The New York Court of Appeals seems to think that subway masturbators are no big deal.
Last year, a man who masturbated and ejaculated on three different female subway passengers was tracked down through DNA evidence. The man, Darnell Hardware, is now out free after only one year in prison — for time served — because the Court of Appeals considers masturbating and ejaculating on someone without their consent a misdemeanor, not a felony, Gothamist reports.
Hardware "rubbed his penis against a woman in a crowded subway car, ejaculated on her, and fled the subway when the doors opened" in three different reported incidents between 2002 and 2006. That’s reported incidents, mind you, so who knows how many times it happened and wasn’t reported.
Seems like a pretty big crime, right? Well, not according to the Court of Appeals. In 2010, the Court of Appeals dismissed a felony indictment against Jason Mack, a 29-year-old who masturbated against, and then ejaculated on, a 14-year-old girl who was headed to school in 2002.
The judge, Justice Renee White, threw out felony charges against Mack because "the mere close presence of many other passengers in the train is not sufficient to establish the requisite use of forcible compulsion by the defendant.” The Court of Appeals’ majority decision said there wasn’t enough evidence that “physical force” was used against the 14-year-old or that she felt “threatened.”
Thanks to that decision, Darnell Hardware’s crimes — and the crimes of any other subway pervert — are not considered first-degree sex abuse and are not enough to put him away for long.
Subway perverts are one of those things that make me realize just what completely different life experiences men and women have.
When a man followed me outside a subway station last year while masturbating and asked me if I wanted to “watch him finish,” I was angry enough that I told everyone (yes, including the police). My brother and male friends were horrified and had no idea that things like that happened. My female friends commiserated and shared their own subway pervert stories.
For women, things like this happen all the time. It’s terrible, and it’s wrong, and it’s definitely threatening. And it’s completely disappointing to know that the Court of Appeals thinks it’s no big deal.
Looks like it’s all on us to Hollaback at subway perverts — the law certainly isn’t doing anything about them.
Subway images from flickr users Runs With Scissors, wonggawei, and Annie Mole.