Lake Oswego parents concerned about man photographing children
Numerous adults in Lake Oswego have complained of a man taking photos of their children in public, and local authorities say there's nothing they can do about it.
"It's one of those things where, 'Is it concerning? Does it make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up?' Sure," said Lake Oswego Police Sgt. Tom Hamann. "But is it something that we can do something about at this point? No."
The elderly man in question, who is not named in this story due to the fact that he is not the suspect of crimes, has been reported photographing children at Foothills Park or outside of businesses in downtown Lake Oswego.
In Oregon, there is no law against taking photos of people in public.
"All these people are in a public place, as is he, and he's taking photographs, and so nobody is unclothed. There are no photos of genitalia or anything like that," Hamann said. "It's all people that are wearing clothing appropriate for being outside, and he's not taking the pictures of them where they're in a place where they have an expectation of privacy in a bathroom."
One Lake Oswego resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said their daughter had multiple encounters with this man. He was seen photographing her and her friends at Foothills Park, and again while she was riding her bike with her mom, who was jogging. The girl's father said the man was driving down the street, pulled into a driveway in front of them, turned around and drove slowly past them. He smiled and waved to the daughter before driving off.
Another resident who wished not to be identified said their daughter and her friend were walking downtown and were being followed by the man. The mother of one of the girls drove to pick them up and saw the man, who denied taking their photos.
The resident took a photo of the man and came to find out many other neighbors had similar run-ins. The resident also said the man was seen at one of the high schools taking photos of students running on the track.
Residents who have expressed concerns typically have young girls who are in middle or high school.
Hamann said the police are fully aware of this person, and people have called to make complaints for more than a year now.
While Hamann said he couldn't speak about whether the man had been arrested, he said he was aware that Portland Public Schools reported him trespassing on their property at one point.
While the man's actions are legal, Hamann said whether it's considered harassment gets complicated. If the person were to go to another person's home, workplace or property and refuse to leave, authorities may consider the person's actions to be stalking or something similar. However, Hamann said there are specific elements of those types of charges.
"I fully understand why everyone is concerned about it," Hamann said. "At the end of the day, we have to be careful. We can't violate his rights either. We can be aware of it."
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