest store to check out the revealing pictures.

It may seem illogical that the best way to sell clothing is to show models not wearing any. Especially when the clothing itself is reasonably modest. But it's hard to argue with the financial results. In 2007, A&F sales were $3.75 billion, up 13% from 2006, in an otherwise tough market for the apparel industry. A recent business article referred to A&F's success as "genius."

The incident in Virginia is hardly the first time A&F has come under fire for sexualized marketing. In 2002, A&F marketed pre-teen thong underwear printed with suggestive phrases such as "eye candy." In recent years, A&F t-shirts have caused controversy by referencing such topics as incest and women's breasts.

A&F's most infamous venture into pornography was its quarterly catalog, discontinued after the Christmas 2003 edition caused a huge uproar. That edition featured 45 pictures of nude or semi-nude models and did not begin advertising clothing until page 120. The pictures portrayed group sex, gay kissing, and teenage sexual activity. And as if the pictures were not enough, an article in the catalog encouraged a variety of sexual experimentation. Despite A&F's claim that the magazine was sold only to adults, the attorney general of one state documented sales to pre-teens. The catalog was discontinued after a pro-family group published a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal aimed at informing A&F investors of a boycott.

So what's next for A&F? It recently announced the creation of a line of lingerie to be sold in a new store targeting its young customer base. It's hard to imagine how revealing that marketing campaign will be. And A&F has announced that its controversial catalog will be made available once again in the United Kingdom.

While A&F is definitely a high-profile apparel industry leader in pornographic marketing, it is hardly alone. For many years, fashion magazines have contained revealing and sexualized photographs. Recently, a French apparel company decided to include graphic sexual videos on its website as a part of its marketing campaign. For years, Victoria's Secret's racy television commercials have caused a stir.

How tempting are profits from sexualized marketing? In 2007, a Utah County billboard for a purportedly modest shirt company resorted to innuendo, featuring "tease" (a clever play on "t-shirts') and the tag line "cover your assets" next to a drawing of a woman pulling down a long shirt over her emphasized backside.

What are LDS consumers doing (or wearing)?

When it comes to A&F, some pro-family and religious groups have been pro-active. Citizens for Community Values published the Wall Street Journal advertisement that put at least a temporary end to the A&F catalog. The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, the American Decency Association and Focus on the Family all have been vocal critics. Bob Jones University and other religious schools have forbidden A&F apparel on their campuses or have boycotted A&F.

What about the LDS community?

For years LDS consumers have complained that it was difficult to find modest apparel. Low-rise pants, short-shorts and immodest tops made shopping difficult even for young girls. The bare-midriff problem was so pervasive that a friend once told me that he was tired of having to avert his eyes when he walked down the hall in church.

However, apparel companies make a lot of money when styles change every year. For the past two years, industry-wide fashions have been their most modest in decades. Understandably LDS consumers have been elated, with many more choices for modest apparel in many locations. But the shift towards modesty is temporary. Fashions will inevitably and quickly cycle back to less modest styles.

While LDS apparel consumers focus on modesty, pornographic advertising is rarely considered. A few years ago my wife and I were asked to speak to a group of business students at Brigham Young University. Among the topics we discussed was pornography in the apparel industry. Many students to whom we spoke wore clothing displaying the A&F brand name. Many more were wearing A&F apparel with the label safely hidden inside. Can you imagine the reaction of the Honor Code office if one of those students had come to class in a Playboy shirt? A&F shirts are different only in degree, yet they can be seen all over the BYU campus.

It is true that, as compared to direct sellers of pornography like Playboy, pornography by apparel retailers is secondary to its primary purpose of selling clothing. But does it matter whether pornography is sold as the primary product, or whether it is given for free in the effort to sell a different product? Maybe the only difference between wearing a Hustler t-shirt and an A&F t-shirt is that parents don't know that A&F is a pornographer.

Church leaders do not tell Church members where to shop. They teach correct principles and let LDS consumers govern themselves. While Church members are sensitive to whether apparel is modest, many patronize retailers that profit from pornographic and sexualized marketing. Perhaps we could do better in our self-governance.

Why do LDS consumers tolerate pornographic marketing?

I once asked my uncle, a stake president in Utah, the biggest problem he faced with the members of his stake. Before I could finish the question, he replied "Pornography." How do Mormons view the pornography epidemic?

With moral issues, Church members tend to focus on personal righteousness and Church activity, rather than community activism. Abortion is a good example. Church members are firmly anti-abortion, but you don't see anyone in your ward organizing a picket of Planned Parenthood.

If you ask a Church member to describe the problem of pornography and its solution, the answer may be "Pornography is the sin of someone viewing pornographic images, and the solution is repentance." Conversely stated, this is the same as saying "Pornography is not my issue because I don't view it."

But that attitude ignores two truths when purchasing and wearing apparel from companies that use pornographic marketing. First, we send the message to our family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers that we support the brand image even if pornographic. Second, we tell the pornographer that their immoral advertising works.

If you ask an anti-pornography activist outside the Church the same question, the response may be that pornography is the widespread dissemination of pornographic images; that it adversely affects the community; and that the solution is to create a social, economic and political climate that makes it difficult for the pornographer to do business. This broad view acknowledges we tolerate our pornographic environment, and that we have the power and responsibility to change it.

Maybe Church members are not more involved in the community on moral issues because we are defeatist. Since we believe that the world will become ever-increasingly evil, do we accept too easily that community standards will deteriorate?

Can Church members change the apparel industry?

World-wide fashion trends have never been caused by an LDS teenager writing a complaint letter to Dillard's. That kind of activism may occasionally catch the attention of a public relations department or make the newspaper, but has no impact on fashion trends, production or marketing.

The apparel industry is dominated by profit-driven, publicly-traded companies that have no institutional sense of morality. Fashions originate in a handful of world cities, where young adult women create trends followed by fashion designers and mass-market apparel producers. Most of the resulting apparel is produced by conglomerates that make huge quantities of clothing for international distribution. They are not concerned with the needs and desires of local communities, and will continue to sell immodest styles and advertise using pornography so long as it is profitable.

If LDS consumers are to have any impact on apparel trends and advertising, it will only be through economic power. But Church members are an insignificantly small percentage of the global customer base of major apparel producers. A&F is unlikely to change its marketing strategies even if no Church member ever bought another A&F product.

LDS consumers, however, are not completely helpless. Where there are large concentrations of Church members, LDS consumers have enough economic strength to prevent objectionable retailers or brands from doing business in their community. While A&F may never change its advertising in response to LDS consumers, it would not keep open its Provo Utah store for very long if no LDS teenager or college student ever shopped there.

LDS consumers also can use their economic power to support the fledgling modest apparel industry. Modest clothing companies, mostly based in Utah, have sprung up over the last ten years in response to immodest trends. These companies have as core principles modesty both in product and marketing.

Right now modest clothing companies are boutiques, not a large-scale alternative for LDS consumers. These companies are generally small, family-owned and under-capitalized. They lack economies of scale in production and advertising, and suffer from lack of brand awareness and acceptance. Their product lines are limited and wide-scale distribution is difficult. And in the past two years, the modest apparel industry has been weakened by LDS consumers taking advantage of the temporary trend toward modesty in the larger apparel industry.

What would happen if Church members shifted their economic weight behind the modest apparel industry? If every dollar spent by LDS consumers with pornographic apparel producers instead flowed to the modest apparel industry, that industry would multiply many times directly benefiting LDS consumers. Both the number of products and the ability to distribute those products would increase. Over time, the modest apparel companies could provide all kinds of modest apparel for the entire family without pornographic or sexualized marketing.

With the help of LDS consumers, eventually some modest apparel companies might grow big enough to attract the attention of the larger industry, which always looks to acquire up-and-coming brands or imitate new niche markets. With their money, LDS consumers could eventually demonstrate to the apparel industry that there is a profitable segment of consumers who warrant modest clothing without pornographic marketing.

So, what's in your closet?

Copyright 2008 J. Scott Askew

Reprint Rights Statement: Article is free for reprint provided no changes are made to title or content. Author's biography below must be retained, with active links. You may not add "no follow" tags.

How to C-A-R-E About Personal Transformation!

I started stealing when I was about six years old, and did something criminal almost every day for 20 consecutive years. None of my crimes made sense because crime is stupid. The more crimes I committed, the more stupid I became and before I confronted my criminality, I stood precariously on the brink of incurable stupidity. You, or someone you love, might, even now, perch close to that dangerous domain--incurable stupidity.

Can a criminal know when he or she approaches that dangerous domain? Absolutely! You are becoming incurably stupid when the lens of your thinking prevent you from "seeing" the realities of life. Consider these realities: 1) Most criminals do not get away with crime. In fact, law enforcement professionals would capture all criminals if society would willingly pay the price, and if law abiding citizens would not become willing or unknowing crime supporters. For example, when crime victims refuse to report offenses, for whatever reason, they support criminals and conspire to help them get away with crime. Worse, still, when so-called law-abiding citizens buy stolen stuff, they support criminals. 2) Once you establish a criminal record, most people no longer presume you to be innocent until proved guilty. Quite the reverse is true. 3) When you firmly believe that crime, over time, produces more profit for you than legitimate work. Believe this way, and you live self-destructively close to that dangerous domain--incurable stupidity.

Let's first crunch the numbers!

 Let's say you rob a bank and steal $250,000, and the police catch you after you've spent about $25,000 and you get 10 years in federal prison without parole. When you're released from prison, after being incarcerated for the 8,736 hours in 10 years, your hourly rate would have been just a tad more than $1. On the other hand, had you worked for those 8,736 hours at just $5 per hour, net pay, you would have earned $43,680. More importantly, you would have been free to take advantage of any opportunities that came your way. So you see, crime surely does not pay!

Well, what about those criminals who seem to live :"high on the hog," so to speak? They drive expensive cars and live in luxury apartments, wear tailored clothes and hang out with beautiful women. They claim, and try to convince anyone who will listen, that crime delivers the good life. These criminals often remind me of an African proverb that exclaims: "When the lion writes history, all antelopes get caught.. The same concept applies to these criminals. They lie incessantly about the so-called "good life" they live between prison sentences.

Okay, enough about how and why crime is stupid. What's the answer? How does a criminal come to C.A.R.E. about becoming transformed? The acronym stands for Comitted Actions [to] Reverse Energy.

One of the very best illustrations of commitment resides in a story about a pig and hen discussing the ramifications of a ham and eggs breakfast. Said the pig: "This scenario requires you to be involved, but it requires me to be committed. Transformation requires life altering commitment. Consistent, long-term actions reveal commitment. For example, transformed thieves not only stop stealing stuff from others. They also stop stealing time by lollygagging, hanging out and skirting productive behavior. They stop stealing talent by learning to develop their talents constructively and productively, even investing them into others to produce synergistic relationships. They stop stealing, as it were, from their temples (physical selves) by living according to a wellness culture, rather than a sickness culture. Certainly they stop stealing treasure. Many thieves never consider this, but the treasure they steal from themselves dwafts, by comparison, what they steal from others. For example, when I would squander money buying loads of useless stuff and the fleeting fulfillment they provided, I stole from myself. That money "seeded" into productive ventures and profitable enterprises would have reaped endless harvests, financial and otherwise.

So how do I get from crime to contribution?  You will live through four phases of transformation. I designate those phases as follows:

  1. Criminal--when you believe it's all right to harm others to gain for yourself.
  2. Former criminal--when you learn to avoid acting on criminal thoughts.
  3. Change activist--when you adopt a comprehensive life strategy to become a community contributor, rather than a community predator.
  4. Change conqueror--when you have aligned with the powerful principles of change and success that reward you with the new life you desire.

In a nutshell, this transformation process requires you to break the crime habit, to earn an  ever-free life, and to achieve your crime and prison records into insignificance. This transformation requires you to master a new  learning and living process.

Fortunately, I learned the process, and I share it with you and others,.

 I learned that my thinking produces my words. My words dictate my actions. My repeated actions form my habits. My habits define my character, and my character develops my destiny. Therefore, early in the transformation process, I defined crime as a way of thinking that attempts to justify harming others to  gain for self. Thus, the vision became clear: change from being a getter to being a giver. Like everything worth doing, this change is easier to say than it is to accomplish. Without going into all the details of how I learned the following lessons, let me summarize the principles that govern this "step" to transformation.

The governing principles are:

1. Adopt new thinking, a principle that begins with rejecting your initial perspectives and perceptions in exchange for a different way of seeing circumstances. For example, instead of being upset when a prospective employer refused to hire me, instead of wondering why, I concluded that the firm's leadership suffered with "potential myopia." Therefore, they could not see the new highly contributive me, because that "person" existed as future potential. Take my first job, for example. I worked as a janitor, but I refused to wear the hotel's uniform off the premises because I began to think of myself, not as a janitor, but as a writer working as a janitor. That's new thinking. To be truly committed to a changed future, you must transform your thinking, because, remember: you say what you think, you do what you say, and your behavior produces your habits, which develop your character and determine your destiny. If you desire a new destiny, you must adopt new thinking.

2. Practice innovative thinking. Here's another example from the early days after my release from prison. I wanted to launch my writing career and I knew I needed a typewriter, but I could not afford one on my $1.25 per hour salary at the hotel. A parttime job would have defeated the purpose because I would not have enough time to write. So I made a deal with my aunt and her son where I lived. I was giving them about $30 per week. I asked them to let me use that money to finance the launch of my writing career and in a year I would give them double the total, about $3,000. It worked. I made that deal with them in 1969 and in the 40 years since, I have averaged more than $20,000 annually from a writing career launched with about a $3,000 investment. That's innovative thinking.

3. Craft creative thinking.  Often boldness characterizes creative thinking, as in this example from an interview with the late James Wilson, then Executive Editor of the Wilmington (NC) Morning Star. Wilson's only hesitant concern about offering me a job as a Morning Star reporter in June 1970 was the fact that I didn't own a car. "Mr. Wilson," I said, "tell your editors to assign me to any story that comes up and the first time I miss a story because I do not own a car, fire me." Subsequently, I wrote for The Morning Star for about two years. That's an example of creative thinking.

4. Display enthuiastic thinking. To continually remind myself of this principle, I taught myself to always answer the question, "How are you doing? with the following: "LIfe is great and improving daily." That's not simply an empty repetitive phrase, but the summary of powerful principles that position you to create a new future, based in your potential, rather than your problems. You see, "Life is!" When you awake daily, life is! It's does not matter by whose decision, or what set of circumstances  you continue living. All that matters is "Life is!" Now you confront the question, what style of life will I live today? This question introduces you to the concept of personal power and responsibility. This question does not delve into why or how I continue to live, but now that I am alive, how am I going to position myself in however much time I have remaining! Please avoid the following concepts like the plague they represent: "Tomorrow is not promised!" and "Yesterday was terrible." All you can do about yesterday is learn, internalize and implement the lessons revealed in that 24 hours of your life. You have no role or responsbility about getting to tomorrow. Your responsibility and the locus of your power rests in what you do today that positions you to do more in other days, if blessed to see them. Thus I determine what word goes in the blank time spot following "Life is!" What I put in that blank dictates my perceptions, perspectives and power to change. So I decided long ago that "Life is great!." However, if I stop there, I am living, but not planning. You see, what if I awake the following day and "Life is!" What are my plans for a life that continues? I decided long ago that I would always plan today for my life to improve daily in however many successive days I have remaining. So how am I doing almost 41 years after I exited prison, and crime? Life is great and improving daily. That's enthusiastic thinking.

So the change process, the change that transforms you from criminal to contributor, begins with becoming N.I.C.E.

Okay, you are on your way!

More next time.

See you at the top