CRIME

Salvation Army Bell Ringer Accused Of Flashing After Boy Donated Cash

The volunteer allegedly exposed himself outside a Food City in Tennessee.

A volunteer bell ringer for the Salvation Army lifted up his red apron and flashed his genitalia after a 4-year-old boy dropped money into the donation kettle, police said.

William Martin, 61, allegedly exposed himself to the youngster and his father outside the Food City supermarket in Kingsport, Tennessee, last Thursday afternoon, according to The Smoking Gun.

According to a Kingsport Police Department arrest affidavit, the boy's father claimed the suspect's genitals were fully exposed and pulled outside of his pants during the incident.

The father dialed 911 after witnessing the alleged indecent exposure, which he said his young son did not notice, per the affidavit.

Martin, who said he'd been bell-ringing with his wife since 11 a.m., initially denied the incident to the investigating officer, WJHL reported. But the police report noted that he "eventually admitted to the illicit act" after surveillance video appeared to show him fondling his genitals beneath his clothes as he sat on a lawn chair at the entrance to the store.

"As he sat there, I observed his left hand slide under the red apron he was wearing, and move toward his groin," the report said. "His left hand moved in a manner that appeared as if he was fondling himself over several minutes. This act continued as customers, including children, entered and exited the store."

Food City has banned Martin from all of its outlets. He and his wife have also been stripped of their bell-ringing duties for the charitable organization, WJHL reported. 

The suspect was charged with a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure and arraigned on Friday. He's due to appear in court on March 3.

Greater Kingsport Salvation Army Maj. Alan Hill confirmed to WJHL that Martin and his wife were "longtime trusted bell ringers" who were no longer with the organization.

"He told me he never intended to expose himself, but was dealing with problems related to his severe diabetes," Hill said.

 

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