RYE, N.Y. -- A law designed to curtail lewd behavior in private settings has led to the arrests of dozens of alleged flashers in the 11 months it’s been on the books, according to its co-sponsors, Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, and Assemblymember Shelley Mayer, D-Yonkers.
The new law specifically addresses situations where a person has entered a residential dwelling without consent and intentionally exposes him- or herself, or commits other lewd acts, in the presence of another person
It was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Oct. 26, 2015.
Latimer said this week that, so far, 83 people have been charged under the new law.
The crackdown on perverts who commit lewd acts while trespassing stems from an incident where a Yonkers woman walked into her dining room only to find her 40-year-old neighbor masturbating there, according to media reports.
If the man had been doing that while standing on her front lawn, he would have been charged with sexual assault, public lewdness or indecent exposure, Mayer said in 2015. But it was not then considered a crime because it took place inside a home, she explained.
“A single set of events in our community brought this horrible activity to my attention,” Latimer said when speaking of the reasons behind the new law, adding that he was “shocked to hear that it occurs in such large numbers.”
“These crimes are essentially an invasion of someone’s home for purposes of acting in a really lewd fashion … totally unacceptable, and now criminal, behavior,” the senator said.
The new law makes the behavior a misdemeanor, but partnered with a felony charge of burglary, it allows prosecutors to “bring serious consequences to the table for perpetrators,” Latimer said.
Said Mayer: "These findings show there was a pressing need for a new law to protect New York residents. I am pleased that out of such an awful event in our community, we were able to pass a law protecting so many.”
Meanwhile, Rye police are searching for a man who they say recently exposed himself to several teenage girls.
Two teens were standing near the intersection of Cowles Avenue and Intervale Place in Rye last week when the man pulled up in a white sedan and asked them for directions to Boston Post Road, police said.
In a similar incident Monday, two 13-year-olds, who were in the area of Roosevelt Avenue and Wainwright Street, were approached and asked for directions to Rye Town Park.
In each case, the man was inappropriately touching himself, police said.
The suspect in both was described as white, in his 20s, with short brown hair, freckles and stubbly facial hair.
Anyone with information about the lewdness incidents can contact the Rye Police Department Detective Division at (914) 967-1234. Anonymous tips can be provided to the Tip Line at (914) 760-4243.