Penn State Police filed charges yesterday against Penn State basketball player Stanley Pringle in connection with an incident involving public masturbation that occurred last Thursday in Pattee Library.
Pringle's criminal complaint is currently unavailable because Centre County District Judge Jonathan Grine, who is out of the office until Monday, was unable to sign the criminal complaint as of 5 p.m. yesterday. Without the signed complaint, Pringle cannot be formally arrested.
The Nittany Lion guard is being charged with open lewdness and disorderly conduct.
In the original incident report, police said the offender sat behind a woman in the stacks section of the library, attempted to start a conversation with her and then began masturbating. The investigation, including interviews with the victim, yielded a description detailing a college-aged black man with a medium build, about 6-feet-2-inches tall, and wearing a gray sweatshirt.
Police would not comment on whether there are surveillance cameras in the stacks of Pattee Library.
Ed DeChellis, the Penn State men's basketball coach, said he is aware of the charges.
"[Pringle] has cooperated fully with authorities, and it wouldn't be fair to make any further statements or judgements until all the facts have been ascertained and the judicial process has had a chance to work," DeChellis wrote in a statement issued yesterday.
Pringle, a junior guard, played in all 31 of Penn State's games this season and started 12. He averaged 6.9 points per game and led the team in 3-point percentage, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Sports Information Director Brian Siegrist said Pringle's status with the team has not changed and that he is still participating in regular team workouts.
Siegrist added Pringle is not part of any incidents of "serial masturbation."
Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira said charges of open lewdness are "not ones we deal with often." He added that, if convicted of open lewdness, which is a third-degree misdemeanor offense, Pringle could face probation or up to a year in prison.
Bobby Bowman, Pringle's former basketball coach at Pasco-Hernando Community College, said he had "absolutely no problem ever" with Pringle's off-the-court behavior and declined further comment.
Penn State Police Supervisor Frank Ball said the police have not yet charged anyone in another incident of public masturbation that occurred on the second-floor landing of McElwain Hall's main stairwell between 8 and 8:15 p.m. on March 21.
In the McElwain Hall incident, police said a man entered the building behind the victim and followed her to the stairwell landing where he began to masturbate.
Penn State Police Officer Ellen Aschenbrenner said the suspect description for the McElwain Hall incident was "very similar" to the incident in Pattee Library for which Pringle is being charged.
Aschenbrenner said public masturbation is usually a "repetitive crime."
Mary Anne Knapp, clinical social worker at Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services, said substance abuse, mental problems or thrill-seeking can prompt public masturbation.
"They particularly get turned on by the illicit nature of the event," Knapp wrote in an e-mail. "They may have trouble forming an intimate relationship and are acting to get attention or shock others. They are involving another person in their masturbatory fantasy."
Collegian Staff Writer Steve Maslowsky contributed to this report.