If you’re wondering why not a week now goes by without news of another perv groping, grinding, exposing or even attacking innocents on the subway, well: Blame the state Assembly.
The NYPD puts a high priority on nabbing these sickos. But while it can arrest them and provide evidence that leads to a conviction, it can’t keep them off the trains or out of the stations because state law has no provision for an outright ban of even the worst serial offenders.
Men like chronic offender Jermaine Hampton, 35, busted in May for rubbing his groin against a 21-year-old woman standing on a northbound 4 train. He was repeating the very same crime for which he was on a 10-year probation, police say. The registered Level 1 sex offender has been charged five times for transit sex crimes since 2016, in multiple boroughs.
Or like Giovanni Verdelli, 67, but with more than 70 arrests — caught again last week after sexually assaulting an off-duty traffic cop on the L train. A homeless man who goes by the name Gian, he also faces charges for an incident where he slipped his hand up the skirt of a 37-year-old mom, then groped her. His “excuse”: The train was crowded.
“If this case doesn’t point to why we should continue to push for a ban on the subways, I don’t know what does,” said Commissioner James O’Neill. “This is what’s the definition of crazy, right? Keep doing the same thing and expecting different results — so that’s why we’re pushing to get the law changed.”
Even the heavily Democratic state Senate sees the sense in barring proven predators from public transit. It passed Sen. Diane Savino’ s “Subway Grinder Bill” unanimously this year, but the Assembly refused to even take it up — for the sixth year in a row.
The lower chamber is dominated by “lawmakers” who find some reason to reject every “get tough” measure that comes their way, whether it involves violent crime, dangerous driving, frightening mental illness or a host of other public menaces.
“These are not your run-of-the-mill perverts,” Savino said after The Post reported that Rajesh Gami was released from jail with no bail after an arrest for stalking and groping a 16-year-old girl on the subway five times in less than two months.
Prosecutors claim to be helpless: The Manhattan DA’s office simply suggested the MTA seek court-ordered “trespass notices” for sickos like Gami — though it, too, supports changes to state law to allow more practical bans.
The NYPD, meanwhile, is publicizing every outrage it can. This month, it released photos of three pervs who inappropriately touched women, including two teens, in separate incidents. And cops are still on the lookout for a man who groped a 15-year-old girl on May 16.
The MTA board just passed a resolution calling for systemwide bans of serial subway criminals. But one member to abstain, de Blasio appointee David Jones, expressed the thinking that dominates in the Assembly: “I don’t want to drive people out of the system with a ban that essentially makes sure they have to continue their criminal enterprise because now they can’t get to work.”
Thing is, these serial sickos don’t use the subway for transportation: Public transit is simply their hunting ground. Yet the best police can do when they spot a known perv is follow him around, waiting to catch him in the act.
What kind of horror is it going to take before the Assembly finally does the right thing?
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