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Forum staff reports, Published July 23 2013

Fargo man charged in 'upskirting' incident at Target

FARGO – Cass County prosecutors have filed disorderly conduct charges against a Fargo man who they say took a cellphone picture under an unwitting woman’s skirt while they were in the Target store here.

Kasey Jon Thomas Kitsch, 27, of Fargo, was charged Tuesday with one count of disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, Kitsch could be sentenced at most to 30 days in jail.

Cass County prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek said the case does not fall neatly under any criminal statutes on the books in North Dakota. Van de Streek wrote in an email that after much discussion with his fellow prosecutors in the state’s attorney’s office, disorderly conduct was the only offense applicable.

The case garnered considerable public attention when Fargo police released store photographs to the media showing a man who later identified himself to police as Kitsch.

Witnesses in the June 13 incident told police the man was standing in the checkout line of the Target store and placed his hand, containing a cellphone, under the dress of the female victim, who was standing in line in front of him.

The criminal complaint states the victim was unaware that Kitsch had taken her picture.

Fargo police Lieutenant Joel Vettel said previously that while this appears to be related to a practice known as “upskirting,” in which a person takes a picture or video of a woman under her clothes without her consent for sexual gratification, the practice does not appear to be prevalent locally.

The victim’s name is being withheld because it is The Forum’s policy not to identify victims of sex crimes.