Target: Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick
Goal: Thank State legislature for punishing a man who took lewd pictures of women’s undergarments in public areas.
Massachusetts was recently presented with an odd criminal case, involving a peeping tom named Michael Robertson. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled on the side of Robertson, who appealed a criminal conviction after he was repetitively caught using his phone to take pictures and videos of the crotches of female passengers on public transportation. Although he didn’t proclaim his innocence, he did argue that the laws were not specific enough to apply to what he did, which is commonly known as “upskirting.” The law in Massachusetts supposedly protects people from being secretly photographed or videotaped nude, but because all of Robertson’s victims had undergarments on, it didn’t quite “fit” the violation. With that argument and the judge’s ruling, he was able to walk free of all of his misconducts.
Luckily, public outrage after the Robertson case drove legislative action to move quicker than usual. In early March, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick quickly signed a bill making secret photographing and recording under a person’s clothing a crime. Generally, the crime can put a person in jail for up to 2 to 5 years or involve a fine of up to five thousand dollars. After the bill was put in place, the police staged a decoy operation to catch Robertson in the act. An undercover female officer wore a dress and he proceeded to videotape her from behind. Robertson has now been arrested for attempting to record a person in a state of partial nudity.
Please thank state legislators for moving swiftly to make the law clearer and convict criminals like Michael Robertson.
Dear Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick,
It was very disturbing to know that Massachusetts’s court was able to let Michael Robertson’s lewd behavior go unpunished, because it didn’t exactly fit the text of the law. Thank you for responding to the public outcry over this case and finally passing a law that fit the crime.
It is the state legislature’s responsibility to make sure that people feel safe even in public settings like the bus or subway systems. Since there is no way to stop people from conducting some crimes, there have to be clear laws that can punish them. Not having a law against peeping toms sends a wrong message and gives them a reason to continue what they are doing. Thanks to this new bill, all of these criminals in Massachusetts will be hopefully arrested and charged for all of their offenses.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons