By TIFFANY BROOKS
After three incidences at a Rockland County shopping mall, including one in which a man exposed himself to two young children, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, D – New City, has introduced a bill that will strengthen public lewdness penalties.
The bill establishes two new crimes with provisions for sex offender registration. Public lewdness in the second degree includes "intent of sexual gratification," a class A misdemeanor, and public lewdness in the first degree will punish repeat offenders who prey on victims under the age of 14 — a class E felony that will require guilty persons to register as sex offenders. The bill would also make convictions of public lewdness in the first or second degree permanently disqualify offenders from becoming bus drivers.
The legislation was introduced in response to recent "troubling" incidents at the Palisades Mall where individuals have exposed themselves in a disturbing manner to children, Zebrowski said.
"These unsettling incidents highlight a weakness in our laws where horrendous crimes are treated with minor consequences," Zebrowski said. "This is not a crime where I think someone is making a mistake. We needed to update this law across the state but in Clarkstown especially."
In the past six months Clarkstown police have had numerous incidents regarding public lewdness, two of which included repeat offender individuals.
"As the public lewdness law stands now, it is a more serious crime to steal a soda from a grocery store than it is to expose yourself to a child," said Clarkstown Detective John Fredericks.