The Hipster Upskirter, aka André the Giant who's been left in the sun too long (SORRY ANDRE), did not have his day in court when the woman he violated decided not to testify. The terrible saga begins at the DUMBO F station, and ends in a pile of sadness. Let's retrace our villain's sleazy steps:
The alleged perpetrator was confronted by the victim and one witness who alerted her to what was happening as she climbed the steep subway steps one morning back in August. "I noticed he was holding his arm a bit outstretched, close to the woman in front of him walking up the stairs," the witness told us. "It seemed odd, so I watched the guy as we walked up the ramp. He passed the woman, then slowed again as we reached the next set of stairs, and let her pass him. That is when I confirmed that he was filming under her skirt." When the witness and the victim confronted the suspect in the subway, they say his cell phone camera was still running.
The police papered the station with wanted posters which led to the arrest of 29-year-old Boyd Shropshire, a graphic designer, typographer, and musician (yes, all three) living in Queens. He was charged with the felony of unlawful surveillance. Shropshire's next day in court was scheduled for Nov. 13th, but the Brooklyn DA's office told Gothamist that the charges had been dropped.
One New York City prosecutor, who would only speak on condition of anonymity, offers some insight about the challenges encountered with these kinds of cases: "Reporters frequently stalk our sex crime victims, talking to their doormen, neighbors, family members, etc. — a total invasion of privacy, whether or not the name appears in print. I know of several cases where witnesses or victims stopped cooperating because of this, including some who did not even want close family members to know they were the victim of sex crime."
What a huuuuuge bummer. I'm torn on this because on one hand, it's important to report on these things so that the creeps who commit the crimes know that there are repercussions to their creepy-ass actions. On the other hand, victims shouldn't have another layer of fear thrown on top of their already awful depressing shame-cake. So what do we do? Obviously the best answer is to work towards destigmatizing victims of sex crimes — speaking up should help victims cope with the situation, not make it worse. But since we are not there as a society, what's the best way to move us in that direction? If there was better surveillance in the subways — perhaps all of this could've been captured on film (er, tape), eliminating (most of?) the need for police questioning.
This victim and witness did a very brave thing when they confronted the cell phone camera slinging creepster — something I hope we'd all be strong enough to do in a situation like that. Not to get all after school special on you guys, but what if we told, like, five women we love today, "Hey, if you're ever a victim of a crime, whether it's violent or sexual or whatever, I want you to know that I will be there for you and you can always talk to me about it." And maybe we can help each other through some of the more difficult shit that's associated with being a woman? I don't know. Either that, or we can all go Michael Douglas in Falling Down and just set this whole damn thing on fire. I'm open to either.