Police filed five felony charges against Darren Agee Merager for indecent exposure, after he allegedly entered the women’s section of a spa and disrobed – all while claiming to be a woman.

Wi Spa, a high-end Korean-style facility in downtown Los Angeles, became the center of controversy and violence after Cubana Angel posted her angry response to the incident on Instagram (caution: language). The video quickly spread on social media and in the news, as The Daily Citizen reported.

The video led to protests and counterprotests, with four women and a minor girl filing police reports about the incident.

The 52-year-old Merager has a history of predatory sexual behavior. He is “a tier-one registered sex offender with two prior convictions of indecent exposure stemming from incidents in 2002 and 2003 in California,” according to the New York Post. In 2008, Merager “was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender.”

Merager told the Post, “Everything about the Wi Spa was a bunch of garbage and lies.” The Post wrote that Merager is “legally female in California” and that the suspected perpetrator believes he “is actually the victim of sexual harassment by transphobic women at the Wi Spa.”

Merager “has a long criminal history in California that includes nearly a dozen felony convictions for crimes ranging from sex offenses to burglary and escape” and is “facing six felony counts of indecent exposure over a separate locker room incident in December 2018,” the Post said.

After the video by Angel went viral, she was accused of making up the incident. The leftist online magazine Slate reported, “Soon after the video began to go viral in transphobic corners of the internet, members of the trans community began to raise questions about it.”

The Daily Beast, another leftist outlet, reported that the claim that young girls were in the spa was “most likely fake.” For some in the media, opposing men in women’s private, sex-segregated spaces makes you “transphobic” or a liar.

The video led to two weekends of violent protests of Wi Spa, with transgender activists and their allies, including So Cal Antifa and the Youth Liberation Front, supporting allowing men who identify as women into women’s private spaces.

A Black Lives Matter transgender/non-binary punk band performed outside the spa as well, staging a “Queerpocalypse Takeover Performance for Trans Rights,” the Post Millennial reported (caution: language).

The other side protested to protect women and girls. While this group included some Christians, news outlets said that the Proud Boys and followers of QAnon were also involved.

The protests included attacks on police officers, with more than 40 people arrested.

We know that most transgender-identified individuals don’t engage in indecent exposure, some people do use “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) public accommodations laws to exploit and harm women and girls.

What allowed Merager to enter the women’s section of the spa was a California law, AB 1400, the Civil Rights Act of 2005, which forbids discrimination against men who think they are women in public accommodations. The measure was signed into law by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Focus on the Family has long been an advocate for women’s and girls’ safety and privacy in sex-segregated places. We encourage Christians to oppose SOGI non-discrimination laws. Christians must courageously speak the truth – kindly, courageously and wisely – as we work to protect privacy and safety for all.

We should not acquiesce to transgender ideology and a “woke” culture which says that a man can be a woman – even with male genitalia – just because that’s who he says he is. Likewise with women who claim to be male. Puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries – or just saying you’re the opposite sex, don’t negate biological reality.

At the same time, we also encourage believers to have compassion and pray for individuals struggling with sin and sexual brokenness. Jesus died for all of us – even those like Merager. It’s difficult to balance, but we must oppose evil laws and evil in the public square, while also proclaiming salvation to sinners.

God has grace and mercy enough to bring sexual predators to salvation.

Related articles and resources:

Do ‘Gender Identity’ Laws Affect Me and My Family?

Focus on the Family’s Get Help: Transgender Resources

House to Consider ‘Equality Act’ – A Threat to Life and Freedom

Responding to “SOGI” Laws—Tone and Truth

Protests and Counter-Protests Follow Controversy of Naked Man in a Women’s Spa

Public Restrooms – Your Privacy and Safety

SOGI Laws: Trampling Privacy, Safety And Religious Freedom

When Sexuality Trumps Religious Freedom — The Problem With “SOGI” Laws

Photo from Twitter.