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Trans-identified man who exposed his penis to girls at Wi Spa is registered sex offender

Wi Spa
The Wi Spa in Los Angeles, California, faced criticism for allowing a trans-identified male to enter the women's only section. |

A trans-identified man who exposed his genitals to women and girls at Wi Spa in Los Angeles has been charged with five counts of indecent exposure for that incident after being allowed to enter the women's-only area despite being a registered sex offender.

More than two months after a video of a woman confronting employees at Wi Spa for allowing the naked man to walk into the women's only section went viral, The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Darren Merager of Riverside County was “charged Monday with five counts of indecent exposure” and an arrest warrant has been issued in his name.

The publication noted that “Merager has been a registered sex offender since 2006, as a result of convictions for indecent exposure in 2002 and 2003, according to the LAPD.”

The Instagram video of the woman's complaint has amassed over 188,300 views since June 24. “It’s OK for a man to go into the women’s section, show his penis around the other women, young little girls underage, your spa, Wi Spa, condoned that. Is that what you’re saying?” she asked, demanding a response.

When the employee mentioned the man’s “sexual orientation,” the woman asked, “What sexual orientation? I see a d***. It lets me know he’s a man.” She repeatedly told the employee that “he’s not a female.” 

In December 2018, Merager was arrested for indecent exposure after he “exposed himself to women and children in the women’s locker room of West Hollywood Park.” The New York Post obtained a copy of an internal flyer sent to law enforcement agencies in southern California suggesting that Merager identifies as a woman for predatory purposes.

“Merager claims to identify as female so he can access women’s locker rooms and showers,” the flyer read. Merager has pleaded not guilty to all six counts of indecent exposure filed in response to the West Hollywood incident and is due back in court on Sept. 8. 

In an interview with The New York Post, Merager denied all allegations of wrongdoing, asserting that “Everything about the Wi Spa was a bunch of garbage and lies.” According to Merager, “She never saw me naked. I was underwater with water all the way up to my chest.”

Additionally, Merager characterized the incident at Wi Spa as part of a “pattern of abuse” against trans-identified people who use sex-segregated spaces that correspond with their gender identity instead of their biological sex. He further argued that “people simply claim indecent exposure and you’re arrested.”

The registered sex offender also called for “an indecent exposure exemption” for trans-identified people who use spaces where they plan to be completely nude.

Merager indicated to the Post that he had been in contact with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office after becoming aware of the warrant and planned to surrender to authorities. In addition to facing multiple charges for indecent exposure over the years, Merager was arrested for the 2012 theft of $3.2 million worth of art, jewelry, wine and a car from the home of billionaire investor Jeffrey Gundlach. In early 2014, he was sentenced to four years in prison for committing the crime.

After the exchange between a woman expressing outrage at Merager’s presence in the women’s section of Wi Spa and one of the business’ employees went viral, another woman came forward to discuss a similar experience she had there more than a year earlier. She alleged that a “person with a penis and a beard got into the hot tub naked with my 6 year old daughter on Jan. 7th 2020.” 

The woman was one of several people who attended a protest outside the Wi Spa that turned violent when the far-left militant group Antifa showed up to harass and assault people. She left the protest after the violence broke out and elaborated on the encounter in a YouTube video.

“The person with the penis sat down on the edge of the hot tub … with his genitals fully on display,” she recalled. “Me and the other women in the hot tub kind of looked each other in the eye and we just kind of made this face like ‘what the heck?’”

The woman explained that she was trying to block her daughter “from seeing the penis on the person with the five-o-clock shadow who was not trying to look like a woman at all.” She maintained that other women who requested that the man cover up said that he refused. Upon learning of what happened, Wi Spa staff apologized to the woman and gave her two free passes to the spa. 

California is one of 17 states that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations. The incidents at Wi Spa and the subsequent reporting about Merager’s status as a sex offender come as congressional Democrats are working to pass the Equality Act, which would implement such protections for trans-identified individuals at the national level. 

The Equality Act states that “an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.” The legislation has passed the U.S. House of Representatives in both 2019 and 2021 but has stalled both times due to opposition in the Senate.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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