"Naked neighbor" story reignites debate over public nudity laws

"Naked neighbor" story reignites debate over public nudity laws »Play Video

NEAR RAINIER, Ore. - A Team 2 investigation into a Rainier man's naked escapades reignited a heated debate over Oregon's public nudity laws.

They only address public indecency, and it is only a crime if the person engages in "sexual intercourse" publicly or attempts "arousing sexual desire" with themself or another person.

Some, like D.J. Darco of north Portland, believe it's time to toughen the law.

She took the issue to the state legislature in 1991 after a co-worker fondled himself in front of her and she said the district attorney told her he couldn't prosecute the man.

"He said there's no law against it," Darco said.

She wants to create a crime of indecent exposure that is not only punishable by a fine but jail time.

The legislature voted down bills involving her idea in 1991, 1993 and 1995. That would have created an indecent exposure law in Oregon.

Washington state has such a law, in which a second offense is a felony, as well as Idaho, where a two-time offender can get 10 years in prison. In California, a second offense is also a felony punishable by prison time.

Oregon is the only state in the region without an indecent exposure law.

The issue surfaced after KATU News began investigating the exploits of 59-year-old Jimmy "Mack" McKenzie, who people said repeatedly exposes himself to others driving by his house, and to children on a passing school bus. From complaints we heard, he has been doing it for around 20 years now.

Leonard Castle, pictured below, told KATU News McKenzie fondled himself in front of his daughters. But Castle said it was like pulling teeth to get anyone to do anything.

"Everyone involved, from the sheriff in the beginning to the DA, was reluctant and tried to talk me out of it at every level," Castle said.

When McKenzie was finally arrested in 2004, he was only prosecuted for public indecency - a misdemeanor.

Now Castle said he wants to help change the law too.

As for McKenzie, he declined to be interviewed recently by KATU News at his house.

He is currently free on bail, facing 50 counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse after police searched his home in 2005 and found boxes and computer hard drives filled with child pornography. He goes to trial in late September.

McKenzie is also on probation for a 2004 conviction.