Poplar Bluff man, 33, arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure at high school

Friday, May 22, 2009

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A Poplar Bluff man was arrested on three counts sexual misconduct for allegedly exposing his genitals to female students at Poplar Bluff Senior High.

In at least three incidents around 7:30 a.m. between May 11 and May 19, Jason Payne, 33, of County Road 4681, allegedly drove around the high school parking while masturbating, according to witness statements.

The suspect was "just smiling as he was driving by and doing what he did," said one 16-year-old female student, who said she was about three feet away from the passenger's side of the Jeep Liberty on Tuesday morning as it looped around the school.

"He is usually here a few minutes before the bell rings for school to start," said another 16-year-old female student. She said she was embarrassed to report the incident until her fellow classmate later reported it to the school resource officer.

The complaints were backed by video surveillance evidence, which contained about a week's worth of data. Another witness said she saw the behavior taking place during the beginning of last week.

Officers set up unmarked vehicles at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday in an effort to detain the suspect, but he did not show up, according to Detective David Sutton.

By chance, an officer found the suspect's vehicle around 9:15 a.m. at a pharmacy on South Westwood Boulevard and took Payne in for questioning.

The suspect was transported to the Poplar Bluff Police Department Criminal Investigation Bureau and later booked on the misdemeanor and released on a criminal summons.

"[Exposing his genitals] was the offense," said Sutton, adding that during the investigation it did not appear as though Payne was looking for a particular victim or to do something more serious.

The investigators said it was clear the suspect was performing the act knowing that the students were able to see what he was

doing.

Last Thursday, police said Payne was seen on video driving with his windows down while all the other vehicles had the windows up, since it was raining outside.

Four years ago, Payne was convicted of indecent exposure. According to the police report, Payne began counseling soon afterward.

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