Court case

A Battle Ground man facing charges related to him allegedly exposing himself in multiple incidents both in Battle Ground and Vancouver pleaded not guilty in his latest court appearance, with a trial set for December.

Ethan Richter, 21, appeared in Clark County Superior Court Oct. 16 to make his plea. He faces charges of indecent exposure and communication with a minor for immoral purposes, both felonies.

According to a probable cause affidavit for Richter’s arrest, on Sept. 24 a Battle Ground police officer responded to the 1300 block of Northwest 12th Avenue on a report of a man masturbating at the location the prior day. The officer learned a minor was washing windows at a church when the man approached the minor “and was clearly masturbating.” After communicating with the minor, the minor went into the church, and then the man, later identified as Richter, walked away.

Richter was identified through surveillance video from the church by multiple BGPD officers, the affidavit stated. 

The incident wasn’t the first that Richter had been linked to in Clark county. The affidavit stated that BGPD was contacted by Vancouver police, learning that there were at least two similar incidents at the Vancouver Mall, backed up by surveillance and personal phone pictures of the subject, the affidavit stated. Previous sexual assault convictions for Richter and similar appearance descriptions led to the connection of the crimes.

On Oct. 4 Richter was arrested on an unrelated warrant, with Richter declining an interview, the affidavit stated. A search warrant was served on his and his father’s address based on existing evidence. The searches turned up clothing that matched visual evidence from the Battle Ground and Vancouver Mall incidents.

Richter’s alleged incidents date back to April, according to the affidavit, all while wearing clothing identified as looking like Richter’s. 

On April 14 a BGPD officer responded in the 1500 block of Northwest 16th Avenue for a male subject masturbating in the parking lot. Four months later on Aug. 14 at Vancouver Mall, Macy’s loss prevention identified a male subject exposing themselves.

Three days later at Macy’s again a female reported a male trying to burn a security device off of merchandise. When noticed, the male exposed himself.

A month later on Sept. 21 a BGPD officer was dispatched and observed a male masturbating at Word of Grace Bible Church.

On Oct. 1 Vancouver police responded to Macy’s for an attempted theft and malicious mischief, with photos showing the suspect wearing similar items as in the previous incidents.

Three days later Richter was arrested by BGPD after a foot pursuit when Richter ran from his grandfather’s residence.

Richter’s trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 7, according to court documents.


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