Posting Phone Number at a Train Station Stating to Call for Sexual Activities

In People v. Diraimondo (174 Misc 2d 937 [Dist Ct, Nassau County 1997]) the complainant received several telephone calls asking for sexual favors after the defendant posted signs at a train station stating that "4 Hot Easy Sex" or for other specified sexual acts to call the complainant's phone number. The Diraimondo court rejected the defendant's argument that the information was facially insufficient because it did not sufficiently allege that the defendant communicated or caused a communication to be initiated. Focusing on the clause "or causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise," the court concluded that the allegations in the information were sufficient to establish that the defendant's acts caused the obscene telephone communications. (Supra, at 939.) Penal Law 240.30 (1) originally addressed only a person who "communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication." An amendment in 1969 added the parenthetical phrase "or causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise" after the word communicates. (People v. Viau, 50 NY2d 1052, 1053 [1980].) That amendment was mainly directed at those defendants who used a machine to initiate or repeatedly make telephone calls. (Supra; People v. Diraimondo, 174 Misc 2d, supra, at 939.) Defendant Diraimondo had argued that the phrase was intended to cover only communication initiated by mechanical or electronic means, but the court, relying upon the words "or otherwise," rejected that argument. (People v. Diraimondo, supra.)