San Jose police sargeant charged with lewd act

A San Jose police sergeant who allegedly masturbated in his car and exposed himself in front of a woman in Redwood City earlier this month has been placed on paid administrative leave, authorities said Wednesday.

James Rainey Mason, 48, of San Carlos, has been charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure and committing a lewd act in public, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Mason has been a San Jose police sergeant for the past 13 years and is on paid administrative leave, police Officer Albert Morales said.

On Sept. 4 around 5:15 p.m., a 39-year-old woman was walking on a sidewalk in the 1200 block of Woodside Road where she saw a parked car and a man in the driver’s seat allegedly exposing himself and masturbating, Wagstaffe said.

The woman turned around and continued walking, but the driver moved the vehicle and parked again ahead of the woman, according to Wagstaffe.

She said he was still exposed and she took photos of him from her cellphone, but he noticed what she was doing and drove away, Wagstaffe said.

The woman notified police, who obtained a suspect description and the photos, according to Wagstaffe.

Investigators ran a check of the vehicle’s license plate number captured in one of the images and learned the car was registered to Mason, Wagstaffe said.

Police obtained his picture through the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the woman identified Mason through a photo line-up, according to Wagstaffe.

On Friday, Mason was arrested and booked into county jail, but quickly posted $15,000 bail, Wagstaffe said.

Mason is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 14.