Man arrested for third time on indecent exposure charges

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with indecent exposure after he reportedly exposed himself to a female employee of a local store.
David Kelly Tanner, of 1025 Berry Drive, was charged with indecent exposure following a report by the store clerk to Tennessee Constable Landon Pritchard who then notified Elizabethton Police Department Inv. Jason McCall.
According to a report by McCall, a female employee of the Only A Dollar store, located at 735 W. Elk Ave., reported to him that on July 7, at approximately 5:30 or 6 p.m., a white male was in the store shopping. She reported that she was the only other person in the store, and the man had been searching through the aisles for approximately 45 minutes.
"At one point he was in the aisle directly in front of the register, and his pants were hanging very low around his waist," McCall states in his report. "He pulled up his shirt and (the female employee) saw his underwear, described as black G-strings."
After that, the woman reported that the man went around another aisle, and she left the register because she suspected that he might be shoplifting.
"When she went into the aisle she saw the male subject with his pants and underwear down around his ankles, his back was facing her and she saw his buttocks. His hands were in front of his groin area," McCall states in his report.
At that time, the woman turned to go back to the register, and another customer entered the store. The woman reported that after the other customer entered the store, the man who had exposed himself immediately exited the store with his pants pulled up.
"On July 11, 2003 at approximately 5:10 p.m. I showed (the woman) a photographic lineup," McCall states in his report. "She immediately pointed to the defendant, David K. Tanner, as the male subject who had exposed himself in the store on July 7, 2003."
McCall took out a warrant for Tanner's arrest at that time. He was arrested on that warrant Friday night by EPD Ptl. Mike Commons.
The Tennessee Code Annotated defines indecent exposure as being an act when an individual "knowingly or intentionally" engages in sexual intercourse, appears nude, fondles either their own genitals or the genitals of another person, or engages in other sexual acts in a public place. The Tennessee Code defines a public place as "any location frequented by the public or where the public is present or likely to be present or where a person may reasonably be expected to be observed by the public."
This is the third time Tanner has been charged with indecent exposure. Tanner was found guilty in April of 2002 on a similar charge. In that case, Tanner was accused of committing indecent exposure on Feb. 20 of that year in the parking lot of Elizabethton High School.
According to reports, a student told the principal that a man in the parking lot had exposed himself to her that morning when she parked her car. She gave the principal a description of the vehicle the man was driving.
Two days later, police saw the described vehicle in the parking lot. When they questioned the occupant, Tanner confessed to the incident, according to reports.
The judge in that case fined Tanner $500 and court costs and issued an order that he was not to be in the area of any school in the city of Elizabethton or Carter County.
Tanner pled guilty on Feb. 14 of this year to three counts of indecent exposure that occurred at the Lynnridge Apartment complex, where he was a resident at the time. He was given one year of probation and ordered to attend counseling and have no contact with any of the victims.
His wife, Melinda Tanner, 20, pled guilty to indecent exposure in April. The charges against her stemmed from the same incident that her husband pled guilty to in February. She was fined $50 for the offense.
In that offense, neighbors reported to EPD investigators and officers on Jan. 21 that Mr. Tanner had been intentionally exposing himself when they would pass by his apartment.
According to reports, witnesses stated that Mr. Tanner had been standing nude in front of a large window and was inappropriately touching himself while women and children were walking by. They also reported that Mrs. Tanner was involved in one of the incidents.
Under Tennessee law, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor charge. "It takes two prior convictions to make it a felony in the state of Tennessee," said Assistant District Attorney Mark Hill at the time of Tanner's second conviction. "With this conviction, if he were to commit an act like this again, it would be a felony."
After Mr. and Mrs. Tanner were charged with indecent exposure in January, they were evicted from the apartment they were residing in at Lynnridge Apartments, according to Hill at the time of Mr. Tanner's trial in February. "Just relocating him is not going to solve the problem," Hill said at that time. "Statistics show that offenders like this tend to re-offend."