A man dressed in Batman-themed clothing who exposed himself to a young boy in a Salinas shopping mall bathroom on Sept. 1 pleaded no contest today in Monterey County Superior Court to felony child abuse charges, according to the district attorney’s office. Kevin Rodney Gray, 34, of Salinas, pleaded no contest to charges of annoying or molesting a child and contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sexual offense, both felonies, while admitting to having a prior felony child abuse conviction, Deputy District Attorney Megan Carter said.
On Sept. 1, an 8-year-old boy at Northridge Mall in Salinas with his mother entered a men’s room while his mother waited outside and he soon noticed that Gray was in one of the stalls, prosecutors said. As the boy washed his hands, and with no one else in the bathroom, Gray asked him how old he was and after the boy told him, Gray said, “come here” and the boy soon noticed the man’s pants were down and genitals exposed, according to Carter.
The boy fled the bathroom to his mother and several minutes later they observed Gray emerging from the men’s room, dressed in a hoodie, t-shirt and sweatband with Batman character logos on them and Batman-themed earplugs or earrings, according to prosecutors. Gray walked away from the scene before police got there, but the mall’s security department took videos of him in the distinctive Batman attire and showed he had been inside the men’s room for nearly 40 minutes, Carter said.
The next day, Gray then turned himself in to the Salinas Police Department, where he arrived wearing the Batman sweatband he was seen with on the security video. He was also carrying a wallet designed after the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster, prosecutors said.
At the time of the incident at the Northridge Mall, Gray was on felony probation and a lifetime registered sex offender from a sexual abuse conviction for grabbing the buttocks of a 10-year-old boy at a Wal-Mart store in Salinas in February 2012, Carter said. He faces a maximum prison term of 15 years and four months during a sentencing hearing before Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler in Salinas on Jan. 7, she said.
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