A Pennsylvania judge raised some eyebrows in his court room when he proposed that a serial groper pay $1 for each non-consensual touch. Common Pleas Senior Judge Lester G. Nauhaus was hearing the case of an 18-year-old who had sexually harassed a younger woman in middle and high school. The woman in question alleged that she had been groped a few times. The offender was fined $300 for groping, but came to Nauhaus saying that he just didn’t have the money. He was very, very sorry.
Nauhaus noted in the courtroom that there was one “very important,” very powerful, unnamed man thought that groping was OK (we think we know who he was talking about) and then decided that he would find a more acceptable fine for the “troubled” young man. At first he suggested $3 and some community service, but when the victim told the judge that it was a total of about six times that she had been groped, Nauhaus upped the fine to six whole dollars.
This was despite the fact that Assistant District Attorney Jeff Tisak had asked the judge to give the man probation and impose a no-contact order.
No fine might be better than a one dollar fine.
Tisak told the judge that it was “highly inappropriate to tell a young girl that inappropriate touching is worth a dollar at a time.” We’re going to have to agree with that. There were other ways to make the defendant pay the fine — setting up a payment plan, for example. Instead of lowering the fine to a buck per offense. The judge essentially told would-be gropers that as long as they have some spare change, they can touch a person without getting consent.
Nauhaus’ conduct was reported and is under review, though he told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette that he was just unsure of what to do while sentencing such a “troubled child.”
“I have to find some way of punishing,” he said. “It was obvious he had done something wrong. They came before me with no suggestion. … It’s almost impossible. It’s frustrating. I didn’t mean to mock. I didn’t mean to denigrate. I just wanted somebody to give me an answer. That’s their job,” he said, although the assistant district attorney did ask for the fine, probation, and a no-contact order.
Hopefully, someone can show Nauhaus the error of his ways. Because a $1 fine for groping is just unacceptable.