Tanner charged with fourth indecent exposure

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

A 21-year-old man who was arrested just under a week ago on his third charge of indecent exposure was charged with a fourth offense of the crime Wednesday.
David Kelly Tanner, of 1025 Berry Drive, was charged with indecent exposure following a report by his mother-in-law, Annette Batich, that Tanner had exposed himself to her 14-year-old daughter, who is Tanner's wife's sister.
According to reports, the incident happened on July 3 at Batich's residence. "Ms. Batich stated that on that date between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Mr. Tanner and his 9-month-old son were visiting her at her residence," Elizabethton Police Department Ptl. Joy Shoun states in her police report on the incident. "Ms. Batich stepped onto the porch with her son and Mr. Tanner and her 14-year-old daughter were left in the living room with the small child.
"Ms. Batich stated that she was on the porch for approximately 10 minutes and when she returned to the living room, (her daughter) had went to the bedroom and was crying."
According to reports, the daughter advised Batich that while Tanner was sitting on the couch talking to her, he had raised the leg of his shorts and had exposed himself to her.
"Ms. Batich stated that she was reluctant to report the incident because her daughter Melinda (Tanner's wife) had told her she would not allow her to see her grandchild if she spoke to police," Shoun states in her report. "Ms. Batich stated that (her younger daughter) is very afraid of Mr. Tanner, and she is concerned for (her younger daughter's) safety thinking that Mr. Tanner may try to harm her if he has the opportunity."
According to EPD Inv. Jason McCall, this offense and the one Tanner was charged with on Friday will be treated as felonies due to the fact that Tanner has two prior convictions for indecent exposure. According to Assistant District Attorney Mark Hill, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor in the state of Tennessee, but if a person has two prior convictions for the offense, and is charged with indecent exposure again, the crime becomes a felony.
"Sex offenders usually start with offenses like indecent exposure and then progress to more violent types of behavior such as rape," McCall said. "That is why we are trying to handle this with as much care as possible. We do not want it to progress any further."
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. 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.
On Friday of last week, Tanner was arrested on a warrant taken out by McCall after an investigation into an incident that occurred at a local store.
According to a report on the incident 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 Friday, McCall spoke with the woman and showed her a photographic line up to see if she could identify the man she saw exposing himself. "She immediately pointed to the defendant, David K. Tanner, as the male subject who had exposed himself in the store on July 7, 2003," the report states.
Tanner is currently being held without bond in the Carter County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on July 28.