Man accused of standing naked in door to get counseling
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Residents of a Charlotte neighborhood met with police Monday night to discuss a neighbor they say repeatedly stands naked for everyone to see. The man accused was also at the meeting.
The neighbor, Gerard Leeper, will be getting counseling. If there are any more incidents, police say, he will face criminal prosecution providing he intentionally displays himself where the public can see him, and people are willing to testify.
The story made national headlines last week after neighbors said enough was enough.
People in the Cardinal Glen neighborhood in north Charlotte say Leeper has been doing this for nearly ten years. They want it to stop.
WBTV caught up with a clothed Leeper outside his home Monday afternoon. He claims he's only been in his house naked, and that his privacy has been violated.
"I would not stand outside my door naked, and no one has a picture of me standing outside my door naked," Leeper said. "What they have is a picture with intrusion of seclusion."
He added, "No one has helped me try to get a lawyer to say 'Hey, we need to try to first see about the violation in our community.' This is discrimination right here."
WBTV dug into Leeper's history and found out he has been arrested eight times by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police for indecent exposure, among other charges.
Each time the incident was reported by a female and occurred at his home. The indecent exposure charges were dropped every time but one. He was convicted of indecent exposure in 2006. WBTV found reports from CMPD dating back at least seven years.
Police say they have been called to the home four times since the beginning of the year: January 2, January 5. March 3 and March 13.
"Since it is not a criminal incident, it was documented in the 'call for service' but there is no report," a spokeswoman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told WBTV.
She added that officers confirmed with the magistrate that the incident did not rise to a level of a charge, since the man was on his own property.
"After consulting with the magistrate and Police Attorney, unless he is outside of his home, he cannot be charged," she said. She says officials are looking into "additional options" to help resolve the issue.
According to North Carolina law, a person can only be charged with indecent exposure if they "willfully expose the private parts of his or her person in any public place and in the presence of any other person or persons."
Residents said they were creating a plan to get rid Leeper, or get him some help.
Leeper says his neighbors know he's a good person, and that he'd help anyone.
"Deep down in their hearts, they know. If they need anything at all, this man will help you," Leeper said emotionally. "I don't have much, but they know I'd give it."
Monday evening at 6 p.m. the community will hold an HOA meeting at the Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church. They will meet with residents and CMPD leaders on what course of action they can take to stop Leeper from coming naked to his front door.
Leeper was at the meeting Monday night, but did not speak.
Xavier Hodges became president of the homeowners association back in 2008. She said Leeper's behavior had subsided for some time, however he has recently become more and more bold.
"We've had neighbors who have now seen him naked outside his house and he's coming out more frequently," Hodges said. "We as a neighborhood we would like our children to go outside and play, I would like to be able to go inside knowing I don't have to look down towards that street."
"We know that he can't be arrested if he's naked outside his house. But there has to be something we can do because we know he wants to be seen," she continued. "He only exposes himself to females and teens and then hides when someone else is in view."
According to neighbors, the problem had subsided after 2009 where, according to police records, Leeper was arrested eight times but never charged for indecent exposure.
"How many more reports that we have to have, how many more calls we need to make in order for something to be done and be done pretty soon," said Hodges.
A criminal attorney says nuisance complaint can be filed to stop Leeper from exposing himself.
"If there's some type of nuisance going on where he's violating some city or county ordinance and although it might criminal in nature they can at least try to keep him from doing this," said Attorney Wade Carpenter.
The lawyer based out of Gastonia also suggests for residents to contact there legislature to amend the sexual conduct law.
"Because if it (Leeper's behavior) doesn't fit into the criteria and keeps getting dismissed then that's when your representative and your general assembly can amend the statute to protect this type of behavior. Because you can have an assault without touching someone," said Carpenter.
"This could be potential mental abuse or sexual abuse."
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