NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man who dresses up in Times Square as Woody, the cowboy character from “Toy Story,” testified Tuesday that he did not grab the buttocks of three women last year, as they alleged to cops.

Jose Vasquez is on trial after allegedly groping the women who posed for photos with him in January 2014. He is charged with three counts of attempted forcible touching and three counts of sexual abuse.

On cross-examination in Manhattan Supreme Court, prosecutor Jesse Matthews asked Vazquez if it was true that he told an officer that one of the women asked him to grab her during a photo, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.

“No,” Vazquez said.

On Monday, police Officer Shreegan Meade testified that he saw one woman standing directly in front of the costumed character suddenly jump and scream: “He grabbed my butt! I can’t believe he did that!”

The defense argued that it was consensual touching. The prosecutor responded that grabbing the rear ends of three women in three seperate incidents is not consistent with consent.

Costumed characters in Times Square have made repeated headlines for less-than-wholesome reasons in recent years.

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 and an Elmo being arrested for allegedly harassing people and yelling anti-Semitic slurs.


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