Supervisor Seized, Released in Exposure Query
The chairman of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, Edwin A. Jones, was subdued by police with tear gas and briefly taken into custody in Studio City for investigation of indecent exposure, authorities said Saturday.
Jones, 54, a former Thousand Oaks mayor, was released without being charged after being taken to the North Hollywood police station Wednesday from the Charles Motel on Ventura Boulevard, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Will Dorion.
The case has been turned over to the city attorney’s office for review, and police said they expect a decision Monday or Tuesday on whether misdemeanor charges will be filed.
Reached at his home Saturday, Jones denied claims that he exposed himself.
“I don’t feel I’ve broken any laws,” he said. “I was told that day there were no charges. It seems to me if they wanted to charge me they should have done it then.”
Jones, who is married and has five children, said he went to the motel room with a single woman, but never exposed himself.
“As far as being there, I did wrong. But I broke no law as far as I know,” he said, adding that he would now seek professional counseling to save his marriage.
Jones also said he had been drinking but was not intoxicated at the time.
Witnesses told police that Jones exposed himself to a 22-year-old woman, Dorion said. Police did not release the woman’s name but said she reported that Jones was standing nude across the courtyard of the motel and was motioning at her. Police said there were two other witnesses whose names were not released.
Jones, however, disputed the police report.
Might Have Seen ‘Someone Else’
“Perhaps someone saw someone else in a different room,” he said. “I wasn’t in any place to be seen in a state of undress.”
One police officer sprayed Jones with tear gas when “there was some movement that was interpreted as aggressive,” Dorion said.
Jones, a 10-year veteran of the Ventura County board, rejected that account and charged police with overreacting.
He said police were pushing him down on a bed as he tried to stand up and then fired tear gas into his face. He still has trouble seeing out of his left eye, he said.
“They were very belligerent to me,” Jones said. “They ought to be ashamed of themselves. I threatened no one.”
Jones confirmed on Saturday that he was arrested in 1962 on charges of indecent exposure and subsequently decided to plead guilty to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace.
Earlier Charge ‘Was Wrong’
“That charge was wrong,” said Jones, who was a junior high school teacher in Eagle Rock at the time.
Jones said he accepted the lesser charge only to put the incident behind him.
“I never was guilty of indecent exposure at any time,” he said. “My attorney thought I would prove I was innocent.”
Jones was elected board chairman for the second time in January. He previously held that post in 1978. His 2nd District of Ventura County covers Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and part of Camarillo.