Masturbating On A Woman in the Subway No Longer A Serious Crime in NY

The Paris Metro is packed tight at 8 am. So there I was, a 21-year-old English woman just arrived to work in France. I could feel a penis pressing between my legs from behind, but I couldn’t move and was much too scared to draw attention to myself. Fighting my way out of the train at Gare du Nord, I turned briefly and saw the well dressed man who had been standing behind me with a slight smirk on his face.

That was over 30 years ago, but I still remember exactly how it felt.

So it makes me angry to read that Darnell Hardware, indicted last summer on three felony charges of sexual abuse, was reportedly set free on probation by a New York City court. Why wasn’t Hardware’s crime considered a felony?

Here it is, as described by the Manhattan district attorney:

The defendant entered a crowded subway train during rush hour, pressed his body against a female victim, and rubbed his penis on her. Because of the crowded subway car, the women were unable to move away from the defendant, who ejaculated on the women’s bodies and clothing, and then fled. The victims were young women commuting to and from work or school.

As awful as this story is, there is a precedent for it that is even worse. That ruling occurred in March during the case of one Jason Mack, who committed a similar act of “subway grinding” ten years ago.

From The Atlantic Cities:

In 2002, the 300-pound Mack rubbed against a 14-year-old girl in a packed downtown 1 train, leaving a stain on her jeans and jacket, authorities said. In 2006, he struck again, prosecutors said.

Mack wasn’t charged until 2008 when DNA matched him to the earlier attacks. But Mack’s date with justice has been delayed as courts consider whether grinding, as the perverted practice is known, constitutes a felony.

In March, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the city maintenance worker’s brazen onanism did not involve force, and therefore he is not guilty of a felony.

If this case is dismissed, Mack would escape conviction even though he is guilty and, maybe even worse, he also would not have to register as a sex offender.

This is outrageous! How can the New York Court of Appeals get away with deciding that those who ejaculate on subway passengers aren’t guilty of felonies unless they use force?  (Not to mention, why do they want to get away with it?)

Here’s the summary from the New York Court of Appeals, as quoted by The Atlantic Cities:

Here, there was no coordinated action by defendant and other passengers to hedge in the victim. Rather, the crowded conditions in the subway car merely masked and facilitated the unwanted sexual contact alleged. The sexual contact itself is the only physical force that defendant may be said to have deployed against his victim. This is not enough to establish that the sexual contact was “compel[led] by … use of physical force.”

Really? Just because the physical situation made it easier for these criminals to exploit their perverse intentions renders them lesser criminals?

Yes, really. Despite the fact that New York City law rates first degree sexual abuse as a Class D Felony, courts are treating this crime, even by repeated offenders, as merely a misdemeanor.

Many cities around the world offer women-only transit options, but that’s not really the point here.

As the New York Daily News puts it well:

By calculatedly choosing victims who had no escape, Mack and Hardware forced women to undergo sexual abuse just as surely as if they had done so with a bear hug. That’s the real world, a place the court chose to ignore. Cuomo and the Legislature must step in to reinstate the legal protections that women deserve.

The Courts should enforce the law and consider these sexual assaults as serious crimes.

If you agree that such treatment of sexual violence is outrageous, please join women and lawmakers demanding justice for the victims of these assaults. Tell New York courts that subway sexual assault is a serious crime.


Related Care2 Coverage

Sex Offenses Are Common On The NYC Subway

France Repeals Sexual Harassment Law

Potential Sexual Assault Suspect Not Questioned Because “He Didn’t Want To Answer”



Susan Miller
Susan Miller3 years ago

I often wonder just how well some posters here CAN read or if they read the article at all. There are ideas of 'reaching down and twisting real hard' and 'women need to start fighting back by either kicking the offender or putting him in a squirrel hold' or even 'smashing a used tampon their face' ...........

These women .. were in the SUBWAY .. and couldn't MOVE, couldn't turn around because of the numbers of people crushed into the compartment.

This article is several years old .. and the petition is closed. So tell us .. what happened since then ? Do we need a new petition to get this stupid court ruling changed or what ??

Manojkumar Bhoyar

thanks for posting

Pamela W.
Pamela W6 years ago

I remember this article from October ....... some of the suggestions and comments in the early hours of 3rd October were most entertaining - and not all violent !!

Penny C.
penny C6 years ago

This is sick.

Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog6 years ago

How gross - this is where, if the law is not helping, women need to start fighting back by either kicking the offender or putting him in a squirrel hold - I thought India was bad, but it looks like its global...

Connie T.
Past Member 6 years ago

O.K. so stop being "ladies"! Reach down, grab, twist real hard - and smile!

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

This is outrageous! I'm gonna throw up.

Veerle D.
Veerle D6 years ago

This apparently happens all over the world. It happened to me as well when I was on a packed public bus on my way to school. I was 13 or 14 and too shocked and terrified to do anything, but I fled when I could. Like Judy says, I still remember how it felt and it's over 30 years ago...

paul m.
paul m6 years ago

What next public rape ? ,,,I'm going to say this girls/ woman if this happens to you , carry some chile powder ( and you'd know where too put it ) I, myself found out by accident whilst
makeing a chile and I needed too take a "leak" and don't touch your eyes,,

anyone useing chile powder will understand what I'm saying ,,anything happento you ?

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

beyond disgusting. there has to be a way to fight for more