BALDWIN COUNTY, Alabama (WALA) - A Baldwin County man has been in and out of jail for flashingwomen on the road. He's been doing this for the past two decades,including two incidents that happened this year.
Law enforcement officers have dubbed him The Baldwin CountyFlasher. But state law doesn't do much to discipline him.
In and out of jail
The Baldwin County Flasher is Dana Stegall. He's certainly nostranger to a jail cell. He's already served roughly ten years injail. Now his victims are afraid that he will physically hurtsomeone or someone will hurt him.
Stegall's reputation is known in Baldwin County communities, andin the law enforcement community.
How it all started
His crimes go back 20 years. That's when Robertsdale bookstoremanager Lynn Hinote was flashed during the early '90s. She wasdriving on County Road 83 and saw The Baldwin County Flasher on theside of the road.
"I was getting ready to hold my hand up to wave and all of asudden the shirt came up, his pants were down. There you go. I waslike, 'I know he just did not do that,'" said Hinote.
She reported the case, and Stegall was convicted of indecentexposure. But Hinote said the look in his eyes leaves a lastingimpression.
"That's how I picked him out of the line up was his eyes,because when he flipped his shirt up, he covered the bottom part ofhis face. And all you saw was his eyes and his nose. And it was hiseyes. It's something in those eyes, you know something is wrongwith him," said Hinote.
Now 20 years later, a Grand Bay woman is telling a similarstory. She did not want to reveal her identity because her case ispending.
She told FOX10 earlier this year while at a Loxley gas station,Stegall called her over to his truck. She didn't think twice aboutit.
"The Southern hospitality, you are helpful to people. You arebrought up that way; just to be nice and courteous," said theunidentified woman.
But her niceness would be taken as a weakness. Police reportssay Stegall flashed her.
"I couldn't believe it was happening. Not there, not in BaldwinCounty. People are usually so friendly and asking directions to goto places, and it was just really shocking," said the anonymousvictim.
Then she got a bigger shock. She discovered Stegall had beenarrested more than two dozen times by five different agencies forthe same offense.
Current District Attorney Judy Newcomb prosecuted some of thosecases against Stegall when she was an Assistant DA.
"Typically throughout the years, he's entered not guilty pleas,"said Newcomb.
In fact, when he was accused of a recent crime, he told FOX10 hewas at a Christian concert.
"I swear to God on my momma's dead grave I didn't do thatRobertsdale thing. I was on my way to Winter Jam, about 3:30 whenit happened. I just turned myself in to get this over with," saidStegall, while walking out of a recent court appearance.
Newcomb said the criminal system can only charge him withindecent exposure.
"Because it's a misdemeanor, while in the state court system,it's a more severe penalty than in the municipal court. It's stillonly a year that the judge can sentence him,"said Newcomb.
But the reality of the judicial system didn't sit too well withthe Loxley victim. So she took action.
"I started a petition. I sent it out via e-mail and also inperson. Right now, we got right over a thousand signatures," shesaid.
What can be done?
So FOX10 wanted to find out if that petition caught anylawmaker's attention. We took our report and the victim's concernsto the Mobile legislative delegation. Our report lead us toRepresentative Jim Barton.
He acknowledged the victim's concerns. That's why he recentlydrafted a bill to fight repeat offenders like Stegall. The billwould make indecent exposure a felony for those convicted threetimes or more. But the legislative session has come and gone, andthe bill didn't make it very far.
"We got it down to the judiciary committee. We didn't get it upon the House floor for consideration," said Barton.
He said some his colleagues believe people like Stegall shouldbe rehabilitated rather than incarcerated.
"I don't argue that point, but the money is not there to do it.So I am not comfortable turning my head or turning a blind eye tothe issue. Let's incarcerate and if the money is available in thefuture, then we'll rehabilitate,"said Barton.
However, that argument wasn't enough to pass the bill, so itwill have to be reintroduced again next year.
A waiting game
As for now, Stegall's victims have different attitudes aboutlife.
"You don't have that. 'Hi how are you doing?' type feeling. It'slike, 'What are they doing? What are they wanting?' That type ofdistrust in people. I want to get back where I can trust peopleagain," said the anonymous Loxley victim.
"If something is not done about him, I'm scared it is going toescalate," said Hinote.
Elections are coming up soon, so that will be a huge factor inthe future of this bill. Meanwhile, Stegall is in jail for exposinghimself again, this time to two teenage girls in
An interesting note
In one of his older cases, prosecutors told Stegall he couldavoid jail time, if he would agree to be chemically castrated.
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