The longtime CEO and president of a Texas Planned Parenthood organization has found himself on the wrong side of the law. Lubbock police arrested 56-year-old Tony Thornton after receiving a report that he exposed his genitals in a public park.
Thornton, who has headed the nonprofit's Lubbock branch for years, was charged with one count of indecent exposure. He is currently out on $750 bail and has been removed from his position at the organization.
No one could confirm whether children were present, but the Avalanche-Journal notes that the police report lists a 43-year-old male as the only victim. For all involved, this is probably a good thing.
Indecent exposure, as defined under Texas Law, occurs when an individual exposes his anus or genitals with the purpose of sexual gratification. The law also requires that another individual be present and be offended by the act.
This offense is a Class B misdemeanor, which is a relatively low level crime. The Texas Planned Parenthood leader probably won't go to prison for his crime and is instead likely to be fined and put on probation.
If a child had been present, things would be a lot worse -- for the victim and for Tony Thornton. Texas upgrades the crime of indecent exposure to indecency with a child when a minor is present, regardless if he or she is offended. The crime is classed as a third degree felony and would almost surely result in jail time -- and possibly a listing in the state's sex offender registry.
Tony Thornton should have never exposed himself in public, but he's lucky it appears he only did so in front of an adult. Others may not be so fortunate, so don't do what the Texas Planned Parenthood CEO did and try to keep it in your pants while at a park.
- Planned Parenthood in Lubbock gets unplanned "exposure" (CBS)
- Indecent Exposure (FindLaw)
- Baltimore Priest Arrested for Indecent Exposure in Porn Shop (FindLaw's Legally Weird)