A retired vicar in the United Kingdom who was spotted in public completely naked other than wearing a pair of ladies’ stockings while vigorously thrusting a vacuum cleaner has been fined and placed on the sex offenders register.
John Jeffs, from Middleton Cheney in Northamptonshire, stood just about nude when he was sprung prodding the nozzle of his vacuum cleaner with his genitalia.
The 74-year-old was caught out in a state of obscene exposure by a mortified church attendee who was attending an event about Asperger’s syndrome in the same building and happened to stroll past his office.
The witness saw Mr Jeffs “standing between two dark chairs” and performing the lewd act, donning nothing but a pair of pantyhose.
As it turns out, the former vicar noticed the member of the public, but this did not stop him from carrying on with his vacuum cleaner romp session.
Here is more on sex offenders convictions in NSW.
Court Hears Former Vicar Continued to Violate Inanimate Object Because It Felt “Naughty”
Mr Jeffs faced Northampton Magistrates’ Court over the matter where it was heard he was “thrusting into a Henry Hoover”.
When asked why he continued with his inappropriate behaviour despite having offended a member of the public, he said it was because it felt “naughty”.
According to court documents, Mr Jeffs was at his office at The Baptist Centre in Middleton Cheney when he was spotted by the witness.
Nevertheless, he had actually stopped working as a pastoral manager at Christian faith-based group, Parents Talking Asperger’s, a whole seven months prior.
Mr Jeffs was found guilty of indecent exposure at his trial, prior to which he had a clean record.
In representing Mr Jeffs, his solicitor explained the once-vicar was still dealing with the trauma of losing his wife at a young age.
It was also heard the man was in “a lot of pain” because he was overlooking his health and his diabetes was not medicated.
The magistrate, unconvinced, quashed these claims promptly.
“Why you thought it best to bring this matter to trial, I have no idea,” the magistrate said.
Mr Jeffs was slapped with an 18-month community order and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.
In addition, he was requested to pay £845 in court costs, along with compensation to the victim who viewed the unsightly act amounting to £200.
Under the law, “obscene exposure” generally refers to any kind of deliberate exposure in public or in view of the public by a person of their genitalia, which presents in contrast to a community’s moral standards or the general decorum that is maintained by them.
While such behaviour can sometimes be carried out to be a joke or stunt, in fact, the behaviour is deemed inappropriate because it is very likely to disrupt or offend members of the community, or upset or disturb the victim or survivor, often making them feel unsafe.
Examples of behaviour that comprise obscene exposure extend to exposing genitalia, streaking at a sports event, or even simply flashing your backside at your neighbour.
What Penalties are in Place for “Obscene Exposure”?
When dealing with the law for obscene exposure offences, it is important to note that the courts take the matter seriously, even if the conduct was carried out simply as a joke.
If you are in NSW, pursuant to section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988, the maximum penalty you can receive if you “wilfully and obscene expose yourself in or within view from a public place or school” is 6 months in jail or a fine of $1,100.
This does not include instances of accidental exposure – for example, unintentionally flashing someone as a result of a wardrobe mishap.
Defences to the offence of obscene exposure include necessity, duress, or mental illness, that is, where the person was not able to comprehend their coarse behaviour being improper.
By Sahar Adatia.