HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — ValleyCentral spoke with local law enforcement to provide clarity on how much privacy one is entitled to in their own home.
On March 28, a McAllen man was arrested on charges of indecent exposure after being seen standing naked from the waist down by a window in his own home.
Several neighbors reported the man, stating he was visibly touching himself through an open window. One neighbor was able to photograph the man in order to show police, court records revealed.
Many readers were confused after the arrest was made, asking how the man could have been charged if he was inside his own home.
ValleyCentral spoke with Investigator Martin Sandoval with the Brownsville Police Department who provided insight into situations involving indecent exposure while inside a home. According to Sandoval, there is a Supreme Court case law that covers these incidents.
“The expectation to privacy that a person has in his house is 100% affordable to the person, but, if they have windows open, and the public can actually see inside their house, they no longer have an expectation of privacy,” Sandoval said.
The Texas penal code defines indecent exposure as a person exposing his anus, or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.
“By having windows open and being naked, yes, that is an offense,” Sandoval said. “If you want to be naked in your house, you have to make sure that your windows are closed.”
Many also asked about the neighbor, and how she was able to photograph the naked man without being charged with a crime herself.
“We have to remember in the state of Texas, it is a one consent rule. As long as one person has consent, the person taking the picture or the person that’s in the picture,” Sandoval said. “Since they are in public view, they have no expectation of privacy.”