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Open and Gross Lewd and Lascivious Behavior

Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior is proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 16.  This type of behavior includes the deliberate exposure of buttocks, genitalia or female breasts.

To convict a defendant of this offense, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Exposed her/his buttocks, genitals or female breasts to one or more persons;
  2. Did so intentionally;
  3. Did so openly, meaning that he/she either intended exposure to the public or had a reckless disregard for a substantial risk of public exposure. "Openly" only refers to the intent that the act be witnessed by the unwilling. It does not necessarily mean and does not require that the behavior take place in a public locale;
  4. Did so in a way to produce shock or distress; and
  5. Actually caused one or more persons shock or distress because of the exposure.

Charges of open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior often involve public masturbation. The law is designed to punish those who impose lewdness on unwilling people, and it does not apply to constitutionally protected expressions. It also does not apply to sexual acts that take place in an area where one can reasonably expect privacy. For example, if another person accidentally sees you engaging in a sex act through the window of your home, this would likely not amount to open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior. Indecent exposure, which is a crime under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 S53, is a lesser included offense of open and gross lewdness.


If you are convicted of this offense, you face imprisonment in the state prison for up to three years or in jail for up to two years or a fine of up to $300. As such, it is a felony that is significantly more serious than the misdemeanor of indecent exposure.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Stephen Neyman has handled numerous cases involving open and gross lewdness over the course of more than 20 years. He knows exactly how to defend against these kinds of charges, and as a former prosecutor, he also has invaluable insight into how district attorneys will approach such cases. With Attorney Neyman on your side, you will absolutely have the best representation possible.

Tough Criminal Defense Tempered by Reason

Attorney Neyman is a tough lawyer who fights aggressively in all cases. He uses every strategy and the full extent of his capabilities to attack the charges that threaten his clients' futures. As an intuitive individual, he also knows how to approach people and situations in ways that will benefit his clients.

Excellence Reflected in Results

Attorney Neyman encourages prospective clients to browse his case results page, as he feels that his results mirror the superior work that he does.

Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. 617-263-6800

At the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C., Attorney Neyman and his staff of talented professionals are committed to safeguarding the rights of those accused of crimes in Massachusetts. Call Attorney Neyman's office at 617-263-6800 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or contact him online.

Case Results » Open and Gross Lewd and Lascivious Behavior
  • Charge of Open and Gross Lewdness to be Dismissed

    The defendant is a college graduate with several graduate degrees. He works in the high tech industry. On July 7, 2020 a woman living in his neighborhood was walking her dog. Her attention was drawn to an open window. She was able to see a man standing, naked from his neck to his knees masturbating. She went to the police to report the incident. Officers conducted a search of their files and recognized that a similar complaint was made about this same person two years earlier. The officers contacted the man and asked him to go to the police station for an interview. He did. During the interview he admitted to having committed this act. He was charged with open and gross lewdness, a felony under G.L. c. 272 section 16. He hired our office. Over the objection of the district attorney's office we were able to get this case continued without a finding. Should the man remain free of criminal legal problems for one year all charges will be dismissed. 

    Read More in Sex Crimes

  • Charges of Lewd Wanton and Lascivious Conduct Against Film Editor to be Dismissed

    The defendant is a film editor with multiple college and postgraduate degrees who has recently been working on films in the Boston area. In May of this year the man was observed by a middle aged woman masturbating in broad daylight in his car. The woman believed that the man was targeting his actions towards her. She confronted the man who told her he would be back at the same time the next day. The woman reported this to the police. The police placed a decoy female officer at the same location the next day. As promised, the defendant returned and committed the same act, this time towards the undercover officer. He was arrested and provided a full detailed confession stating that he had done this between ten and fifteen times. The man was charged with committing lewd, wanton and lascivious conduct in violation of G.L. c. 272 Section 53. He hired Attorney Neyman to represent him. We had the defendant evaluated by a forensic psychologist specializing in this type of conduct. Based on the evaluation we were able to convince the judge and the prosecutor that a continuance without a finding was the appropriate disposition for this case. After a brief period of probation all charged will be dismissed. 

    Read More in Continuance Without a Finding

  • Charges of Lewd Wanton and Lascivious Behavior Withdrawn at Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    The defendant is a professional living just outside of Portland, Maine. In early September of 2018 he came to Massachusetts to attend the Pearl Jam concert. He got a flat tire on a highway and pulled off the highway to check the status of the flat. While doing so the man began to urinate in a residential driveway. The homeowner saw our client's genitalia and the act. She complained that her young children had seen this activity. She called the police. The defendant left and drove on the flat tire to a nearby tire store. The police located him there and questioned him. He admitted to having committed this crime and a summons for a clerk magistrate hearing for violating G.L. c. 272 Section 53, lewd, wanton and lascivious behavior issued. Attorney Neyman was hired. Today, at the clerk magistrate hearing, we were able to get the charges withdrawn.

    Read More in Sex Crimes

Client Reviews
"We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case." A.C. Boston, Massachusetts
"I hired him and he got the case dismissed before I had to go into a courtroom. My school never found out and if they had I would have lost my academic scholarships. He really saved my college career." Melissa C. Cold Spring, New York, October 2013
"My union rep told me to call Steve Neyman. From the get go I felt comfortable with him. He took the time to talk to me about my case whenever I needed .... He even gave me his personal cell number and took all my calls. We won the case and I kept my job." Bart L. S.
"The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life." Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
"In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record." Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts