Oklahoma's Own In Focus: How Police Say People Should Respond To Indecent Exposure

No matter the degree of the sex crime, Lieutenant Darin Ehrenrich with the Special Victims Unit says to file a police report. He says indecent exposure or Peeping Tom crimes have the potential to escalate to something worse.

Friday, January 5th 2024, 11:00 pm

By: News On 6


Police arrested a man accused of indecent exposure to a 16-year-old girl at a high school.

Pryor Police say the girl was running on the school track when she saw Tyler Cagle pull up in his truck, open his door and expose himself.

They say the girl ran away and called her mom, who called the police. A description of the truck and flock cameras helped officers find Cagle.

“No matter who you are or what your name is, we have to investigate the crimes the same,” said Pryor Police Chief Jeremy Cantrell. “It doesn't matter. That's kinda the stance I take as the police chief, and I know my officers do as well.”

Police say Cagle admitted he was at the track but had a different story about why he was there and what he was doing.

Police say it’s important to report any case of indecent exposure.

Police say too many people ignore it, but reporting it to police can lead to bigger cases.

How Can Sex Crimes Escalate?

News On 6 spoke to the Lieutenant of the Special Victims Unit at Tulsa Police Department, who says these cases are hard because people don't always report them, but his unit says every single one of these cases must be taken seriously.

No matter the degree of the sex crime, Lieutenant Darin Ehrenrich says to file a police report.

“Those crimes that are being reported are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

He says indecent exposure or Peeping Tom crimes have the potential to escalate to something worse.

He pointed to several cases that the special crimes victim unit worked, including Brandon Ortiz-Varela.

He's charged with taking photos up a woman’s skirt at a car wash.

“We served a search warrant on his residence and found a significant amount of evidence that it wasn’t his first time he committed a crime like that and found evidence of him physically sexually assaulting women that were either unconscious or sleeping,” Ehrenrich said.

Now, Ortiz-Varela faces a host of sex crimes, including Peeping Tom, sexual battery and rape by instrumentation.

“All of that spun off of one very, what would seemingly be looked at as a lower-level type sex offense of just taking photos up a young woman’s skirt,” said Ehrenrich.

Lieutenant Ehrenrich urges people to take these kinds of cases as seriously as his unit does.

“I think there’s this societal belief that number one, people just aren’t going to believe me or number two, what can be done?” he said. “Again, just understand that those types of crimes can be indicative of much larger problems beneath the surface.”

What Do You Do If Something Like This Happens To You?

Call 911 to file a police report. Details are key for officers, including what this person looks like from race and gender, what they were wearing, if they had any facial hair or tattoos, and what kind of vehicle they were driving.

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