It was moves “straight out of a sexual predator’s playbook,” according to the judge who found a Penticton man guilty of exposing his genitals to a youth at a playground.
David Ernest Friesen, 66, was found guilty of exposing his genitals to a person under the age of 16, committing an indecent act in a public place and two counts of breach of probation on Thursday at the Penticton provincial court related to an Oct. 14, 2018 incident where he flashed a 13-year-old at the Kiwanis Park Playground.
”I do agree with the proposition that Mr. Friesen’s actions are straight out of a sexual predator’s playbook. First go to survey a park. Second, go to the park where kids are likely present. Next, try and befriend the kids by playing with them and giving them candy. Finally, when the adults are gone then act upon your urges,” said Judge Gregory Koturbash.
Friesen had gone to the park that day where a teen boy and his younger sister had been playing. The teen testified that after other families had left the area, Friesen called out to the boy to come over towards him. The teen said Friesen, who he identified in an RCMP photo lineup after the incident, had his pants pulled halfway down his thighs and he could see his “private parts.” The teen then grabbed his younger sister who had been playing on a slide close by and left the park.
Koturbash said Friesen’s explanation of what took place that day “lacked the same hallmarks of credibility” as the teen boy’s testimony.
“When he was asked at the outset why he went to the park, he paused for a long period and said, ‘good question.’ He then said ‘it looked like it would be fun to be with adults and kids.’ He denied having any sinister intentions but admitted in his words it was a ‘moment of weakness’ when he went to the park,” said Koturbash in his decision.
Friesen denied that he exposed himself to the teen. He claimed to be playing tag with the two children after other families at the park had left. The teen said both he and his sister had not engaged with the man until he called out to them to come over.
Adults that were at the park before the flashing incident took place contacted RCMP after seeing a post on social media about a man that had just exposed his genitals to a youth. They testified in court about a “bizarre” but short interaction with Friesen in the park and that they had taken note of the vehicle he was driving and licence plate, which later helped RCMP in the arrest of Friesen.
Koturbash found Friesen not guilty on a second count of exposing his genitals, as the teen testified he did not believe his younger sister saw what had happened.
Friesen was previously convicted of exposing his genitals to two children in 2017 in the parking lot of the Penticton Public Library. He also denied doing anything wrong at that time and blamed the incident on a hole in his pants. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and two years probation. The probation conditions included to not be public parks, beaches, community centres or any other place where a person under 16 could reasonably be unless he was with an adult who was made aware of his probation order and previous criminal history. He was also not to have contact with minors under the age of 16.
During his initial appearance in court in October for the playground incident, the court heard he allegedly breached his conditions in August 2018 when he was taking photos of children at the beach on Okanagan Lake.
A psychiatric report with a psychological component has been ordered for Friesen, who was in custody since the incident. Friesen will return to court on April 17 to determine if the reports have been completed then a date will be set for sentencing.
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