Any woman who has ever been pregnant can probably sympathize with a Frankfort, Pennsylvania woman who got so frustrated with people rubbing her belly that she decided to file charges. After a neighbor approached the woman and rubbed her belly without asking, she filed a police report. The man could end up paying a fine for rubbing the woman’s belly.
According to Yahoo!, an official with the Pennsylvania State Police said that 57-year-old Richard J. Beishline touched the 30-year-old pregnant woman earlier this month. The two are neighbors and Beishline reportedly hugged Michelle Troutman and said, “I just want to be friends.” He then rubbed her belly, which prompted Troutman to push him away and call the police.
— WorkExpBlog (@WorkExpBlog) October 29, 2013
Pennsylvania’s harassment law covers unwanted touching like this, so Beishline could very well pay a fine (or worse) if he is found guilty. “Pennsylvania law defines harassment as engaging in conduct that harasses, annoys, or alarms a person,” Pennsylvania attorney Phil DiLucente said. “That’s always been the law, whether someone is pregnant or not, but this is the first time to my knowledge it’s been used in such a way.”
Don’t think that simply touching a pregnant woman’s belly one time in Pennsylvania will necessarily land you in a mountain of legal trouble. According to DiLucente, Troutman will have to prove a “course of conduct,” meaning she will have to prove the unwanted touching happened multiple times. If the incident happened just one time, Beishline may receive a simple criminal citation and pay a fine, which is no more serious than a traffic ticket.
The case is being widely debated on Facebook and Twitter, with many women saying that rubbing a pregnant woman’s belly is no big deal, while others say it’s a huge violation of personal space. Jennifer Bosse, a mother of two, called the situation “tricky.”
“Elderly grandmother that exclaims excitedly and touches your belly for the briefest of moments? Maybe mildly annoying but not a crime. Scary woman or man that grabs at your belly and continues to jiggle you around long after the first no? Crime,” Bosse said.
Another woman, Dani Mathes, says that this is much ado about nothing. “Annoying? Sure. Illegal? Heck no. We can’t have laws for everything. We already complain about having so many laws for minor crap.” What do you think about the pregnant belly rubbing issue? Respond below.
— Nic S (@candycoatednic) October 29, 2013
[Image via YouTube]
I'm going to be a bitchy pregnant lady. Don't touch my belly without asking please and thank you.
— A-lurk-ia Marie (@_lexilove) October 29, 2013