Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
On Friday, a charge was dropped against a Sigourney man who was charged with indecent exposure in October.
Washington County Attorney John Gish announced Friday that the indecent exposure charge had been dropped against Justin Jaspering, 42, of Sigourney.
The Oct. 16, 2020, indictment against Jaspering alleged that Jaspering exposed his genitals to a minor.
“The minor lives with various disabilities and is non-verbal, but a witness was able to provide enough information about the situation to bring the charge,” Gish said in Friday’s news release. “In court, Jaspering’s attorney claimed the evidence was insufficient to show the child was ‘unwilling’ to see Jaspering’s genitals.”
Ultimately, the court sided with Jaspering, noting Iowa courts have required the state to prove a victim is “offended” by a perpetrator exposing their genitals to them.
As a result of the minor victim’s inability to express offense, the charge was dismissed by District Court Judge Daniel Kitchen.
“Because our victim cannot articulate whether they were offended, we were forced to dismiss the case,” Gish explained. “I look forward to working with our local legislators in order to make necessary changes to Iowa Code Section 709.9 and recognize some victims, who, because of age or disability, cannot articulate being offended or may not know they should be offended.”
Gish recommended that the legislature fix 709.9 by requiring affirmative consent and eliminate “offense” as an element.
According to court documents, the initial offense took place on May 1, 2017, although a criminal complaint was not filed until January 2020.
A warrant for Jaspering’s arrest was filed on Jan. 7, 2020. He was subsequently arrested by Marion police on Oct. 8, 2020.
On Oct. 16, 2020, the Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against Jaspering with the charge of indecent exposure, a serious misdemeanor.
A bench warrant for failure to appear was later issued, and Jaspering turned himself in on Nov. 9, 2020.