A new bill that passed on Thursday in New York will make it a felony to grind or grope another person in the subway.

The bill—which goes into effect in November after Governor Cuomo signs it—states that “a person is guilty of forcible touching when such person intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose.”

Under the legislation, gropers and grinders will be hit with felony charges if any of the following occurs:

1. Forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person[;], or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire[.]; OR

2. SUBJECTS ANOTHER PERSON TO SEXUAL CONTACT FOR THE PURPOSE OF GRATIFYING THE ACTOR’S SEXUAL DESIRE AND WITH INTENT TO DEGRADE OR ABUSE SUCH OTHER PERSON WHILE SUCH OTHER PERSON IS A PASSENGER ON A BUS, TRAIN, OR SUBWAY CAR OPERATED BY ANY TRANSIT AGENCY, AUTHORITY OR COMPANY, PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, WHOSE OPERATION IS AUTHORIZED BY NEW YORK STATE OR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS.

The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, told The New York Post that the new penalty is a necessary step in punishing and discouraging gross behavior on the trains, i.e. that one time a dude masturbated during a ride to Astoria. Simotas says:

“I spent many of my years riding the subway. I witnessed a lot of very disturbing activity that occurs on the subway. Just the other day, there was a report that somebody was masturbating in front of a female rider all the way through Astoria, my district.

“Clearly, we have to make sure that the law has adequate punishment. You confine yourself in a small space, and that’s why it’s very important that we have an enhanced penalty when somebody engages in this disturbing behavior.”

No word on the repercussions for dangling condoms.


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