KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Kingsport Police Department officers cited a bell ringer Thursday for indecent exposure at a Kingsport grocery store.
According to a KPD report, officers responded to Food City, 1205 N. Eastman Road, around just before 4 p.m. Thursday, where they made contact with a man who said a child walked over the Salvation Army donation bucket and bell ringer, placed money in the bucket and started to walk away when he noticed the bell ringer lift up his red apron.
The man said the bell ringer’s genitals were fully exposed.
He told police he quickly escorted the child away from the man and called police.
Police spoke with the man, identified as William Martin, 61, of Bristol, who denied any wrongdoing and said he had been working the donation stand since 11 a.m.
Officers told Martin he would be checking store surveillance video and Martin continued to deny his genitals were exposed.
According to the report, surveillance video indicated that the man at one point appeared to be fondling himself, but said when the man and the child walked up to the bell ringer it was hard to tell if he had lifted his apron.
Martin denied he was fondling himself to police, at first, but later admitted to the act.
Police issued Martin a misdemeanor citation for indecent exposure and he was scheduled to appear in court on Friday at 9 a.m.
Martin has since been banned from all Food City locations by employees and was given a warning to not be on the property.
Maj. Alan Hill of the Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport said, “this man and his wife have been longtime trusted bell ringers who we’ve known for years. He told me he never intended to expose himself, but was dealing with problems related to his severe diabetes.”
Hill said after the incident, Martin and his wife were removed from bell ringing duties.
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