Mpls. park po­lice say ‘Peri­win­kle Perv’ is caught

Star Tribune - - REMEMBERING - By PAUL WALSH paul.walsh@star­tri­ Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482 Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788 Erin Golden • 612-673-4790

A 31-year-old Ea­gan man sus­pected by res­i­dents of ex­pos­ing him­self in nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents for the past year or so has been caught, charged and has a court date next week.

Robert J. Stephen­son is charged in Hen­nepin County District Court with mis­de­meanor in­de­cent ex­po­sure in con­nec­tion with al­legedly stand­ing at the end of a south Min­neapo­lis al­ley with no clothes on one morn­ing on La­bor Day week­end. Stephen­son has been charged by sum­mons, mean­ing he re­mains free be­fore a Mon­day court ap­pear­ance.

His at­tor­ney, Eric New­mark, said Tues­day that he’s aware of re­ports of sim­i­lar in­ci­dents be­ing blamed on his client as Stephen­son drives a peri­win­kle blue Chevy Spark, but he said his client has only been charged in the one in­ci­dent.

The color of the car has been noted con­sis­tently by res­i­dents who have been shar­ing and map­ping their ob­ser­va­tions on­line. News me­dia ac­counts have earned the man the moniker “Peri­win­kle Perv.” How­ever, Stephen­son might not be solely re­spon­si­ble for all the in­ci­dents be­ing tracked by res­i­dents.

Min­neapo­lis Park and Re­cre­ation spokes­woman Dawn Som­mers said Tues­day evening there are two sus­pects, the other be­ing Ken­neth J. San­ford, re­cently charged in con­nec­tion with these in­ci­dents. San­ford, 44, has been charged with nu­mer­ous mis­de­meanor of­fenses, with some oc­cur­ring near Lake Cal­houn.

The charge against Stephen­son came thanks to Min­neapo­lis park po­lice win­ning court ap­proval in July to put an elec­tronic track­ing de­vice on his car.

Ac­cord­ing to the mis­de­meanor crim­i­nal com­plaint:

Park Po­lice Lt. Mark Swan­son be­gan mon­i­tor­ing Stephen­son’s car from about 3 to 7 a.m. on Sept. 3 trav­el­ing in ar­eas where in­de­cent ex­po­sure re­ports had been filed. Swan­son pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied Stephen­son as the driver.

About 9 a.m., Swan­son re­ceived a call from a woman say­ing she just saw a man at the end of the al­ley near Oak­land Av­enue and 47th Street stand­ing out­side a blue Chevy Spark and “to­tally naked.”

Swan­son checked the GPS data and con­firmed that Stephen­son’s car was in “that ex­act lo­ca­tion at that time.” op­por­tu­ni­ties for fe­males.

“I get that,” Kosey said. “If 20 boys tried out of the dance team, some girls might get cut and elim­i­nate some girls from par­tic­i­pat­ing.”

But it’s un­likely many boys would try out for the dance team, he said.

“It’s time for us to have a con­ver­sa­tion about whether this law is out­dated … and whether it should be changed,” he said.

John­son’s mother, Mi­randa Lynch, said her son is happy to bring this is­sue to the fore­front.

“We know boys who are in Min­nesota who want to be part of a dance team,” she said. “But they don’t want their name out there be­cause they don’t want to be bul­lied.”

John­son has stood up to bul­lies in the past, she said. “He’s will­ing to put his name out there.” “crossed the line.”

Mean­while, lead­ers in the House have con­tracted with a St. Paul firm to launch an out­side in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and mis­con­duct by an­other law­maker, Rep. Tony Cor­nish, R-Ver­non Cen­ter. Maye Quade and a fe­male lob­by­ist have ac­cused Cor­nish of send­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­wanted mes­sages. The lob­by­ist said Cor­nish tried to kiss her, pushed her against a wall, and re­peat­edly propo­si­tioned her for sex over the course of sev­eral years.

Cor­nish has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

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