Alleged Wi Spa De-Rober Charged, Is Registered Sex Offender (Damian Dovarganes/AP)
By Eric Mack | Thursday, 02 September 2021 02:00 PM
The transgender woman who allegedly exposed her partially erect penis in a women-only area at the Wi Spa in California this June was not only charged this week with indecent exposure, but is reportedly a registered sex offender.
The incident drew national attention when multiple women protested young girls witnessing the exposure of Merager's penis at the Wi Spa. There were also at-times-violent encounters outside the spa during a public protest pitting trans-rights activists against counter-protesters.
Darren Agee Merager, 52, faces five felony counts of indecent exposure in connection with the Wi Spa incident June 23, the New York Post reported Thursday.
"Everything about the Wi Spa was a bunch of garbage and lies," Merager, who claims to legally be a female in the state of California, told the Post in an exclusive interview.
"She never saw me naked. I was underwater with water all the way up to my chest."
Merager claims to be a victim of transphobic harassment, despite the charges, and sources tell the Post that Merager is a tier-one registered sex offender with two prior convictions of indecent exposure in 2002 and 2003. Merager was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender and is also facing six felony counts of indecent exposure over a separate locker room incident in December 2018, exposing herself to women and children in a pool changing area in West Hollywood Park, according to the report.
"Merager claims to identify as female so he can access women's locker rooms and showers," an internal Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department flyer read in late 2018, the Post reported.
Merager has a Sept. 8 court date for the past charges and told the Post the cases show a "pattern of abuse" of transgender people.
"You allow [trans women] to go in there [women's spaces] and then people simply claim indecent exposure and you're arrested," Merager told the Post, adding she intends to speak with progressive California lawmakers like state Sen. Scott Wiener to work on transgender rights legislation.
"If you go into an area where you're expected to be nude, there has to be an indecent exposure exemption," Merager continued to the Post.
The Wi Spa case and resulting protests erupted over a social media video of a woman under the Instagram handle of "Cubana Angel" demanding the Wi Spa employees take action against the exposure allegation.
"It's O.K. for a man to go into the women's section, show his penis around the other women, young little girls — underage — in your spa?" she asks the staff in the viral 3 1/2-minute video. "He's a man! He is a man!"
"Cubana Angel" and attorney Marc Little declined to comment to the Post.