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Forum staff reports, Published March 07 2009

Fargo man, 19, faces indecent exposure charges

A 19-year-old Fargo man arrested Wednesday in connection with a Tuesday exposure incident at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School faces charges in Cass County District Court in connection with Tuesday’s incident and an earlier exposure case.

Joseph Ryan Cox, 2561 Villa Drive S., made a court appearance Friday where conditions of release were set at $50,000, cash or bond.

He remained in the Cass County Jail on Friday night.

Cox is charged with two counts of indecent exposure, one count of promoting obscenity, and one count of disorderly conduct.

According to court documents:

Cox exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl Tuesday near the middle school and also showed her pictures of nude adult women.

He is also accused of exposing himself to an 8-year-old girl near Fargo South High School on Dec. 11 and of asking her to remove her pants.

After Tuesday’s incident, the 13-year-old victim provided police with a license plate number and a description of the suspect.

The information led police to question Cox.

According to court documents, Cox was arrested after admitting he exposed himself to a girl near the middle school and stating he did something similar near South High.

When asked why he conducted himself that way, Cox told police he became bored after moving to Fargo in 2008 and it was “just something to do,” according to the court documents.

Cox was not a suspect in the South High case until Tuesday’s incident, according to Fargo Police Sgt. Mark Lykken.

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.