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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
  • Charges of Open and Gross Lewdness do not Issue After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    A few months ago police in a Boston suburb were called to a store for a report of a man exposing himself to young female employees. The police learned that the man would enter the store, sit with his back towards the victims and lower his pants exposing his buttocks. The police interrogated him and he admitted to having done this and that he had done so in other stores in the area. Security video confirmed the reports of the female employees and a summons for open and gross lewdness under G.L. c 272 section 16 was issued. Attorney Neyman represented the man at the clerk magistrate hearing earlier today and convinced the magistrate not to issue the felony complaint. 

    Read More in Sex Crimes 

  • Two Cases Charging Open and Gross Lewdness Continued Without a Finding

    In April and May of 2023 our client was arrested and charged with open and gross lewdness, a felony in Massachusetts governed by G.L. c. 272 section 16. The allegations in both cases are very similar. In the first case, our client was driving through suburban Boston city street. He pulled up to a stop sign and got the attention of a young woman. When she approached his car she noticed that he had no pants on, his penis was exposed and erect. As to the second case, the victim reported that our client engaged in similar conduct however this time he was manipulating his erect penis. The cases were joined for pretrial purposes. We had our client meet with a forensic psychologist, something that we often recommend in cases like this one. The doctor identified triggers for our client prompting this type of behavior. Moreover, with therapy and abstention from the substances that cause this behavior the doctor believed that this would not happen again. Consequently, the judge agreed to continue these matters without a finding (CWOF). Provided our client remains free from criminal legal problems the case will be dismissed. 

    Read More in Sex Crimes

  • Motion to Dismiss Open and Gross Lewdness Case Against Physician Allowed

    Our client is a physician with a large practice in a Boston suburb. A few months ago, on a weekend day, he was in his office engaging in sexual acts with a woman. The business is closed on weekends. When he got to the building only his car and the woman's were in the parking lot. The sexual acts were conducted in the office with the shades partially open. Two women parked in the lot and walked towards the door of the building. They observed the two having sex and called the police. For some unknown reason, our client alone was charged with open and gross lewdness under G.L. c. 272 section 16. This is a felony in Massachusetts. We filed a motion to dismiss the charges arguing that the law requires the act to be intentionally directed to someone. Here, the defendant and the woman had no idea that they were being watched nor were they acting recklessly so as to disregard a substantial risk of public exposure. The judge agreed with our argument and dismissed the case. 

    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