MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Andrew Crosby faces a charge of indecent exposure related to an incident that happened during his daughter’s sleepover gathering in May 2020, according to an affidavit of complaint filed in court. In fact, Crosby is due back in court Friday; his lawyer expects prosecutors to drop the charge.
The string of events motivated state Rep. Mark White (R- Memphis) to propose a change in Tennessee law.
According to the affidavit of complaint, the events took place on May 16, 2020, when Andrew Crosby appeared in a room inside his home in front of a 14-year-old girl and her other two friends. Both were asleep at that time.
The teen told police she heard a noise, turned around and saw Crosby naked, masturbating and looking at her two friends sleeping. According to the affidavit, the teen gasped and then her eyes met Crosby’s. When a cell phone went off, he left the room.
According to the teen’s father, she told her parents and they reported it to police that day.
In a statement to WREG, he said, “My daughter was subjected to extremely vulgar and inappropriate behavior when she was a guest in Mr. Crosby’s home.”
After that, records showed it took three weeks for the district attorney to file a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge on June 8.
WREG uncovered it appeared Crosby was not processed like most others. Sheriff’s deputies said he never took a mugshot or got processed at the jail until WREG started asking about the case. Then Crosby made an agreement with the Shelby County District Attorney to have the charge dropped on January 15 if he followed certain conditions.
Crosby’s attorney, Mark McDaniel, Sr., said his client never made any admission of guilt.
To get a better idea of how this case unfolded compared with others, WREG spoke with former Shelby County assistant district attorney Josh Corman, who worked in the special victims unit.
“Prosecutors have an immense amount of discretion to decide what should be charged and how something should be charged,” Corman said. “A lot of cases are going to end up getting dismissed, not because there may not be enough evidence, but because at the end of the day that’s something everyone agrees is the right way, the right form of justice.”
According to a statement by the victim’s father, prosecutors from District Attorney Amy Weirich’s office told him, “The law currently protects [Crosby] because he was in his own home and because my daughter was there voluntarily to spend time with her friends.”
That’s why WREG then took a closer look at the indecent exposure statute. It has multiple ways someone could violate the law, though all seem to have gray areas.
For example, the statute states someone breaks the law if they “invite, entice or fraudulently induce a child into their residence.” In this case, the girl said she was invited by Crosby’s daughter.
It also states someone can break the law if they commit the act in the intended presence of a child. But according to the complaint, Crosby was only looking at the two girls who were asleep. Even if that sounds like it would be a violation, legal experts tell WREG it might not hold up in court.
There’s also the issue of age: the law takes indecent exposure of a victim under 13 more seriously than one between 14 and 18. If the victim is under 13, the suspect would serve a longer sentence and face a higher class of misdemeanor.
WREG asked District Attorney Amy Weirich multiple times to explain what motivated her to offer. Crosby the chance to have his charge dropped. Each time, she declined to talk about an ongoing case.
But she did speak with someone else.
“I was called by a family that this happened to. They said, ‘We don’t understand this.’ Then we called the DA’s office,'” Rep. White said.
White, who represents parts of Memphis and Germantown, is taking this fight to the General Assembly.
“If I see there may be an outlet where children aren’t protected then my job is to do that,” White said.
We asked White what the DA told him is a weak spot in the current law.
He said the language is too vague, especially regarding location and consent.
He’s proposing legislation that would make it a felony for someone to expose themselves to any victim age 15 or under.
“We have parents who had something happen to their child that should not have happened. We need strong enough laws to punish the guilty,” White said.
The teen’s father supports the effort: “The law must be updated. His behavior should have been explicitly illegal. My daughter… should be fully protected.”
Crosby is set to appear before Judge Gerald Skahan Friday morning. His attorney said he believed his client would have the charge dropped. The victim’s family hopes to have something noted permanently on his record.