Love & Sex

Grinding on Strangers on the Subway Is (Finally) Punishable by Jail Time

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But it still isn't a felony.

Crowded subway station

The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that grinding your genitals against a fellow subway passenger (or, for that matter, against anyone who'd prefer that you wouldn't) is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

This decision upholds the conviction of Luis Guaman, arrested after rubbing his exposed penis on a male subway passenger in 2009. In his appeal, Guaman claimed that his actions didn't constitute "forcible touching," defined as "squeezing, grabbing, or pinching." No dice. According to Judge Susan Phillips Read, any pressure applied to "the victim’s sexual or intimate parts" is officially tantamount to a forcible touch.

This is no doubt a step in the right direction, but New York still has far to go. In some cases, it may not be immediately apparent how to determine what constitutes intentional, inappropriate contact and what's simply the inevitable result of being crammed into a metal deathbox like human sardines. In others, it is. Darnell Hardware, found guilty of masturbating and ejaculating on three subway riders (including a 14-year-old girl) in 2012, walked with only three years probation because his sexual abuse didn't qualify as a felony.

Here's hoping your rush-hour commute gets — at least slightly — less horrifying.

[h/t Gothamist]

Image via Flickr.