The president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Lubbock was recently arrested and accused of exposing his genitals in Mackenzie Park. The accusations are likely to result in severe damage to his reputation. The police report lists a 43-year-old male as the victim. Texas law defines a victim of indecent exposure as a person who is present and offended by another individual publically exposing their genitals. The case is still under investigation.

While it is not evident whether the defendant will be convicted of the allegations, the man’s personal life and professional life are likely marred. He has not yet had the chance to defend himself at trial, but he absolutely maintains the right to do so. In fact, aggressive prosecution, which frequently accompanies sex crime allegations in Texas, often results in a criminal trial. A conviction could mean potential jail time and entry into the sex offender registry.

Yet, aside for a possible conviction, sex crime allegations, even false accusations or dismissals, have the capacity to be life-ruining. Sex crimes, even mere allegations, often tend to attract substantial media attention which imparts upon the accused instant judgment by the community. It’s important to remember that every person is innocent until proven guilty and that any pre-judgment is damaging to citizens, regardless of the charges.

The man apologized for creating a situation in his personal life that potentially created a distraction from his work. He also apologized to Lubbock community for the incident. If the man is found guilty, he could face severe consequences. Regardless, the man stepped down from his position with Planned Parenthood, and will now be engaging in an uphill battle to regain the positive reputation he once had in the Lubbock community.

Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, “Thornton apologizes to community, steps down as CEO of Planned Parenthood in Lubbock,” Irie Price, Mar. 15, 2012