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NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

Arrests in Port Authority and other Train Bathrooms in NYC


NYPD Crackdown on Lewdness and Exposure in Penn Station, Grand Central & other Public Bathrooms

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported about increased policing of public bathrooms in New York City. This is part of an ongoing effort by the City of New York to reduce behavior considered to be lewd and indecent. Historically, certain public gathering places in New York City have become popular places for men looking to have sex with or expose themselves to other men. These places have often contained a certain desirable qualities such as the seclusion of the Brambles in Central Park, or convenience such as certain transit hubs. Of the transportation hubs, Penn Station and Grand Central are especially popular due to their size and proximity to subway and regional trains. Police officers, in plain clothing, will enter bathrooms in Penn Station and Grand Central looking for men who seem to be taking an unusual time at a urinal and/or who are looking over the urinal divider or exposing themselves. If the undercover sees this, he will continue his observations to see if the exposure seems deliberate and if he sees any indications of masturbation which are necessary for an arrest for lewdness. The undercovers are also looking for blatant sexual activity between men in the bathrooms at Penn Station and Grand Central. Although more rare than exposure and masturbation at a urinal due to the increased risk of being caught, it has been known to happen. Sometimes groups of men are arrested for sex in these bathrooms. The Wall Street Journal also pointed out the risk of being falsely accused. This is because in the case of suspected masturbation in a urinal, the movements and degree of exposure is different in every case. In some situations, someone struggling to urinate or too casual about keeping himself close to the urinal may be accidentally accused of masturbation or intentional exposure.

WSJ Article (2017):

By Lance Fletcher

NYC Criminal Defense Attorney