Fahy, McDonald to Co-Sponsor Legislation to Strengthen Public Lewdness Laws

Albany, N.Y. – Assemblymembers Patricia A. Fahy (D-Albany) and John T. McDonald III (D-Cohoes) will co-sponsor legislation that will increase penalties and charges for those who commit acts of public lewdness in front of minors and repeat offenders.

The legislation creates a new charge of Public Lewdness in the first degree, elevating what had been a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor for individuals 19 years old and above who intentionally expose a private or intimate body part in the presence of a child under the age of 16, or for individuals who commit Public Lewdness repeatedly.

This would also apply to those who have been convicted of Public Lewdness within the previous year.

As a class A misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in jail or three years probation.

“The deplorable acts that individuals like Jayshawn Owens commit in our neighborhoods is nothing short of despicable. As a mother with a 14 year old daughter, these repeated incidents of indecent exposure, particularly this last time that involved exposing himself to and then pursuing two middle school children, resonate deeply with me. By elevating repeat instances of indecent exposure to a minor to a Class A misdemeanor, the hope is that this will deter the re-occurrence of the depravity of these incidents," said Assemblymember Fahy.

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn), who is also the chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Codes, is a co-sponsor of the bill as well.

Studies show that there is a high rate of recidivism amongst public lewdness offenders with one study showing that 24% re-offend. Additional data obtained indicates that over 10 percent of offenders progress to more serious sexual offenses. The current statute does not address the increased dangers that public lewdness can and does present.

Public lewdness whose victims are children is of particular concern and should be treated with greater severity. Recent incidents of individuals being arrested on public lewdness charges and escalating behavior on low level misdemeanor charges with no legal ramifications to know that the law must be changed to better protect the public and children, in particular.