The lewd act known as "subway grinding" could soon be a felony.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, State Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Michael Cusick are pushing a bill that would toughen penalties against unwanted sexual contact in crowded spaces like subways and buses.
They say the measure would close a loophole created by a 2010 Court of Appeals ruling that downgraded the penalties for lewd acts like "subway grinding."
The new legislation would make such acts a Class B felony punishable by jail time.
"The current law says it's only sexual violation if the woman is being restrained physically. But listen to what happens on the subways every day. A woman literally can't move," said de Blasio. "There's too many people in the subway, you can't even move, even if something horrible is happening. So it is the same effect as being held down."
The bill's advocates say the NYPD gets more than a thousand complaints about public lewdness or forcible touching each year.