Police: Man accused of exposing self at school has previous convictions

A Columbus man who police said exposed himself outside a Johnson County elementary school has convictions for the same crime that date back three decades.

James P. Snodgrass, 62, was recently charged with public indecency, a felony charge due to a past conviction in Marion County, according to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.

On Aug. 8, an employee at Whiteland Elementary School saw a car parked near the playground with a man inside. As she approached the car, she noticed the man was fondling himself, police records state. She took pictures of the man and vehicle and contacted police.

Investigators connected the license plate number and the man’s description to Snodgrass, and contacted him.

Snodgrass told police he was outside of the school and had been fighting sexual urges for weeks. He told police he began to fondle himself when he saw an attractive woman in another vehicle, according to the charging documents.

Snodgrass has a criminal record that dates back to at least 1984 for similar crimes, according to court records.

He was released from prison in December 2015 after serving nearly 20 years after being convicted of incest charges. According to court records, a then-15-year-old relative of Snodgrass told police he had been molesting her for at least six years.

When Snodgrass was arrested for that charge in 1995, the court documents noted past convictions for public indecency in both Lafayette and Carmel.

Snodgrass was arrested and charged with public indecency in 1984 after two 14-year-old girls at the Woodland Country Club in Carmel said Snodgrass had driven by the bicycle rack and exposed himself to them, according to court records. Information on the Lafayette case was not available.

In 1993, he was convicted of public indecency in Marion County, which was the conviction that led to a felony charge in the most recent arrest, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Snodgrass pleaded guilty to the felony incest charge in 1996 and during sentencing, the Bartholomew County judge noted that he had violated his probation for a past conviction, had a history of criminal behavior involving sex offenses, past rehabilitation efforts were not successful and that Snodgrass was not remorseful for what he had done, according to court records.

The court also required Snodgrass to register as a sex offender at one point.

Snodgrass was arrested and taken to the Johnson County jail on Aug. 10, where he was released on $1,200 bond.

Annie Goeller is a staff writer for The Daily Journal of Johnson County, a sister publication of The Republic.