Police say they’re trying to build a case against – and get counseling for – a north Charlotte man who has angered neighbors by standing in front of his windows naked for more than a decade.
Neighbors in the Cardinal Glen neighborhood grew frustrated because they say Gerard Leeper stayed inside his house, but was in plain sight – a gray area in North Carolina’s indecent exposure law.
Residents’ frustrations boiled over at a neighborhood church Monday night during a homeowner’s association meeting attended by Leeper and several police officers.
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“We have to be mindful of when our kids go outside,” Xavier Hodges, the HOA president, told reporters afterward. “Sometimes you might have people who want to take matters into their own hands. As a community we don’t want that.”
Leeper did not speak at the meeting, Hodges said. He told reporters outside he didn’t know whether he would speak or what he would say if he did.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers have arrested Leeper at his home three times on indecent exposure charges. A spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office said Leeper was convicted and sentenced to 10 days in jail in 2006 for indecent exposure.
A CMPD spokesman said police will likely approach the legislature to recommend a stronger indecent exposure law.
North Carolina law says a person can’t expose himself in a place where the public has access. But CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said police want to change that, making it clear that it’s unlawful for a person to expose himself if he can be seen from a public place.
Capt. Rod Golding said he had met with the district attorney’s office and that there might be a way to prosecute Leeper under existing law. He said officers have also talked with Leeper’s family members about getting counseling for him.
Leeper has been found guilty of eight crimes – all misdemeanors – since 1998, according to a search of North Carolina court records conducted by the Observer. He was twice found guilty of both violating a protective order and resisting a public officer. Staff researcher Maria David contributed.