Oak Harbor man found guilty again of indecent exposure

After his conviction was reversed on appeal, an Oak Harbor man was re-tried in Island County Superior Court last week for indecent exposure.

The jury found him guilty, but his sentence will be much shorter this time.

Two years ago, a jury found Jeffrey D. Conaway, 42, guilty of felony indecent exposure with sexual motivation. The charge was a felony because he had previously been convicted of the crime.

Judge Alan Hancock originally sentenced him to the maximum sentence of 21 months in prison.

Conaway appealed his conviction. The Appeal Court ruled that the superior court erred in allowing the prosecution to present testimony about Conaway’s first conviction to prove that the new charge was a sexually motivated crime. The Appeals Court reversed the conviction and sent it back to superior court.

Deputy Prosecutor Michael Safstrom refiled the charge, but without the special allegation of sexual motivation. That means it’s not considered a sex crime, and the maximum sentence is nine months in jail.

Conaway already served more than nine months in prison, so he has been released and doesn’t face additional time. He will likely be sentenced in July.

Safstrom said he chose to retry Conaway — even without the possibility of addition jail time — in order to establish an accurate record of his crime and because certain conditions can be added to Conaway’s sentence, such as a no-contact order.

In the current case, Conaway approached a teenage girl at her family’s yard sale and placed his penis on a table in front of her while he talked to her, asking if he could go inside her home to try on clothes.

Conaway left after the girl’s aunt arrived; the woman said she noticed the man staring at her niece and felt uncomfortable.

At trial, Conaway was represented by noted Seattle attorney John Henry Browne, who is known for representing “Barefoot Bandit” Colton Harris-Moore and Ted Bundy.

In a case 12 years ago, Conaway was convicted of exposing himself to girls at the Oak Harbor swimming pool.

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