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Man accused of serial indecent exposure

Resident who exposed himself to neighbor has previous offenses in Redding, police say.

September 26, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

A fence is all that separates a Glendale woman from a neighbor who has been arrested twice this month for allegedly masturbating in front of her.

The man, 57-year-old Steven Sargent, got into hot water again when police say he posted a lawn sign promising to sell his home in the 1200 block of East Palmer Avenue and move to Nevada if she dropped an indecent exposure charge against him.

Sargent pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he attempted to dissuade a witness in a criminal investigation.

He was arrested Thursday after displaying the lawn sign, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

It was the latest in a series of alleged incidents involving indecent exposure.

On Sept. 4, the woman, whom police have not identified, was changing out drapes at about 4:45 p.m. in her living room for ones that provided more privacy when she saw Sargent with his pants down and masturbating in his backyard as he stared blankly at her, according to police reports.

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After telling her husband later that evening, he went over to talk with Sargent, who allegedly apologized for his actions and promised it wouldn’t happen again

But the couple feared for their children’s safety and decided to notify police.

Prosecutors also filed a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge against Sargent.

Sargent, who has been living in his mother’s home for about a year, was convicted in June in Redding for lewd conduct in a public place and sentenced to a work program, according to Shasta County Superior Court records.

In that incident, he exposed himself to a postal worker in his home garage, said Sgt. Bill Forrest of the Redding Police Department. The postal worker, he said, was offended and sought to press charges.

Jeffrey Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Assn., said indecent exposure cases should be pursued quickly.

“This is something that should be taken very serious before it turns into something more egregious,” he said.

And when the alleged perpetrator lives so close a victim, it “can be very disruptive for your everyday life,” he added.

Redding detectives also investigated Sargent for child annoyance while he was a math teacher in Shasta County, but he was never arrested or charged in the incident, Forrest said.

Sargent is being held in a Los Angeles County jail in lieu of $120,000 bail.

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