DA Declines To Prosecute Times Square ‘Cookie Monster’ Accused Of Groping Teen

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Manhattan District Attorney’s is declining to prosecute a Times Square costumed character who allegedly groped a 16-year-old girl’s chest.

Ranulfo Perez, 48, of Passaic, who dresses in a Cookie Monster costume, was arrested Monday, police said.

Perez was accused of pulling the girl into a hug and forcibly touching her Sunday evening, police said.

The District Attorney decided not to prosecute Tuesday.

Last year, reports of misbehaving costumed characters prompted numerous calls for regulation.

In November, the City Council held a hearing on a proposal to regulate costumed characters in Times Square, which would require they be licensed and pass background checks.

The bill followed the arrests of several characters. In September, a woman dressed as Elmo was arrested on an aggressive panhandling charge. Days before, two men, one dressed as Batman and another dressed as Spider-Man, were arrested after a brawl with another man, police said.

Other incidents included a Spider-Man allegedly punching a cop, an Elmo being arrested for allegedly harassing people and yelling anti-Semitic slurs and a “Toy Story” Woody allegedly groping women.

In August, police distributed fliers to tourists saying tipping was not required when taking photos with the Elmos, Mickey Mouses, SpongeBobs and Statues of Liberty that flock to the area. Many of the people who dress to make ends meet said tipping plummeted.

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