By Greg Lacour
CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 24 (Reuters) - A North Carolina man who repeatedly stands naked at his front door, drawing national attention and the ire of his neighbors, has prompted local authorities to consider asking lawmakers to strengthen the state's indecent exposure law.
Residents on the quiet street of modest two-story homes in Charlotte where the man lives say that for at least a decade he has periodically appeared nude inside and outside his glass front door, in his open garage while lifting weights and at the back of his house - in full view of his neighbors and their children.
"The kids know him as 'the Wee-Wee Man,'" said Xavier Hodges, president of the community's homeowners' association who lives three doors down from the man. "He doesn't care who sees him. When you talk to him, the first thing he says is, 'This is my property.' For real?"
Neighbors have called the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police multiple times over the years. But police have not charged Gerard Leeper with a crime because North Carolina law is fuzzy on whether someone can be accused of indecent exposure on private property.
About two weeks ago, a fed-up neighbor took a photo of Leeper standing au naturel inside his front door while talking on a cell phone.
After a local television station produced a report, police said they might be able to charge Leeper if he is photographed again and they can establish that he intends for people to see him nude.
Police said they may approach North Carolina lawmakers about passing a stronger indecent exposure law.
Leeper did not answer a reporter's knock at his home on Tuesday. But he did attend an emergency neighborhood meeting about him at a local Baptist church Monday night and complained in a TV interview that his privacy has been breached.
"I'm saying that you cannot legally take a photo of someone in their house. I keep crying that," Leeper said. "They think that I am intentionally trying to agitate them. That's the way they feel, and I can't change the way people feel."
Hodges said neighbors have asked Leeper to seek professional help. Two days before the meeting, she said, Leeper passed out fliers with Bible verses extolling nakedness as a way to cleanse oneself of sin.
"Well, then, walk around your house and have church," Hodges said. "I know you weren't out there with your cell phone talking to Jesus." (Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Richard Chang)