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3 years for man charged with a sex crime after beach lewdness

A criminal defendant in Maryland has received a three-year prison term after apparently committing a lewd act on an Ocean City beach. The 53-year-old man, who had previously been convicted for other sex offenses, was charged with a sex crime after he was allegedly seen masturbating in public in July 2013. He was convicted on criminal charges of disorderly conduct and indecent exposure.

Authorities say that they responded to complaints that the man was committing lewd acts on the 27th Street beach during the late afternoon hours on July 7, 2013. The man was apparently touching his genitals while wearing a fairly revealing swimsuit. Families on the beach had reportedly complained that the man was publicly exposing himself for about 45 minutes. Witnesses said that about 40 people were at the beach at the time of the incident, and 10 people complained to a lifeguard about the alleged violation.

Three years' prison time may seem extensive for someone who was only convicted of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct, but the man's criminal past likely played a role in the harsh punishment. He was already on the sex crime registry when the 2013 violation occurred. Further, he has been charged with theft, drug charges, lewd acts and probation violations. The man also has a history of being a "peeping tom," according to news reports, and he has neglected his sex crime registration duties on multiple occasions.

This case illustrates the wide range of potential sentences that can be handed down to criminal defendants. Remember that failing to maintain appropriate sex offender registration may lead to harsher punishments for future violations. The criminal law process is influenced by a variety of factors, which explains disparate sentencing for individuals who have committed the same violations.

Source: Delmarvanow.com, "Man gets 3 years for lewd act in OC" Brian Shane, Aug. 10, 2014

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