Thursday, May 19, 2005
N.Y. Judge Tosses Forcible Touching Charge
Wednesday, May 18, 2005 7:06 PM EDT
The Associated Press

A Manhattan judge has dismissed a forcible touching charge filed against a man who patted a woman's buttocks, ruling that a mere pat on the rear, even if unwanted, does not rise to the level of that crime.

The forcible touching statute requires a person to do more than "touch quickly and gently with the flat of the hand," said Criminal Court Judge Richard M. Weinberg, citing the definition of "pat" from The New Oxford English Dictionary. He said the statute's forcible touching language requires "squeezing, grabbing or pinching."

The law is not limited to those types of touching, he said, but its use of the word "forcible" implies that a pat does not qualify.

The judge issued his ruling, made public Wednesday, in the case of Mohammed Nuruzzaman, 36, a Manhattan fabric store employee. Nuruzzaman was accused of twice touching a female customer's rear while she shopped in the store, at 227 W. 40th St., on Nov. 2, 2004.

Nuruzzaman was charged with forcible touching, third-degree sex abuse and second-degree harassment. A complaint says he touched the customer, a student, without her consent and with intent to degrade or abuse her, causing her annoyance and alarm.

The judge noted that the state Legislature passed the Sexual Reform Act of 2000, which created the crime of forcible touching, in response to the widespread sexual assaults that occurred in Central Park following that year's Puerto Rican Day parade.

"The plain language of (the law) makes clear that something more than mere touching is required under the statute," the judge wrote.

Referring again to his dictionary, he said "forcible" connotes something "done by force, vigorous and strong and powerful."

He said the Legislature's use of the word "forcible" in the law "leads to the conclusion that a pat on the buttocks, regardless of how offensive it might be to the recipient, does not qualify as `forcible' touching under the ordinary and accepted meaning of these words."

If done for sexual reasons, Nuruzzaman's alleged pat would constitute third-degree sex abuse but would not rise to the level of forcible, the judge wrote.

And although the defense did not challenge the sex abuse charge, the judge threw it out, too. He said the complaint did not properly allege the crime because it did not state Nuruzzaman touched the woman to gratify a sexual desire _ a required element in a charge of third-degree sex abuse.

The only charge that survived was second-degree harassment, a violation considered about as serious as a moving traffic offense.

Nuruzzaman's lawyer, Sam Liebowitz, did not return calls for comment.
Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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