Indecent Exposure

The offence of indecent exposure is outlined in section 173(2) of the Criminal Code.

An individual commits indecent exposure when they expose their genitals, for a sexual purpose, to a child under the age of 16 in any location. The child does not have to be physically present with the adult at the time of exposure. An adult individual who exposes themselves to a person under the age of 16 over a video chat will also be guilty of this offence.

Examples

Person A is an adult and person B is a child. Person A meets person B in a chat room online. Person A and person B video chat. During the video chat person A exposes his penis to person B. Person A has committed indecent exposure.

Person A is an adult and person B is a child. Person A exposes his genitals to person B and begins masturbating while in a public park. Person A has exposed his penis to a young person for a sexual purpose and is therefore guilty of indecent exposure.

Cases

R. v Maftoon, [2021] ONCJ 583

In R. v Maftoon, the offender was charged with one count of indecent act and one count of indecent exposure after exposing himself to young children at a public pool. The offender was seen by witnesses in the shallow end of the pool, near children, with an erection and visibly masturbating. Upon exiting the pool, his completely exposed penis was seen by at least one witness. When officers arrived on scene, the offender was found in the parking lot in the backseat of his vehicle, completely naked and touching his penis.

R. v. Gipp, [2020] ONSC 5522

In R. v. Gipp, the offender was charged with indecent exposure after exposing his entire bare penis to an adult woman and a young child in a parking lot.

Offence Specific Defences

No Sexual Purpose

To gain a conviction for indecent exposure, the Crown must prove that the accused exposed him or herself for a sexual purpose. If the accused can provide credible evidence to show that they did not expose themselves for a sexual purpose, they will not be convicted.

For example, a parent whose child saw their genitals while they were walking naked from the bathroom to the bedroom after showering would not be guilty of indecent exposure because the parent did not expose themselves for a sexual purpose.

Did not Expose Genitals

To gain a conviction for indecent exposure the Crown must prove that the accused exposed his or her genitals. If this is not the case, the accused may argue that they did not expose their genitals.

Lack of Intent

To gain a conviction for indecent exposure the Crown must prove that the accused willfully exposed themselves. If the accused did not intend to expose themselves to a young person, they may argue they lacked the necessary intent to be convicted of the offence. For example, an individual whose pants accidentally ripped, exposing their genitals, would not be guilty of this offence as they did not intend to expose themselves.

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