Public-lewdness offenders could face tougher penalties

Tougher penalties for lewdness may be in the offing as lawmakers search for ways to make public restrooms safer.

Lawmakers say indecent sexual acts in some of New Jersey?s bathrooms are on the rise, particularly at rest stops. One major concern is the Monmouth Rest Stop in Wall.

"It's a common meeting area. It's public access,? says State Police Sgt. Patrick O?Dwyer. ?It's 24 hours a day and we're always open for business."

So far this year, 34 men have been arrested for lewdness at the rest stop.

Lewdness at public bathrooms gained notoriety recently when former Gov. Jim McGreevey revealed in a book that he frequented them for sexual encounters with other men.

State Assemblyman Dave Rible is proposing that lewdness convictions carry jail time of up to 18 months and fines of up to $10,000.

"We have to take away this playground ? of these sexual offenders and sexual predators,? Rible says.

Police also advise parents to be vigilant and never allow children to visit public bathrooms unattended.

Last month a 43-year-old man from Pemberton pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy in the bathroom of the Monmouth Rest Stop.

The boy was traveling with his family and was assaulted after being left alone for a few moments.

To watch the news conference about the penalties, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."