Sex Offender Arrested For Exposure as Waterfront Park Picks Up Where Graham Swamp Left Off
FlaglerLive | June 18, 2014
For a while a year and a half ago, the lush greenery of Graham Swamp’s big O-shaped hiking trail seemed to be the in place for men looking to out themselves: between October 2012 and January 2013, several men were arrested around the swamp for displaying their penis, handling it publicly as Onan might, or propositioning others to play along. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had gotten word of the Big O’s attraction to overly natural thrill-seekers–one of whom targeted a teen–and assigned undercover cops to the trail in hopes of clamping down on unwarranted disclosures, and did. There’s been no official reports of men (or women) exhibiting more than fig leaves allow since.
On Tuesday evening, however, a penis appeared again, purposely and repeatedly unsheathed, this time at Waterfront Park–crown jewel of Palm Coast’s parks and a favorite among joggers, runners, bikers, nature lovers, and children: there’s a playground there, not to mention a memorial park to the memory of deceased children.
Around 6 p.m. Tuesday, a 53-year-old woman, a Palm Coast resident, was ambling along on her bike on the paths at Waterfront Park when, according to a police report, she saw a man standing near her path, to the left, who appeared to be fishing. The woman thought nothing of it and continued riding the bike, only to soon be overtaken by the same man, by then riding his bike. As the man passed her, she could smell a strong odor of alcohol.
She continued biking. The path took her into a more thickly wooded area of the park. And there, she saw the man again. He was standing on the left side of the path. He was facing the trail. And, his arrest report states, he had “his penis grasped in his hand.”
The man was Ashley Levern Mitchell, a 49-year-old registered sex offender–but not a predator, which means he was never involved in a violent sexual crime against anyone–and a resident of 12 Bridgehaven Drive in Palm Coast. Twelve years ago, Mitchell was convicted of lewd or lascivious exposure to a victim between 16 and 18 years old, although that was not the principal reason he spent time in prison: he was convicted at the same time for manufacturing and selling cocaine, which netted him almost 34 months in state prison. He was released in August 2005. He’d previously served three stints in jail or prison on drug charges.
His victim Tuesday evening had no reason to know any of that. All she saw, as she told Flagler County deputies, was a man with his “penis out of his clothing.” She immediately called 911 and continued to ride her bicycle toward the main area of Waterfront Park, which is usually well trafficked at that hour.
Back in that main area, the woman took a seat at a picnic table. Before long, she saw Mitchell enter the public bathroom, then emerge–again “with his penis again exposed,” the arrest report states, “and holding it in his hand, walking back and forth in front of the restroom building.” He then sat down at the picnic table, left a few minutes later, and returned not long after that, by which time deputies were in the park.
Mitchell was arrested and read his rights. He told police that he was merely urinating at the time when the woman biked by him, and that she had “caught him.”
Earlier in the evening, 911 had received a call about a man matching Mitchell’s description, exposing himself to women biking along a trail near European Village. The suspect in that case left the scene before deputies could locate him.
Mitchell was charged with indecent exposure and booked at the Flagler County jail on $1,000 bond, which he posted. He’s been released. He’ll be arraigned before Judge Melissa Moore-Stens on July 29. Mitchell’s only other run-in with the law since last being released from prison was a guilty plea for fishing without a license, back in 2009.