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Alleged Chelmsford Flasher Held for Evaluation

February 5, 2019
Jonathan Wentzell, charged with gross and lascivious behavior, waits to be arraigned in Lowell District Court on Monday.

LOWELL -- Months before Jonathan Wentzell was charged for allegedly exposing himself in a Chelmsford Walmart, he was accused of similar behavior during two separate incidents on Aug. 28 of last year.

Judge David Frank ordered Wentzell, a 29-year-old Chelmsford man, held without bail pending a competency evaluation at his arraignment in Lowell District Court on Monday.

Police sought the public’s help in identifying Wentzell after a woman told officers a man exposed himself when she walked by him in the office supply aisle of Walmart on Parkhurst Road on Friday about 8:30 p.m., according to a police report.

The Chelmsford Police Department posted a photo of the suspect pulled from security tapes on social media on Saturday.

According to the report, two anonymous callers identified the man as Wentzell on Saturday: a former Lexington High School classmate who remembered him as “an avid ‘flasher’” and a woman who said she was one of his earlier victims.

Wentzell has faced the same charge, open and gross lewdness, in three other cases, according to police. The Chelmsford Police Department held Wentzell without bail, citing his behavior as a “threat to public safety” in the police report.

Of the three cases, two are out of Lowell District Court. In one, Wentzell was accused of exposing himself at the corner of Varnum and Lexington avenues near a school bus stop in Lowell, according to the police report and court records. In the other, Wentzell is accused of exposing himself while driving on Kent Street in Dracut.

Both cases are still open and stem from incidents on Aug. 28, according to court records.

The third case was handled in Concord District Court and dates from a 2014 charge out of Lexington, according to the police report.

Police found Wentzell at 6 p.m. on Saturday at a Starbucks on 101 Drum Hill Road. When asked by officers if he wanted to speak to them, Wentzell said “I do not understand what you are saying” and was not questioned, according to the police report.

On Monday in Lowell District Court, Wentzell’s arraignment was delayed a few hours after his mother requested the use of Section 12 for her son, a statute used to commit someone facing serious mental illness for 72 hours to be evaluated.

A doctor who testified at Wentzell’s arraignment said the man appeared “distressed,” “distraught” and “confused.” He said Wentzell has and a history of mental illness, including hospitalizations, since 2010 stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder. Wentzell also displayed psychosis, the doctor said.

Judge Frank ordered Wentzell to be held at Worcester Recovery Center for further evaluation, under a different, but similar statute, until a status hearing on Feb. 22.

Parts of his court records were also impounded until the hearing. All three open cases in Lowell District Court against Wentzell will be addressed at the Feb. 22 hearing.

Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter @ElizDobbins.

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