The highest court in Massachusetts has determined that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of women riding the Boston subway did not violate state law because the women were not "nude or partially nude."
The case deals with a man, Michael Robertson, who was arrested in a 2010 sting by transit police following reports that he was taking such photos on the "T."
The court said so-called "Peeping Tom" laws protect people from being photographed in dressing rooms and bathrooms when nude or partially nude, but the way the law is written does not protect clothed people in public areas.
The SJC decision says a woman on the MBTA "wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is 'partially nude." The court said while such actions should be illegal, the way state law is written they are not.
Suffolk County prosecutors say they want the state legislature to re-write the law, a request House Speaker Robert DeLeo said lawmakers are working on.
Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray slammed the ruling in a statement, saying society has "fought too hard and too long for women's rights to take the step backward that they did today," she said.
"I am in disbelief that the courts would come to this kind of decision and outraged at what it means for women's privacy and public safety in the Commonwealth."