Albany, NY - September 27, 2015 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that he has signed legislation to increase penalties for forcible touching on New York mass transit systems, making such offenses punishable by up to a year behind bars.
"New York has zero tolerance for predators who seek to use crowded buses, subways and trains to commit depraved crimes of opportunity,” Governor Cuomo said. “Those who commit these despicable acts will be caught and, with this new law, will face very real consequences.”
The legislation (S.3203-A / A.4969-B) covers all New York State-operated bus, train and subway systems. This Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, will cover a broad variety of sexual misconduct, which often happen during rush hour when a victim cannot escape a crowded vessel. These offenses could previously only be charged under a Class B misdemeanor.
Senator Martin Golden said, “These public crimes are revolting, and it is our hope that this bill will go a long way toward preventing them from happening in the future. Public transportation is a valuable resource, especially for those living in New York City, and to see it mistreated and have passengers sexually abused is unacceptable. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill.”
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said, “Forcibly touching passengers who use public transportation violates not only the individual but all of us who ride the subway. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing his bill and recognizing that these crimes on public transportation are particularly egregious because riders are essentially captives of their attackers.”