NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a new call for increased regulations in Times Square after a 14-year-old reported being forcibly touched by a man dressed in an Elmo costume.
They showed video Monday of some interactions with costumed characters.
In one instance, a man is approached by two characters. He jumps on a bench to get out of their way.
In others, characters approach families and put their arms around children.
The Alliance says 47 percent of New Yorkers have reported “unpleasant interaction” in the area around 42nd Street. They’re asking the City Council to work on additional regulations and legislation to define which interactions are appropriate.
“It’s a commercial activity. It’s reasonable for the city to say ‘This is how we’re going to regulate it,’ said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “This is Times Square. Quirky is fine. Creepy is not. That’s what we’ve always said.”
A 54-year-old man from New Jersey was arrested Saturday and charged with forcible touching.
Police said he groped the 14-year-old after she refused to take a picture with him. The man’s name has not been released.
The Alliance says if you go out with your camera today, you won’t see as much of this, because the characters are aware of the arrest and have apparently backed off.