Man gets 15 days for masturbating at Zellers

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A Charlottetown man who was caught masturbating in a Zellers washroom cubicle was sentenced to 15 days in jail Tuesday.

A 51-year-old Charlottetown man has been sentenced to 15 days in the provincial correctional centre after being found guilty of indecent exposure at Zellers department store.

Blair Howard Snow will serve his sentence on an intermittent basis on consecutive weekends.

Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr also placed Snow on probation for 18 months, during which time he must write a letter of apology to the management of Zellers.

He has been banned from the store for the duration of his probation.

The charge against Snow dates back to April 4, 2009 and was laid after a store security officer discovered the accused masturbating in a cubicle in the men's room of the busy department store.

Testimony presented at trial indicated the security officer had been alerted to the fact a man had been in the men's room for what seemed like an inordinate length of time.

When he entered the washroom he noted that one of the cubicles was occupied.

He heard noises coming from the cubicle that suggested the man might be masturbating.

Acting on his suspicions the security officer knocked on the door of the cubicle.

He told the court that Snow stood up and opened the door of the cubicle.

Snow had one hand wrapped around his penis, the officer stated.

With the other hand he gestured to the officer, who was dressed in jeans and a hoodie, to join him in the cubicle.

Instead the officer told Snow to get dressed and to accompany him to the security office because he was being charged with indecent exposure.

Testifying in his own defence Snow denied that he was engaged in any such activity.

He told the court he had gone to the washroom to answer the call of nature.

He said he was having a bowel movement when he heard a knock on the cubicle door.

Snow told the court the man identified himself as a private investigator.

Believing the man may have been looking for someone for shoplifting or using drugs Snow said he leaned forward and opened the door a little to show there was nothing going on.

He said the man didn't look like a private investigator so he closed the door.

Snow testified he didn't know what he'd been charged with until he got to the security officer's office.

Orr said she believed the testimony of the security officer but found the version of events advanced by Snow to be illogical.

"It makes no sense," Orr said. "It could not reasonably be true."

She said Snow did not react the way most people would react if someone knocked on the door of their cubicle.

Most people, it was suggested, would at the very least have made themselves presentable before opening the door.

Speaking to sentence Crown Prosecutor Gerald Quinn said a short, sharp sentence was needed to send a message to Snow and anyone else who might contemplate committing an offence like this that it was not acceptable.

"Take this type of business elsewhere," Quinn said of Snow's actions.

Orr said what people do in their own homes is their own business but that this type of conduct has no place in a public washroom.

She noted this took place in a public washroom adjacent to a family restaurant in a busy department store.

''Unsuspecting children or adults could have walked into this washroom and seen this," Orr said.

Organizations: Zellers

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Cecil
    October 03, 2012 - 15:59

    He was in a closed stall. Not showing it to anyone. This is ridiculous. Worse is if this had been a woman, no times served. This is demonization of male sexuality. Is no one really questioning how fraked it is that a security guard was peeping into the stalls of a mens room to start with? He jerked off. GASP! What a crime! In a closed stall! GASP!

  • Blair
    May 25, 2012 - 07:23

    I just think it's funny that this story is what's generating the biggest debate of the year. He might be an idiot for touching himself in the bathroom, but all the concerned parents are what I get a kick out of. "What if my son walked in on him?" Why would you let your kid get into a locked bathroom stall, no matter what was happening behind the door? Get a grip people.

  • Bigandpeachy
    May 21, 2012 - 09:44

    Kudos to the security guard who can sniff out masturabtors, that is quite a talent.

  • joebanana
    May 18, 2012 - 03:19

    So, it's perfectly fine to take a dump in this public place, think of the trauma that causes kids. What kind of sounds does a person make when they're bopping the bishop? And if you hear such sounds, why in the heck would you knock on the door? Why not just yell "HEY,ARE YOU MASTURBATING IN THERE? Now, if the guy was standing in front of the sink doing it, that would be different.

  • Kelsey
    May 18, 2012 - 03:12

    ARE YOU GUYS SERIOUS?! Only in PEI a man would get that much time for masturbating in a public bathroom. At first I thought it was in an isle or something like that and i was shocked but once i read that it was in a stall? COME ON! And there was no need for mentioning their name! Masturbation is completely normal and this article is just ridiculous. I am so sick of this island freaking out over every little thing...

  • Courtney
    May 17, 2012 - 12:18

    I'm still laughing. Mainly at the part where it explains he was in the washroom. I was expecting to hear he was in housewares. Sure, it's a little weird, but come on. This poor man's dignity was completely trampled on. Like other's have so wisely mentioned, there are people caught for DUI who don't spend this much time in jail. I'm more worried about my family being on the road with these people than I am worried about the zeller's washroom. Give your heads a shake.

  • ElectricalEngineer
    May 17, 2012 - 11:14

    "Take this type of business elsewhere," Quinn said of Snow's actions.-- Wher does Mr. Quinn suggest he takes this type of business? Wal-Mart? Tim Horton's? or how about the legislature?

    • Calm Your Hormones
      May 17, 2012 - 17:52

      Seriously.... she obviously meant to his home, not in a public location.

  • Calm your hormones
    May 16, 2012 - 20:19

    I don't understand how anyone can defend what this guy did. Is it really necessary to do this in public and could he not wait until he got home? Yes he was in the washroom but a PUBLIC washroom, not in fact private as most of you have been saying. All that was potentially separating you from him was a inch thick door, not very private if you ask me. Imagine you are a young boy and you walk into the washroom to hear this, just a little bit scarring if you ask me. Furthermore the security guard had every right to knock on the stall door as he is in charge of the security for the entire store, and last time I checked the washroom fell within that jurisdiction. To Thomas Jacobs, how is the guards story fishy because he was plain clothed? Have you never heard of a floorwalker, you know, a security guard who wears regular clothes to blend in to better catch shop lifters, because lets get real, only an idiot steals or partakes in illegal activity in front of a uniformed security guard or cop. It really sickens me how many people are defending this guy and saying that he deserves some dignity. He had the nerve to masturbate in a PUBLIC washroom, he deserves to be embarrassed, maybe next time he will think twice or at least wait until he gets home into an actual private location. Kudos to the security guard for putting an end to this.

    • security
      May 17, 2012 - 07:00

      thanks for your support

    • Tom Jacobs
      May 17, 2012 - 10:15

      This man got sentenced to more time in jail than most impaired drivers get. Does that seem right to you? Heaven forbid he was masturbating in his car that would probably be a Life Sentence! Masturbation is a perfectly healthy and normal act, there is not need to make it shameful like so many people in this thread are trying to do.

    • Calm Your Hormones
      May 17, 2012 - 17:59

      Listen Tom, I agree that impaired driving should be cracked down on, however that is an entirely different issue. Yes Masturbation is a perfectly healthy and normal act, however there is a time and a place for it and in the washroom at zellers is definitely not the place. How would you like it if people came into your place of work and just went to the washroom to masturbate? I feel like you would be a tad bit disgusted. And no, if caught masturbating in a car it would be indecent exposure, and likely get the same or similar time to as this. What is shameful about this act is that it was in public, seriously how would you like your child to walk into the washroom to this and hear the noises he was making? Next time when you are going to try to debate something make some relevant points. And to security, not a problem keep up the great work, you do not get the credit you deserve for all the hard work you guys actually do and what you have to put up with.

    • Tom Jacobs
      May 17, 2012 - 23:45

      Last time I checked a bathroom was a private place. This story has nothing to do with children, so try to stay relevant. He was not in a public place, and no child walked in on anything. Next you'll be demanding that they install security cameras in bathrooms! That might be acceptable in your world, but not in mine!

  • concerned parent
    May 16, 2012 - 13:34

    First of all omg to those who defend this man, obviousley your not parents and how would you think if this happened a child. Your shopping one day and your son goes to the mens room and says that a man is in the mens room making funny sounds and you go in to see and get completely sicked out about it.Aso there was a part missing in this story how the accused made hand jesters as an invatation under the stall and that was the only reason the security officer knocked in the first place. While i can understand that certain people Masterbate its just safe for everyone that you do it at home or in your own bathroom. I personally would like to thank the sucurity officer for making the public aware of this type of incident and make it known that there are people in our community that are into Voyeurisim.

  • RESPECT
    May 16, 2012 - 12:47

    TO TOWNIE: Your comment is debatable, give the individual the benefit of the real doubt. I don't like the way the article about him is written, not fair at all, regardless the excuses people come up with and publish so blatantly. Why kick a person down hard in their weakness and cry for help. Gentle what?

    • Townie
      May 16, 2012 - 14:42

      If my son had walked into this bathroom with this going on I would more than kick him while he was down. There is no way that this type of action is appropriate at any level in a public area even if there was no alleged "offer to join". There is a big difference between bowl movement sounds and masturbation sounds. This was not a cry for help it was a lewd act in public space.

  • How embarrassing
    May 16, 2012 - 10:44

    Well, it's no surprise he got off easy. Aww, come on, don't print this! Just have a giggle.

    • I C what u did thar
      May 17, 2012 - 08:54

      I see what you did there LOL!

  • butthead
    May 16, 2012 - 08:48

    At least he was in the washroom, what is up with that, this is rediculous!!! Its not like he was doing it in public, he was in the stall, and as for being close to the :family" restaurant, so what its not like he was in the kitchen!!!!! Drunk drivers don't even get that much time!!!!!! this is pathetic for Guardian!!!!!

  • Uncle Wally
    May 16, 2012 - 07:50

    Boy, if only the Guardian would apply this much journalistic rigor into uncovering the facts behind Mr. Ghiz's Plan B highway project. Pulitzer Prize Board will "mall" over this one for a long time . . .

  • Jarrod
    May 15, 2012 - 20:02

    Sorry, Judge Orr, but that could in fact reasonably be true. At least the way this is written. I don't defend child predators, but that's not what this was. Single middle aged men are unfairly feared in today's society. Just look at the comments on this board. And how could you expect a person like this to ever recover from the humiliation this article dishes out? This blows my mind. My mind is blown.

  • Bruce
    May 15, 2012 - 19:28

    This whole thing just doesn't seem to"play." We got a guy who may or may not be getting his jollies in what he presumed was - private, not public.We got a security a guard who's a supposed expert in masturbation "sounds".I think he overstepped his bounderies by knocking on the door because of a "noise" and when "maybe" confronted with an offer to come in,became angry and made up the rest to save face.Either way,I think the headline was out of line, was based only on the guard's word and could have been worded with a little discretion.

  • Thomas Jacobs
    May 15, 2012 - 18:50

    Why is it important that we know what the security guard was wearing? Was this security guard off duty? Something is fishy with the guards story. These sounds he supposedly heard could have been 'normal' sounds.

  • Martin A. Good
    May 15, 2012 - 18:36

    What is there to say.I guess this is a major bust for MALL COP.

  • RESPECT
    May 15, 2012 - 17:40

    How about writing something like: "person arrested for improper behaviour in cubicle of public washroom", and save a little of this (named) person's dignity.

    • Townie
      May 16, 2012 - 08:06

      He appartly wasn't to worried about his own dignity when he preformed this act in public.

  • You
    May 15, 2012 - 17:31

    Mens sexuality continues to be criminalized and woman can go topless as they see fit.

    • CrazyTalk
      May 15, 2012 - 20:33

      Really? Where? Where do women go topless? And not that I care what he was doing in the privacy of a cubical - but please why not just go home? This is not about male sexuality its about not being able to act in a socially acceptable manner.

  • countrygirl
    May 15, 2012 - 17:28

    This is so disgusting..I hate going in the mall as most of the time all I see is grown men sitting on the benches stareing at young girls walking through the mall.Parents of young boys I be thinking twice about letting my son go in these washrooms by themselfs.Hey buddie get a life or a job to keep your mine occupied!!!!

  • kmart
    May 15, 2012 - 17:15

    The question is why did he open the door so willingly when he heard the knock? Who was he expecting? Does anyone else remember the rumors from years ago about the Kmart washrooms, down by the courtesy desk? Apparently more men were out in and out of there, and not alone!

  • islander
    May 15, 2012 - 16:54

    how was this illogical and could not reasonably be true the guy was in a cubicle in the bathroom who cares what he was doing as long as it wasn't in public yes i know it was in a store washroom but he could have just been using the bathroom as he said but he certainly did more than i would do as if it had been me i would not have even opened the door

  • unbeilievable
    May 15, 2012 - 16:50

    OMG how sad is this ?? Do people not realize that Mother's have to send their son's in the bathroom alone..This is absolutley sickening !!!

  • Thomas Jacobs
    May 15, 2012 - 16:41

    I read this headline and thought, "Oh, My! That is crazy!" Then I read the article and found out he was in the bathroom! The only issue I see her is one of a nosy security guard. I could see if Mr. Snow was in the ladies undergarments section of Zellers, but he was in the bathroom! What ever happened to privacy?

  • waldorf
    May 15, 2012 - 16:30

    i hope he washed his hands when they cuffed him