Public Indecency and Lewdness in NH

A recent local news story concerning New Hampshire Motor Speedway general manager Jerry Gappens centers around NH’s public indecency and lewdness statute, RSA 645:1. As reported, Mr. Gappens was arrested last week and charged with lewdness after police allegedly spotted him engaged in sexual activity with a woman in the back seat of his Toyota Sequoya SUV. Detectives from the Manchester Police Street Crime Unit were monitoring illicit activities at around 5:45 p.m. near Lincoln and Manchester streets when they spotted a woman enter the passenger side of an SUV, which then drove toward Hanover Street, the police said. Manchester police officers followed the SUV into a parking lot where they say they “observed an act of lewdness take place in the vehicle.”Mr. Gappens, 53, along with Kendra Johnson, 19 was charged with a misdemeanor level offense.

Public Indecency and Lewdness in NH is defined as:

NH RSA 645:1 Indecent Exposure and Lewdness.  
    I. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if such person fornicates, exposes his or her genitals, or performs any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances which he or she should know will likely cause affront or alarm. 
    II. A person is guilty of a class B felony if: 
       (a) Such person purposely performs any act of sexual penetration or sexual contact on himself or herself or another in the presence of a child who is less than 16 years of age. 
       (b) Such person purposely transmits to a child who is less than 16 years of age, or an individual whom the actor reasonably believes is a child who is less than 16 years of age, an image of himself or herself fornicating, exposing his or her genitals, or performing any other act of gross lewdness. 
       (c) Having previously been convicted of an offense under paragraph I, or of an offense that includes the same conduct under any other jurisdiction, the person subsequently commits an offense under paragraph I. 
    III. A person shall be guilty of a class A felony if having previously been convicted of 2 or more offenses under paragraph II, or a reasonably equivalent statute in another state, the person subsequently commits an offense under this section.

 As the news story reports, Mr. Gappens has retained legal counsel who has issued a statement saying in part: “He regrets his actions. While he made a bad decision, he did not, in my opinion, engage in conduct that violates the referenced statute or any other criminal law…” The full story can be found here:

If you or someone you love has been charged with indecent exposure, lewdness or public indecency in NH, contacting an experienced criminal defense lawyer is the best first step to defending oneself of the allegations. This NH criminal charge carries penalties ranging from a simple fine, to mandatory jail or prison time depending on the age of the other person involved, whether there have been prior similar acts, among a number of other factors. The NH criminal defense attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. in Manchester, NH understand the nature of the legal charge and can help you if arrested for in NH. Feel free to contact us today if you are facing criminal charges in NH.

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