A 58-year-old man who Portland police say was caught masturbating in front of female passengers on public transportation six times in less than a year was sentenced Tuesday to three years of mental health court supervision.
According to the accounts of half a dozen women, Hanford Vernell King sat near them as he fondled himself during encounters in June, November and March on MAX trains, a TriMet bus and the Portland Streetcar.
In one case in November, he also spat on a woman on a bus that she boarded at 8:30 a.m. near Southeast 17th Avenue and Spokane Street to go to work, according to a probable cause affidavit.
He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor public indecency for that crime in Multnomah County Circuit Court on March 16 but wasn’t held in jail pending sentencing.
A week later, another woman reported seeing King masturbating as he smoked methamphetamine on a MAX train headed toward the Rose Quarter Transit Center.
King told authorities that he has schizophrenia, is homeless, lives off Social Security disability payments and uses meth daily. After a Portland police officer asked King if he’d exposed himself while on public transit, King replied: “Yeah, I’m gonna do what I wanna do. … I don’t give a (expletive),” according to the probable cause affidavit.
King was sentenced for two counts of misdemeanor public indecency and one count of felony public indecency. He pleaded guilty to all three charges.
As part of his sentence, he must check in regularly with a judge who oversees mental health court. A mental health professional will assess King and he must undergo any recommended treatment. He isn’t allowed to travel on TriMet without special permission.
King had spent about a month in jail since his last arrest.
— Aimee Green; firstname.lastname@example.org; @o_aimee