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Brittany Lawonn, Published March 05 2009

Fargo man arrested in indecent exposure cases

A 19-year-old Fargo man was arrested Wednesday in connection with two indecent exposure incidents involving students after a Tuesday incident at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School in Fargo.

Joseph Ryan Cox is being held on suspicion of felony indecent exposure within 50 feet of a school, according to a police news release.

Authorities were following up on a separate incident at the school about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when a student reported that a male had stopped in a vehicle and exposed himself to her, the release said.

The student provided police with a description of the suspect and a license plate number. Her information also helped police tie Cox to a 3 p.m. Dec. 11 indecent exposure incident at Fargo South High School that took place in the presence of a Lewis and Clark Elementary student, Sgt. Mark Lykken said.

Cox was not a suspect in that case until Tuesday’s incident, Lykken said, adding, “The case was pretty much assisted by the victim getting the correct license plate.”

Indecent exposure incidents don’t happen that often, but when they do police often find they are connected, he said.

“When it does happen, we can usually link a couple cases, up to several, to one individual,” Lykken said. “They do it, then they have a cooling-off period of time and then it tends to happen more and more often.”

The behavior can sometimes escalate, he said. The worst fear for police is that it could lead to an assault or abduction.

Cox is being held in the Cass County Jail pending an initial court appearance. He did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541