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Merchant Can Pat Asses with Impunity

New York- How does this grab you, ladies?

A Manhattan judge has dismissed charges against a fabric merchant accused of patting a customer’s bottom – saying the lewd move wasn’t a crime.

Criminal Court Judge Richard Weinberg said “something more than mere touching is required” to find a defendant guilty of forcible touching.

He also tossed claims that Mohammed Nuruzzaman, 36, committed sexual abuse – because, he found, the defendant was not trying to gratify a “sexual desire.”

The woman, who has not been named, alleged Nuruzzaman, an employee of a W. 40th St. fabric store, twice “placed his hand on and patted her buttocks” on Nov. 2, 2004. But the judge said a forcible touching charge – a misdemeanor – required more aggressive actions, such as “squeezing, grabbing or pinching.”

“The word ‘forcible’ connotes something ‘done by force, vigorous and strong and powerful,'” he said, quoting the New Oxford Dictionary of English. “To pat is to ‘touch quickly and gently with the flat of the hand.’

“A pat on the buttocks, regardless of how offensive it might be to the recipient, does not qualify as forcible touching.”

And he said the law required him to dismiss charges of third-degree sexual abuse – also a misdemeanor. “The…statute requires sexual contact for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire, a purpose not alleged,” he said.

The judge’s decision was panned by some city women.

“I bet the judge was a man,” said Yvette Saferstein, 38, a social worker from Astoria, Queens. “If someone came up to me in a store and patted my butt, I would go berserk. It’s harassment and it’s offensive.”

But Shani Castri, a Little Italy resident in her 30s who works in the fashion industry, said, “People should chill a little bit. If he grabbed her, fair enough. But if it was just a pat, it happens. If I had to take to court every guy who touched my butt, I’d be there all the time.”

Nuruzzaman still faces second-degree harassment charges.

 

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