A transgender woman who was at the center of a viral video that sparked violent protests outside a Korean spa in Los Angeles earlier this year has been charged with indecent exposure, officials announced on Thursday.
Darren Agee Merager, 52, was charged Monday with five counts of indecent exposure, relating to an incident inside the Wi Spa on June 23, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles Police Department.
In June, Instagram user @cubanaangel shared a video of her interaction with a staff member at the Wi Spa in Los Angeles, alleging that a transgender person exposed their genitals to young girls and women inside the women's locker room, as previously reported.
A week after the video went viral, anti-trans activists organized protests outside the spa that later turned violent as they clashed with counter-protesters.
Merager is a Registered Sex Offender
An arrest warrant has been issued for Merager but she has not yet been taken into custody, according to LAPD. Merager has a criminal history and has been a registered sex offender since 2006 as a result of convictions for indecent exposure in 2002 and 2003, the LAPD said. In 2008, she was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender
In 2018, she was arrested for exposing herself to children and women in the women's locker room of a swimming pool in West Hollywood Park and "claims to identify as female so her can access women's locker rooms and showers," according to a West Hollywood Sheriff's Station bulletin.
Indecent exposure can be filed as a felony or misdemeanor under California law, but Merager's prior conviction led prosecutors to bring felony charges against her this week, according to a person with knowledge of the case who requested anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.
Merager is awaiting trial on seven counts of indecent exposure that were first filed in 2019, according to court records, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Merager Denies Allegations, Claims Transgender Harassment
Merager, in an interview with the New York Post, denied the allegations and said that she is actually the victim of transphobic harassment. "Everything about the Wi Spa was a bunch of garbage and lies," Merager said in an interview. She says she is legally female in California and was in a jacuzzi in the women's section when she was accosted by "Cubana Angel."
"She never saw me naked. I was underwater with water all the way up to my chest." Merager denies ever being erect or around children at the spa. She says she is actually the victim of sexual harassment by transphobic women at the Wi Spa.
Prosecutors filed multiple counts of indecent exposure this week against a transgender woman whose alleged conduct was at the center of a viral video that sparked a pair of violent protests outside a spa in Westlake this summer, officials said Thursday.