Stopping flashers before they graduate to bigger crimes

Monday, September 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa woman saw a News on 6 story last week on a man who's been exposing himself to young girls. The story compelled her to share a painful and personal experience, in hopes of helping other parents.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says the woman's story is a stark reminder for all parents of the dangers lurking.

Tereza Castruita works in Tulsa, but her heart and mind are far away in El Paso, Texas, where the man accused of kidnapping her five-year-old niece, Alexandra, is now on trial. "He strangled her until her eyes were red and her tongue stuck out. He poured gasoline on her privates and on her face and he wrapped a plastic bag on her face that melted and he set her body on fire."

Now, the man convicted of the crime, David Rentaria, faces the death penalty. Tereza says if he would've been taken seriously during his first offenses, maybe it wouldn't have come to this. "David started out flashing, then, moved to touching and then, murdered a five year old girl with a bright future, all that we've been through is very painful."

That's why when she sees a story about a flasher [pictured] who's been targeting young girls in west and south Tulsa for the past year, she wants to shout a warning to all who will listen. Because she knows he will keep hunting his prey at playgrounds and schools until his crimes get worse and worse and she wants to prevent that.

“Hopefully, if we can band together as a community and catch this person, because I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy." And, it's not just children who can be victims. A couple of years ago in Tulsa, the Brookside rapist started off as a Peeping Tom, but the thrill wasn't enough so he became a flasher until that wasn't enough and he raped two women before being caught by police.

Police say flashers should not simply be ignored, but immediately reported. The man [pictured] they're looking for tends to approach young girls walking home from school or riding their bike, alone.