Credit: Google

Credit: Google

Kelowna man put on probation for indecent exposure

The man exposed himself at The Salvation Army in Rutland in May, 2017

A Kelowna resident was sentenced to two years of probation for exposing himself at a Salvation Army Thrift Store in Rutland.

Jeffrey Michael Gates, 59, pleaded guilty to committing an indecent act in a public place at the Kelowna Law Courts Tuesday.

The incident took place May 25, 2017. Crown counsel Patricia O’Neil told the court Gates had taken off all of his clothing while in the change room at the thrift store and exposed himself to an undercover police officer. He was later arrested without incident.

O’Neil argued Gates should get a longer sentence, due to his long criminal history dating back to 1987 in both Canada and the U.S.A.

She called the incident at the thrift store “outrageous and potentially harmful behaviour worthy of significant sanction.”

Defence lawyer Jordan Watt said Gates has had one conviction for a breach of probation since 2008, and has been a productive member of society during this time period. Gates has been married since 2009, purchased a house in 2015 and is a journeyman electrician, he argued.

Gates made an apology during the sentencing hearing to those he had offended and listed various efforts he has made in the last 10 years to improve his life including spearheading a food drive, celebrating sobriety, getting married and receiving full-time employment in his career.

He also volunteered time and resources to help open 11 schools after they were destroyed during the fires in Fort McMurray, he said.

“I’m having trouble understanding how, since 2008-2009, you were on a positive course. You’re employed, you’re married, you engaged in volunteer activities, you were doing everything right… and you expose yourself in public. What were you thinking?” said Justice Weatherill.

“I’m looking for those answers as well,” said Gates.

Justice Weatherill said Gates must report to a probation officer as well as attend and complete counselling as directed by the probation officer. A DNA sample will also be taken from Gates.

“I am concerned with whatever demons haunted him in the past may have returned,” said Weatherill.

“I’m going to give you a chance to continue the positive path you are on… but it is important that you comply with the terms of the probation order.”

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