A 23-year-old Norwood man is the first person to be charged under the state’s new upskirting law after he allegedly used his iPad to take a photo underneath a woman’s skirt at an MBTA station in Jamaica Plain.
Joshua Gonsalves pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in West Roxbury Municipal Court Wednesday to a charge of photographing an unsuspecting person in the nude, the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
At a news conference Wednesday, transit police Chief Paul MacMillan said officers were called to the Forest Hills Station at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday. The victim told officers that a man sitting on a nearby bench in the station had reached out and held an iPad between her legs, facing up her skirt, MacMillan said.
Gonsalves boarded a bus and left the area. Officers stopped the Route 34E bus at the corner of Washington Street and Garfield Avenue and saw a man holding an iPad who matched the description given by the victim, transit police said. The 26-year-old woman had snapped photographs of Gonsalves on her own cellphone before he left on the bus, MacMillan said.
“We have to commend the victim here,” MacMillan told reporters. “She did exactly what she should’ve done.”
After police escorted Gonsalves off the bus, he allegedly told them he had heard on the news it was not illegal to “take pictures up a girl’s skirt,” transit police said. “He told the officers he thought this was legal, that he could do this, and that he had been doing this,” MacMillan said.
He was arrested and taken to transit police headquarters for booking. The chief said the arrest was the first one made under the new state law.
Conley sought to make it “explicit for anyone who missed the follow-up news reports” that these kinds of photos are not permissible.
“Everyone has a right to privacy under their own clothes,” Conley said in a statement.
MacMillan said transit police seized Gonsalves’s iPad and iPhone and will seek a search warrant to look through the devices.
“This may lead to additional charges,” MacMillan said.
The state Legislature passed a bill in March outlawing upskirting, making it illegal to snap secret photos and videos of “the sexual or other intimate parts of a person under or around the person’s clothing.”
Assistant District Attorney Kristina Kerwin requested Gonsalves be held on $1,000 cash bail at his arraignment. But, he was ordered held on $150 and is to stay away from all MBTA property, Conley’s office said.
Gonsalves’s attorney, Charles Pappas, did not immediately return phone messages for a comment. Gonsalves is to return to court Aug. 22.