MASSENA - An Ogdensburg man charged with showing naked selfies of himself to a group of girls waiting in line at Auntie Annes has had his bail exonerated and placed under the supervision of the St. Lawrence County Probation Department.
Massena-based state police charged Robert J. Rothwell, 40, of 820 Elizabeth St., Ogdensburg, with two counts of third-degree obscenity and endangering the welfare of a child Friday evening at the St. Lawrence Centre mall in Massena. Troopers said Rothwell showed a 13-year-old female and her 15-year-old sister naked pictures of himself on his cellphone. He had been arraigned late Friday night by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and released after posting $250 cash bail. Mr. Sharlow told Rothwell during his latest court appearance he was going to return the bail money but place him under probation supervision.
Rothwell, in his statement to police, denied showing the girls photographs that depicted frontal nudity. I showed them pictures of my upper torso. I had no shirt on. I had a towel on, he said in a question and answer format with state troopers included in the court documents.
He denied showing the girls naked photographs of himself and said there were 30 to 40 photographs of himself on his phone, but then said the naked photos were far enough away from the photos he showed the girls so they couldnt have popped up on his phone by mistake.
Rothwell denied knowing the girls ages. He claimed he was simply talking to a couple of motherly looking females about his business when he showed them some photographs on his phone.
Im a male stripper. I need work. Im trying to make money, he told troopers.
The 15-year-old female said she, her sister and two of their friends were in line at the pretzel stand when a weird guy came up and was standing so close to her that she could hear him breathing. She said she saw the man looking at the menu and he started saying. Mmmm, loud enough that one of her friends asked him if he was hungry, the teen told troopers.
She said the man, later identified as Rothwell, responded he wasnt hungry for food. (He said), I cant eat that. I cant put weight on because Im a male stripper.
The 15 year old said her friend turned back around and Rothwell responded, You dont believe me. Ill show you pictures, she said in her statement, noting she and her friends then started ignoring the man.
She said the man then tapped her on the shoulder and told her to look at the photograph on his phone. I looked at the phone and it was this guy naked and at this point he was holding his thumb over his private part, the 15-year-old female said, noting one of her friends turned around and told him they didnt want to see those photographs.
The guy continued to scroll through his pictures and showed me another one of him completely naked and at this point he did not have his thumb over the picture. I did not initiate a conversation with this weirdo and did not ask or wish to see any pictures of him naked, she said.
The teenagers said they discussed the incident with an adult and then shared the information about their encounter with the man when they saw a state trooper inside the mall.