Legislation

Bill Targets Stairway Peepers


It’s perfectly legal for someone to stand under a stairway and look up women’s skirts, according to a Queens, N.Y., city council member who intends to do something about it.

Peter Vallone Jr. has introduced an ordinance barring nonconsensual voyeurism, the New York Times reports. Penalties for violations can include up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The bill bars people from looking at the “sexual or other intimate parts” of others in more than a “casual or cursory manner,” with the purpose of degrading the people viewed or for entertainment or sexual gratification.

“We took great pains to make sure that the normal admiration of God’s creation was not made illegal,” Vallone said.

But Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the newspaper the bill is imprecise in defining prohibited conduct, leading to the possibility that it will be selectively enforced “on the whims or prejudice of the individual police officer.”

“What kind of a look is degrading, and therefore unlawful?” she asked. “Who’s to say?”

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