Law Designed To Keep Kids Safe From Pedophiles, But Is This A Bit Too Much?By John Slattery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman sitting in a New York City park was struck by a ball, but she was the one who ended up getting tossed out.

CBS 2’s John Slattery reports on an unusual park problem on the Upper East Side.

At 73, Harri Molese doesn’t look like a threat to society, but as she walked into Ruppert Park she became a law-breaker.

“Yes, I am. I am breaking the law. I was told on Saturday by a police officer I was not allowed to be in here,” Molese said.

That’s according to a Parks Department sign posted at the park entrance: “Adults prohibited except in the company of children.”

Molese, who lives on Second Avenue right next to the park, has, for years, come to the park to sit and read, usually at a checkers table in a large circle. As she sat there recently, teenage boys playing Wiffle ball were using her table as third base.

“I was just sitting down and they hit me with a Wiffle ball,” Molese said.

She said she asked the boys to come out onto 91st Street, which is closed to traffic, to play ball, but they declined.

On Saturday, she came back and said the same boys would hit her table as they rounded the bases. She questioned one of their fathers.

“He said to me you’re not allowed to be in here. You don’t have a child,” Molese said.

It’s a park that has a playground in one quadrant, but the rest is typical park, with paths and benches. The rule is to protect children from potential pedophiles.

“It’s not even crazy. It’s ridiculous. Where is common sense in this world today?” Molese said.

Slattery contacted the Parks Department and got this response:

“The majority of the park is a passive sitting area with trees and shrubs, and senior citizens as well as all members of the public are welcome to sit there. We will move the signage indicating the no adults in playground rule away from the park entrance at East 91st Street and move it closer to the physical playground, to avoid any future confusion.”

So, Molese fought City Hall — and won.

Seniors who live in that area say there is a similar problem with the signs at John Jay Park at 77th near the FDR Drive.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments (55)
  1. Digital Signage Software says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmm lovely its a play ground not a serious mood please join it by Digital Signage Software

  2. boyfull says:

    I agree with nolan ,,, please visit my site Digital Signage Technology

  3. cygon says:

    can you idiots recognize a ‘nanny state’ when it happens?

    1. Jimi says:

      Is that like when your balls itch while eating scrumpy?

  4. Bob needs a Prozac says:

    An old man with a mindset like your NEEDS to go senile for the rest of us….. Talk about BITTER!!

    1. So Bob doesn't need a Prozac says:

      I’m a realist too, but before I’ll turn on the seniors, I want to see less single mothers with 3 kids- living with guys that have different last names and collecting Medicaid and WIC compliments of my taxes. (If you don’t agree with that , then you aren’t being very realistic)….. I believe in a Cardinal rule- leave the kids, seniors and the disabled alone- everyone else is accountable..

    2. Bob Fowler says:

      I’m ok with letting the saber tooth tigers at the welfare frauds, medicare/medicaid frauds (including doctors), pharmaceutical companies, politicians, pedophiles… I’m sure the tigers will be happy and well fed for generations to come.

    3. Fran says:

      Make sure not to apply for medicare. Problem solved.

      1. huh? says:

        what does that mean????

  5. Ronnie says:

    My son was visiting me from Utica NY and he walked into the school playground to so we could sit and talk. I said, you know I can remember when the swings were over here and you loved swinging when you were a baby. Just think we can get a ticket for sitting here today and he said why? because we adults can only sit here if we have a child, and he promptly responded, well we got that covered, cause I’m your baby boy. I just laughed and laughed cause he’s 32, but he’s my baby and he was with me in the park.

    1. William says:

      I am a father of a 2 year old and don’t mind seeing an elderly person in a park or playground….. what I do mind is NEVER seeing a cop…. NEVER!!! That’ll keep it safe…..

  6. Lieutenantdan says:

    Should have a no kids area in the parks for adults only.
    How about breaking it down even more –
    An area for children.
    An area for Teens.
    An area for 20 to 25 yrs old.
    An area for 25 to 30 yrs old.
    An area for 30 to 40.
    An area 40 to 55.
    An area for 55 and older.

  7. DanTe says:

    They should build parks for Adults only….

    1. Bob Fowler says:

      They already have them. They’re called cemeteries. Old people can stay there as long as they wish. There’s no ball playing, running, screaming (except at funerals), no annoying kids trying to find a place in the city to play.

      And before you all start carping about old people and my being mean to them, I’m old. I have my AARP card. Have had it for years. In the old days, when people got too old, they walked off into the forest and the saber tooth tigers took care of them. Maybe a few of the remaining fossils should take a walk and stop wasting air, resources, healthcare, food, Social Security… If the only benefit that you are to society is that you can complain about sitting in a park, maybe your time has come?

      1. Bon needs a Prozac says:

        An old man with a mindset like your NEEDS to go senile for the rest of us….. Talk about BITTER!!

      2. m says:

        I find your comment refreshing and amusing. Thanks, Bob :).

  8. Jimmy says:

    What’s the age limit for a child anyway? I remember some pretty sick kids in the City parks I went to. How about a thirteen year old drug dealer?

  9. Sammie says:

    The parks dept realized the signage was wrong and corrected it. There is no reason that children should be playing ball in an area not designated for ball playing. The parent should have moved his kids and maybe taugh them a little respect.

    1. Mr. Rogers says:

      Amen, thank you.

    2. L. Crandall says:

      You can’t teach what you don’t know.

  10. floyd bannister says:

    this lady is going to have a tough time winning this fight…just do a quick check of pedophiles in an area of new york zip codes and i can pretty much guarantee it’s gonna be a long list. these types of things were done in playgrounds to stop or prevent this type of behavior. children are innocent and defenseless and easy marks for pedophiles. they need and have a right to be protected by us. it might not work too well but i believe that is what it was done for. i, personally, don’t like it because i feel it discriminates against some people but in the big picture i can live with it because i am so appaled by people who prey on children i am willing to forego sitting in a playground or other designated for the sake of the children’s safety.

    1. parents should watch kids says:

      Floyd you are a idiot.When children are in a playground the parents should watch them at all times.People cannot prey on your child if your a good parent and watch them at the park or other places.Too many parents take kids to park and then sit down and chat on cellphone or text for a hour.I hope the old lady sues the city for her rights being violated.And to the police officer he should in nowway have any contact with public for his stupidity he needs re-traing or even needs to be fired.

      1. floyd bannister says:

        maybe i am an idiot but in the real world parents don’t always watch over their kids at all times that is why children are kidnapped, molested and all sorts of other things every day in every place in the world…..also, at the time this lady was in the playground the sign clearly said “no adults without children allowed”. her rights were never violated.

    2. Linder says:

      Floyd: watch the video again. SHE WON! they physically moved the sign closer to the area for kids only and no ball playing in the game table area. They cant discriminate and they realized the issues. Good for her!!!

      1. floyd bannister says:

        you’re absolutely right…..they did move the sign. But at the time the lady was in the park she was wrong. That point still stands. The Parks Department designated that park as a playground for a reason. The reason may be flawed but they did it and covered themselves by putting up a sign and making it a “playground” not a park. My guess is that community pressure from parents got them to designate this as a playground. I’ve seen the same thing happen at the park/playground on Spring and Thompson Street. That used to be a park and now it’s a “playground”. Used to have bocce ball courts for the locals then they remodeled it and took all that out and put in a jungle gym “kids only”.Now the adults have to sit outside the fence of the park/playground. Maybe they ought to call Channel 2 and get that sign moved too. New parents will do whatever they have to do to protect children. Even go overboard. Which I believe happened in this case. I still stand by my original statement about pedophiles in areas with children. Do a search on the web of pedophiles within a zip code and you’ll see what i am talking about.

    3. mani says:

      Her rights were violated by the sign itself. its called a PUBLIC AREA PARK. and not even that but her tax money paid for the park so therefor its her park and she can sue the city for discriminating. hell i might move to New York sit in the same park and sue them because i cant have kids and its discriminating and it depresses me when i see that sign so it damages my self worth, i can list about 50 things that i can sue the city for. If a parent cant take care of their own kids then DONT HAVE A KID.

  11. Hear, hear! says:

    Shouldn’t those brats be at home obesifying in front of a TV screen, instead of enticing that elderly pedophile?

    1. Joe Bobsmith says:

      Wow, classy

  12. Parks for everyone says:

    Everybody is missing 1 thing… I do NOT see where it says “A police officer asked her to leave” only that the father told her …
    restricting an area for a playground? Good idea
    restricting a park? wrong
    the boys using the areas where people (with and without kids) should be sitting WRONG

  13. Rose says:

    I have sat at that very table in that park on numerous occasions in the hopes of relaxing and reading, while scores of young rowdies play ball in that section, which is clearly is not intended for that purpose. There IS a designated playground section, but these punks refuse to use it. I, too, have gotten hit with their balls on numerous occasions, and not one of these kids or their careless parents have ever offered an apology or instructed their child to do so. Not only is it unfair to the seniors trying to play a game of checkers, or for harried working folks seeking a quiet spot to do some reading, but it is dangerous for the kids to be running wildly in an area that is unsafe and not designated for such activity. I have observed these kids slam into concrete tables and benches in pursuit of their ball, many sustaining injury – and guess who pays for it when their parents file suit with the City? You guessed it – the innocent people like you and I, minding our own business and using the park properly and for its intended purpose. Where are the cops when these young punks and their obnoxious parents misuse City facilities? I guess they are too busy elsewhere chasing old folks.

    1. Mr.Rogers says:

      It Is a Chess table first off, I suppose you could play Checkers on it if you would like. Never once seen someone play an actual game of “checkers” there. The person who said this shouldn’t be a news story is right. The real question is why was the local news crew INSIDE the playground area filming young kids without a permit or permission from the kids parents. It is the Playground area that isn’t supposed to have ppl without kids in it.

      1. Rose says:

        Mr. Rogers… does it make a difference which game – chess or checkers – is played there? Will the stray balls hit people differently if they play chess instead of checkers? What’s your point? I’m in this park every day and I have observed many checker games being played on these “chess tables”. Maybe the cops ought to give out tickets to those misusing the tables to play checkers now that they didn’t win with the old ladies.

      2. Mr. Rogers says:

        Right, because – my point was to restrict freedoms and only play chess right? This story is pointless, awful reporting. Completely avoidable situation, both parties could have been responsible neighbors and walked away from the conflict. Except they insisted on inciting it. The fact the local news even thinks she “fought City Hall and won” is a joke. This all happened on Sunday, and given bureaucracies – it will take forever for the city to get the proper signage up.

  14. TomNJ says:

    So all tax payers can pay for a park, but they cannot go into it if they have no kids with them?

  15. joey from B'hurst says:

    This could be my grandmother or yours. She was not interfering. Who gives these kids the right to create there own baselines based upon tables as set boundaries. If my toddlers were in the park and some teen angers started whacking the ball in my vicinity, I would have to tell that dad nicely, to move along. The playground has its facilities. It does not have any Wiffle ball designated area. I would have asked them to leave, or calm the kids down; otherwise, there would have been a blood bath.

    1. TJ says:

      Get a life guy. Blood bath. I was in Florida once with my kids and was asked to leave a pool which was dedicated to “older people” and not kids. Fine, we left without a peep. Why? because rules are rules. It keeps society tame and at peace. This lady should have walked away quietly. Where exactly are the boys supposed to get loud and roudy if not playing wiffleball in a park. They could have been taught manners and apologized but seriously they were playing wiffleball in a park and she has no kids. What they should do is give an area of the park for folks with no kids. I dont see a problem with that at all. Step one foot into the kids area and you are breaking the law simple.

    2. Danny says:

      Since this playground was built the benches have been used as bases.It wasnt until that woman started harrassing children that it became a problem.I have sat at a table while they are playing and have never had a problem with any of them.But then I will admit when I was a teen I played wiffle ball in the same spot!!
      As for the kids and toddlers, they spend more time keeping the toddlers inside the park then the nannies who arent even paying attention to them are.

  16. Harry says:

    This is not a News item, c’mon CBS it can’t be that bad u have to report minor minor incidents like that in u’r main news page?

  17. Mr.Rogers says:

    I was there, both parties are at fault. The woman moved from the benches to the “base”. The kids were about 5 in number, multiple ages between 9 and 12, they were generally disrespectful period. The father and the old woman both incited this. You would think that after recent crimes in the neighborhood – people would have a little more respect for each other. Ms.Molest was right to have the rules delineated, but she sucks otherwise. Father too.

    1. Robert says:

      If you were there, did you see how the children were playing in an area all by themselves with no-one but us sitting at any of the benches and once they started playing the woman then moved to the middle of the area?I also agree that is a good thing that the parks department cleared up the rules.I did ask her quite a few times if she would please move back to where she was, but she was just trying to cause trouble.And none of the children spoke to her directly in any way.And again just to clarify, she lied when she stated she was hit by the wiffle ball.

    2. Mr. Rogers says:

      Well, it bounced near her right? I am sure she saw that as enough to generate this conflict. She had an agenda, pure and simple. Robert next time take your kids to an actual ball-field, and teach them to respect elders – you too. Know when to walk away. You perpetuated an un-needed disturbance.

  18. Robert says:

    First of all, not only was she not hit with the wiffle ball, but she actually sat in a different area and only got up and moved to second base once the children started playing thier game.This is a group of youngsters who have been playing in this park since they were little just like thier parents did. No one disrespected her.She was the one who started yelling at the children, not realizing that this time they had an adult with them to defend them from her tirade.Unfortunatly because she is elderly everyone assumes that the children must have been at fault.Also, she was the one that forced the police to evict her from the playground.

    1. Sally Hoffmann says:

      They “forced her to leave” incorrectly. “The majority of the park is a passive sitting area with trees and shrubs, and senior citizens as well as all members of the public are welcome to sit there. We will move the signage indicating the no adults in playground rule away from the park entrance at East 91st Street and move it closer to the physical playground, to avoid any future confusion.”

  19. badman says:

    everybody in this story is a crybaby – the old lady, the brat kids and the dbag father.

    1. I'm gonna greenlight this one says:

      That reads like the tagline to a Lifetime movie event!

  20. James Johnson says:

    I like the idea of that restaurant in Philadelphia that bans children.

  21. Sally Hoffmann says:

    It’s a PARK WITH A PLAYGROUND. The playground portion of the area prohibits adults w/out kids not the park itself. Read the sign. The sign also says that people are to be courteous and respectful to other. Daddy dearest should be ashamed of himself and his brat.

  22. RS says:

    Terrorized??? Come on Mr. Konzen, get over yourself. The woman is 73 years old. Your child to keep trying to hit this woman with a wiffle ball tells me what kind of a parent you are. You are raising a brat and disrespectful child. Get over it.

  23. RS says:

    Ahhh, what is that saying, “the assylum is being run by the inmates”. Yes, that is what we as a society have become. Being the mother of a young child, I find it ludicrous that such a sign is put up. It is a park for all to enjoy. This woman pays her taxes and should sit in her park! Parent’s should be with their children when they play in a public playground. Unfortunately, today we can’t leave our children alone like in days past. BUT, that’s what parenting is! It’s our job! Those kids are rude and a product of their parent’s who obviously are rude too. I don’t care what that father posted and says, you don’t let your kids be disrespectful to adults. They should have handled it.

  24. Sigmund says:

    “The parks department isn’t to blame, but the so called ” FATHER”, who does not respect or teach his children to respect the elderly or woman or anyone besides their selfish selves.”

    Sums it up right here.

  25. Paolo says:

    Excellent comment Trisha!

  26. Billy says:

    I gace the same type of park where I live in lower Manhattan and the same rules apply.
    Never mind I raised all of my kids in that park.
    The cops also throw the kids out of the basketball courts after 11pm curfew.
    But there is no curfew down the block where the drugs are being sold all night
    very sad

  27. Trisha says:

    It says playground not park. Reading comprehension anyone??????
    Playground, a place with children’s play equipment.
    The parks department isn’t to blame, but the so called ” FATHER”, who does not respect or teach his children to respect the elderly or woman or anyone besides their selfish selves.

    1. mo says:

      What are you talking about?!? It’s a PLAYGROUND, not a LIBRARY. If the woman wanted to read, I’m sure there is plenty of space to do so. These kids wanted to PLAY in the PLAYground. Who’s being selfish here? The adult or the children?

      1. nolan says:

        i’m sorry, but you are wrong…’s a playground for children and adults with children. she was neither. stop whining and learn to read……if she wanted to sit and read she should have brought a child with her….LEARN TO READ.

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