Judge accepts peppermint oil mishap as valid defense of taking out penis during airplane flight
A federal court judge accepted the excuse last week of a man who was accused of exposing his genitals on an airplane and cleared him of wrongdoing.
Stuart Ronald Clarke told investigators he’d applied peppermint oil to his head in an airport bathroom Nov. 17, 2012, to treat a headache.
The 49-year-old Clarke, who said he doesn’t believe in taking medicine, said some of the peppermint oil got onto his genitals and began to itch and burn once he settled into his airplane seat on the flight from Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City.
Clarke, who was seated in the middle of a row, said he unbuttoned his pants, took his penis out of his underwear and covered the area with his coat to help soothe the irritation.
A woman seated next to Clarke said she saw him “continually moving his arm under the coat” and “holding his exposed penis in his right hand” after she leaned forward to put away her glasses.
The woman confronted Clarke, who said he apologized, and reported the incident to police after the flight.
The FBI charged Clarke in April with indecent exposure, a class C misdemeanor.
Another woman seated next to Clarke testified that she saw nothing.
The federal judge said Thursday that investigators failed to prove Clarke intended to break the law, noting that Clarke did not have an erection and showed no consciousness of guilt.
The judge also said Clarke had covered himself with a jacket and the nighttime flight was dark.
[Image: Close-up of male hands fastening security belt via Shutterstock]