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Jeff Kolpack, Published August 24 2012

Father cites 'wardrobe malfunction' as former Bison player Jemison charged with indecent exposure

FARGO – The father of former North Dakota State linebacker Brandon Jemison said the incident that led to his son being dismissed from the football team was a “wardrobe malfunction” at a local mall.

The incident prompted prosecutors to file a Class A misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure Friday against Jemison in Cass County District Court.

Chad Desjarlais said his son told him he went to West Acres mall to study on a day the Bison did not have a team workout in late July. While there, Desjarlais said, Jemison realized he had a hole in his shorts and moved to a more discrete area to try and fix it.

That’s when the reported incident happened, he said.

According to a police report filed with the charges Friday, a female complainant on July 27 observed a black male sitting on a bench outside the mall and stated “that she was able to clearly see the male’s genitals and that male appeared to be laughing or smiling while he had his genitals out.”

The complainant, according to the report, said Jemison was in a partial state of arousal. She called her sister, who told her to dial 911.

The complainant, who is either 30 or 31 years old and lives in Idaho, also noticed two boys and a girl near the male and told police they were giggling at him, according to the affidavit by Fargo police Detective Mark Voigtschild. In a follow-up interview with the detective Thursday, she estimated the children were likely between 10 and 12 years old.

Voigtschild states in the report that he reviewed a security tape from the mall and wasn’t able to see Jemison exposing himself, although the report also said the distance from the camera “is too far.”

Desjarlais said he does not discount the site of the incident, but does differ on the account.

“A lady saw him and then reported it to the mall I believe and called the police,” he said. “It was a wardrobe malfunction to tell you the truth. My son was not out there doing something inappropriate.

“Like I said, Brandon told me his side of the story. I’m not sure of this statement that she made. Based on the report and everything going on, Brandon is taking responsibility with whatever was discussed with the police officer and the coaches. He should have left. People make mistakes. He’ll have to deal with this incident.”

Jemison, a Fargo South graduate who played in all 40 games during his first three games with the Bison, was dismissed from the team by coach Craig Bohl on Aug. 9, with Bohl citing a violation of team rules. Lt. Joel Vettel said police reports were forwarded to prosecutor within two days of the dismissal.

If Jemison were convicted on the indecent exposure charge, he could face up to a year in jail and sex offender registration.

Desjarlais, who played football for NDSU in 1992 and 1993, said Jemison has been “an exceptional kid” and has never caused any problems.

“People have to understand he’s a high profile athlete and that usually makes a difference in these cases,” Desjarlais said. “Even though there’s a negative situation going on, there’s a positive in my son.”

Desjarlais said he wants to make sure the incident doesn’t get blown out of proportion as a “higher level sex crime that could possibly get him registered as a sex offender.”

“Which is ridiculous, and that’s what I want the public to know,” he said. “How many times have we had a wardrobe malfunction?”

An avid weight lifter, Desjarlais cited an instance that happened to him once. While doing a squat lift, he said his “squat suit” blew out on him.

“Somebody could have said the same thing about me,” he said. “Sagging pants and girls wearing inappropriate stuff, you see it every day. So it’s kind of a ridiculous claim. People make mistakes and he should have made the decision to go home or go somewhere private but at the time, he didn’t make that decision.”

Jemison has remained in school, has a 3.0 grade point average and will graduate, Desjarlais said. He said his son did not lose his scholarship.

Asked if it’s possible Jemison could return to the team, he said he didn’t think that would be possible.

“He went through two surgeries to play for the Bison,” Desjarlais said. “He put his time in. He told the truth and he’s dealing with the consequences.”


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia

Kolpack is the host of the WDAY Golf Show Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. on 970-AM.