SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Parents in Ardsley Park in Midtown Savannah are on edge after a man reportedly exposed himself in front of two teenage girls.
Parents said two girls, 13 and 15, were walking their dog near 54th Street and Battey Street when a man inside of a car asked them for directions, then exposed himself.
"The girls were just being nice and giving him the directions and didn't realize this man had other intentions in mind," said Chris Bass, whose children are friends with the girls. "He proceeded to pleasure himself in front of them, and it shocked the girls
Bass has lived in Ardsley Park for more than a decade, and said never thought something like this could happen in his neighborhood.
"We've lived here 13 years, and I've never felt this way before," he said. "So, gosh, it makes me angry. It makes me angry that this is happening."
Now, if his 13-year-old daughter goes outside, Bass says his 15-year-old son has to go with her.
"I want my daughter to be able to walk down the street, you know? Safely, by herself, but right now, I don't feel like she can until something is done," he said.
According to Georgia law, indecent exposure is a misdemeanor crime, but because the man in the car targeted children, Doug Andrews, president of the Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers, said it can be a felony.
"If children, defined under the law as under 18, it can be a felony called exploitation," Andrews said. "It has to be a lewd exhibition of the genitals, and, if so, in the presence of children, that can be a felony. Absolutely requires registration as a sex offender, and use of first offender act is barred by statute."
Andrews said someone charged with felony exploitation can spend between five and 20 years in prison and pay up to a $100,000 fine. He said cases like these aren't common.
"I've defended two of them, so you don't see it that often, thank God," he said. "It's not that frequent, but even once is too often."
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police said a police report was filed about the incident, and Andrews said that's the right course of action.
"They should make a report of it," he said. "They should try to identify this perpetrator because he isn't going to stop or she isn't going to stop. It'll continue, and pattern tends to show that they move from one phase of this activity to another. So, you don't want it moving from viewing to touching."
Ideally, Bass said he wants to see the person caught and put in prison. In the meantime, he says he'd like to see more police patrols in the neighborhood.
"I want to be in a safe neighborhood, and I want our kids to grow up in a safe neighborhood," Bass said. "We've got a lot of kids here. We've got five families right around us with kids younger than my own, and a lot of girls of a very young age. So, if this perpetrator is targeting girls then, you know, he just needs to be taken off the streets."
Bass said the the suspect is described as a middle- aged white man wearing dark sunglasses and a baseball cap. He also speaks with an accent, and the car was a silver or dark grey sedan.
Parents say this is the second time they've heard about a situation like this in the last two months.