Teacher to be tried in offending neighbors | NevadaAppeal.com

Teacher to be tried in offending neighbors

by F.T. Norton

A Carson City middle-school teacher will be tried on charges of lewdness and indecent exposure, a judge ruled Friday.

Scott Frank’s contention, that he thought a shirt covered him when he allegedly struck up a conversation with his 80-year-old female neighbor, is difficult to believe, said Senior Judge John Ray.

“I can’t quite buy it. I’m sorry,” Ray ruled in finding there was enough evidence to try the case in district court.

A judge has to find only marginal evidence to bind a defendant over to district court, according to Nevada law. To be found guilty of a crime, the evidence has to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

Frank, who is on paid administrative leave from his job as a Carson Middle School fifth-grade history teacher, was arrested Aug. 1 after a neighbor told police she spotted him walking in his back yard without pants on, looking over the fence at his elderly next-door neighbor and apparently masturbating.

“When I first saw him he was pulling his pants up,” the witness told Deputy District Attorney Chris Hicks during Friday’s hearing.

She saw Frank in his back yard as she peeked through the slats of the blinds in her upstairs room. Initially, the woman said, she thought Frank was urinating.

When asked by defense attorney Jason Woodbury if there was a reason she spent 20 minutes watching from her window, the neighbor responded, “Yeah, I’m nosy. I wanted to see what the heck was going on.”

Frank allegedly walked across his yard without pants on, approached the fence he shares with his next-door neighbor and motioned for her to come over.

The next-door neighbor testified she is hard of hearing, so she couldn’t be sure if Frank said anything. She said she could see he was waving her over. As the two stood about 8 feet apart and separated by a tall wooden fence, she said, Frank asked if she had any baby oil.

She went into her home and was unable to find baby oil, she said, but she offered tanning lotion. She said Frank declined the lotion.

“Then I said, ‘Whaddya got over there, a vegetable garden?'”

As she asked that, the woman recalled, she stepped onto a planter and peeked over the fence. It was then she saw he was exposed underneath a T-shirt.

“I’m an old lady at 80 years old, and it was too much to take, so I ran in the house, locked the door and threw my hands on my face and said ‘Oh, great!'”

“Did Mr. Frank at any time tell you he wanted to show you something,” Woodbury asked.

“No,” she replied.

Deputy Ray Guzman testified Frank said he was sunbathing nude and thought he was covered enough when he spoke to his neighbor.

When asked what Frank’s demeanor was during the interview, Guzman said, “He was cooperative, nervous and his eyes were welling up. He seemed honest.”

Woodbury argued Frank has a reasonable expectation of privacy when he was nude in his back yard, didn’t intend for anyone to see him and didn’t think anyone had.

Hicks, however, said although Frank was on his private property, he was in public view.

“The victim was obviously traumatized by what she saw,” Hicks said.

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.