Keep Your Pants On- Since When Is Leaving The Curtains Open “Indecent Exposure”?Last June, Ocean City police arrested Edward “Ellis” Rollins III, the chief prosecutor of Cecil County. He was taken in on several charges, including having a terrible nickname, being a “the third,” and indecent exposure. The arrest came after witnesses took several photos and called the police. By the time they arrived on the scene, the action had stopped. However, as the officers were taking statements, Rollins and his female companion, apparently not yet satisfied, started up their antics again.

The story was picked up by a local blogger, who questioned why Rollins wasn’t immediately charged with indecent exposure. The blogger attempted to stir up controversy by claiming that Rollins’ prosecutor friends were keeping the incident quiet, and that no charges would be forthcoming. In reality, the local prosecutor wanted time to verify the details of the case. Rollins was eventually charged with four misdemeanors for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

What really happened

On investigation, the local prosecutor, Beau Oglesby, found that Rollins was engaging in lewd sexual acts with… his wife. Depending on who or whom you ask, the misconduct took place about three times over the course of two days. In the end, Rollins was charged with having sex with his wife in his hotel room while attending a conference. Men have been shot for less. The real crime was that the couple didn’t close the curtains – or, at least, that’s what’s cited in the misdemeanor charge.

While Rollins and his wife should have closed the blinds, indecent exposure isn’t always what we think it is. We can’t think of an item less newsworthy than a political figure engaging in consensual sex with his own wife, but this is a good opportunity to explain just what constitutes “indecent exposure” in our fine state.

How Maryland handles indecent exposure

For the record, there is no statute that explicitly lays out what constitutes indecent exposure, though there is a statute that sets penalties. The three common law elements of indecent exposure are:

  • The willful and intentional exposure of one’s private parts,
  • In a public place, AND
  • In the presence of others.

The penalty for an indecent exposure conviction can include imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine of up to $1,000. In Maryland, indecent exposure does not by itself require registration as a sex offender.

It just shows to go ya’; even ranking public officials can be charged with indecent exposure. As always, everyone has the right to a trial by jury, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Indecent exposure or reckless behavior charges can have lifelong consequences, but don’t panic; I can help. Call my firm, Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, at 410.777.8103, or fill out this contact form to talk to an experienced Annapolis criminal defense lawyer about your needs.

Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.