NORRISTOWN >> An Upper Providence man faces court supervision after he admitted to exposing his genitals to a woman on the parking lot of a township shopping center.
John Charles Thomas, 24, of the 200 block of Paperbirch Drive, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to one year of probation after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure in connection with the January 2017 incident. Judge Gary S. Silow, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter, also ordered Thomas to have no contact with the female victim.
The judge said Thomas must undergo a sex offender evaluation and will be under the supervision of the probation department’s sex offender unit.
An investigation began about 8:22 p.m. Jan. 9 when Upper Providence police were dispatched to the parking lot of the Wegman’s store on Commerce Drive for a report of a man masturbating inside his vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.
The victim told police that as she was loading groceries into her vehicle she looked at the man in the vehicle parked next to her and he nodded his head downward toward his lap. The woman said the man, later determined to be Thomas, had his penis exposed and appeared to be masturbating, according to the criminal complaint filed by Upper Providence Police Officer James Rosser.
The woman immediately backed out of her parking spot and drove to the front of the store where she reported the man’s conduct to store officials. The woman also recorded the license plate number of the suspect’s Ford Focus and provided it to store officials and police, court documents indicate.
Police used the information to track the vehicle to Thomas and made contact with Thomas a short time later. Thomas initially claimed that he went to Wegman’s to use the restroom and then returned to his vehicle. Thomas claimed when he returned to his vehicle, he needed to readjust his boxers, police said.
“He told me his penis was exposed for a short time while he was adjusting his boxers. The vehicle was dark inside and he believed no one saw his penis while he was adjusting his boxers,” Rosser alleged in the arrest affidavit.
However, during a subsequent interview by police on Jan. 27, Thomas “admitted to masturbating inside his vehicle while parked in the Wegman’s parking lot,” Rosser alleged in court papers.
Under state law, by pleading guilty to indecent exposure, Thomas admitted that he unlawfully exposed his genitals in a public place where others were present under circumstances in which he knew or should have known that his conduct was likely to offend or alarm others.