- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Montgomery County, Md. police have charged a county man suspected in a series of flashing incidents with burglary, public nudity and sexual assault.
Nineteen-year-old Edwin Soto Jr. lives at a Silver Spring address located less than one mile from where the reported incidents occurred, according to the police department.
A resident of the 3000 block of Bel Pre Road, Mr. Soto was charged last week with two counts of indecent exposure, and one count apiece of fourth-degree sex offense and first-degree burglary.
"This is something that we and the police department consider very serious," said Katherine Winfree, Deputy State's Attorney for Montgomery County.
During a two-week span starting in mid-August, Montgomery County had about 12 reports of flashers at playgrounds, bus stops, pools, businesses and residences, according to news reports.
Police said Mr. Soto exposed himself just before 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 14 at a residence located in the 14100 block of Whispering Pines Court in Aspen Hill.
The woman who lives at the residence denied the flasher's repeated requests to use her telephone, prompting him to pull down his pants then run away, according to police. That incident was the first indecent exposure charge.
Then, just before 3 a.m., the same woman again saw him outside her residence and screamed, according to Debra Marshall, a county police spokeswoman.
Mr. Soto, according to the witness, smashed a window of her residence, drawing the burglary charge.
Before noon the same day, Mr. Soto drew the sexual assault charge when he inappropriately touched another woman who was walking in the same Whispering Pines Court block, police said.
Shortly after noon the next day, a woman at a park in the same Whispering Pines Court block reported a man pulled down his pants after unsuccessful efforts to engage her in conversation, police said.
The maximum penalty for the felony charge of first-degree burglary is 20 years in jail. Both of Mr. Soto's purported sex offenses are misdemeanors.
The maximum penalty for indecent exposure is three years in jail and/or $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for fourth-degree sex offense is one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine.
Mr. Soto was being held on $50,000 bond at the Montgomery County Detention Center.
Ed Clarke, director of safety and security for Montgomery County schools, said the apprehension comes at a key time because yesterday was the first day of school in the county.
"We are delighted and pleased with the arrest," Mr. Clarke said.


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