Oak Harbor man sent to prison for indecent exposure

  • Wednesday, July 12, 2017 10:00am
  • News

An Oak Harbor man convicted of exposing himself to a teenager at a yard sale last summer was recently sent to prison.

A jury found Jeffrey D. Conaway, 39, guilty of indecent exposure with sexual motivation at a trial earlier this year. The charge was a felony — with the possibility of prison instead of jail time — because Conaway was previously convicted of the same charge in a different case.

At a sentencing hearing last Friday, Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock handed Conaway the maximum sentence of 21 months in prison.

Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom argued that Conaway should receive the maximum sentence because the case involved a “particularly egregious example of indecent exposure.” He said Conaway cornered the 17-year-old girl and exposed himself over a prolonged period of time.

The victim was terrified, Safstrom said, and feared she was going to be raped.

“She couldn’t think of any explanation of why a grown man would exposure himself to her,” he said.

On the other side, Conaway’s mother argued that the victim wasn’t an innocent child — and, therefore, couldn’t be traumatized — since she goes to Oak Harbor schools, where “sex, low morals and drugs” are pervasive.

Hancock questioned her about making such assumptions, but the woman repeated her statement that nowadays the world “is far uglier than it used to be.”

Conaway’s attorney, Matt Montoya, and his fiancee asked the judge to delay the sentence so that Conaway could finish two jobs he was in the middle of. Montoya explained that his client started a thriving business last year and is a hard worker. Conaway’s fiancee said she will lose her home if he’s not able to finish the jobs and help her financially.

Conaway spoke at the hearing. He also asked for the sentence imposition to be delayed, saying that he’s been working 14-15 hour days to finish the jobs. He said it will cause his family a great financial hardship if he doesn’t complete the work and get paid.

Hancock, however, followed the prosecutor’s recommendation. The sentence consists of a mandatory 12-month sentence because the jury found the crime was committed with sexual motivation, plus nine more months under the standard sentencing range of three to nine months. The judge refused to delay the sentence and Conaway was taken into custody.

Hancock said he handed Conaway the maximum sentence for a few different reasons, namely that the crime was very traumatizing to the victim, it occurred over an extended period of time when the girl was alone, Conaway showed no remorse and didn’t take responsibility, and he had a previous conviction.

In addition, Hancock imposed a series of conditions. He ordered Conaway not to have any contact with the victim for five years, pay standard legal obligations, obtain a psychosexual evaluation and complete recommended therapy, participate in polygraph examinations as directed by the supervising community corrections officer and consent to Department of Corrections home visits to monitor compliance with supervision.

The question of possible restitution was reserved for a later date. Conaway will have to register as a sex offender when he returns from prison.

According to the police report, Conaway approached the girl at her family’s yard sale and placed his penis on a table in front of her while he talked to her, asking if he could go inside her home to try on clothes.

Conaway left after the girl’s aunt arrived; the woman said she noticed the man staring at her niece and felt uncomfortable.

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