Monday, June 18, 2018

Porter County cop accused of exposing himself to women

A probationary deputy with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department has been relieved of his duties after he allegedly exposed his genitals to women after asking for directions on four occasions throughout the county, according to court documents.
John Morris, 24, of the 700 North block of Old Sumac Road, Valparaiso, has been charged with four misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure.
All of the alleged incidents took place while Morris was off duty and in his personal vehicle, according to Sgt. Jamie Erow, public information officer with the sheriff’s department, and Morris made no mention or affiliation of his position or place of employment during the incidents.
He was dismissed from his duties with the sheriff’s department June 8. According to a release from Erow, Morris was a jail officer from August 2016 until Jan. 18, when he was sworn in as a probationary officer.
Per the department’s merit rules, officers are on probationary status during their first year of employment and may be discharged at any time, Erow said.
According to the charging documents, the alleged incidents occurred May 3 in the Kohl’s parking lot in Portage; May 21, at Sands Mobile Home Park in Liberty Township; May 22 in the Walmart parking lot in Valparaiso; and June 7 at Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Community in Portage Township.
In all four instances, according to court documents, Morris exposed his genitals after asking for directions. Twice he asked how to get to a bank, once he asked how to get to Interstate 94, and he also asked how to get to Rogers-Lakewood Park, according to court documents.
According to Erow’s release, sheriff’s deputies were called to Pleasant Valley Mobile Home Community the afternoon of June 7 for a report of a man exposing himself to a woman while asking for directions.
The victim was able to obtain a license plate for the suspect’s vehicle and provide a description of the suspect.
Deputies responding to the residence of the suspect based on the license plate information observed a sheriff’s department squad car in the driveway and recognized the last name as that of one of the department’s officers, Erow said.
During an interview with detectives, police determined Morris was allegedly involved in the Pleasant Valley incident and possibly related incidents in the county, Erow said, adding detectives immediately contacted the Valparaiso Police Department and handed over the investigation.
Sgt. Michael Grennes, public information officer for Valparaiso police, said in a release that department received a report May 22 about a man exposing himself to a woman in the Walmart parking lot. The victim described the suspect as a white male in his early 20s with short blonde or brown hair, driving a silver Pontiac.
Amy Lavalley is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.