The Norman Transcript

July 12, 2013

Man’s indecent exposure charge turns to lewd proposal charge

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — What started out as a report of indecent exposure in Noble on Wednesday led to a report of the same man who allegedly made a lewd proposal to a 12-year-old girl.

John Wesley Merkel, 60, was charged with indecent exposure and lewd or indecent proposals to a child under the age of 16 in Cleveland County District Court on Thursday.

Noble police were responding to an indecent exposure call and taking information for a report when a juvenile approached police and reported that Merkel had forced a girl to touch him inappropriately, according to the affidavit filed with the charges.

The indecent exposure incident apparently occurred when Merkel was having an altercation with his neighbors. The affidavit said he exposed himself to a group of both children and adults.

When the officer located the 12-year-old girl allegedly involved in the other incident, she told the officer what happened.

The affidavit said she and two other juvenile girls were at Merkel’s residence looking for an adult friend when Merkel let the girls in and allowed them to spray paint their names on his front door and ceiling.

While they all sat on his bed, he grabbed her hand and placed it on his genitals on the outside of the clothing, the affidavit states.

“After (Merkel) grabbed her, he leaned over and whispered in her ear telling her to come back later that night,” the document states. “After he whispered in her ear, he then leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.”

When the officer interviewed the other juvenile females who allegedly witnessed the incident, they confirmed the allegation, according to the affidavit.

Merkel was highly intoxicated when he was contacted by police. At that point, Merkel was placed under arrest for the two charges and transported to the Cleveland County Justice Center.