A New York judge sentenced a repeat sex offender to three years in prison Tuesday after the man was convicted of molesting eight women and teen girls in Brooklyn laundromats over the course of four years.
Assistant District Attorney Olatokunbo Olaniyan had asked Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice to give 29-year-old Lowell Britt a longer sentence.
But, as the New York Daily News reports, Del Giudice said he was sympathetic to Britt’s argument that he suffered from a mental illness for which the New York prison system offered no program to help treat.
Britt was arrested in April 2013. He had been wanted for six incidents in which victims said he entered a laundromat, exposed himself and then rubbed against them, according to a New York Post story written at the time of his arrest.
The first incident occurred in July 2010 in which he victimized a 19-year-old woman. He then molested two 14-year-old girls and a 16-year-old girl in 2012. And in March 2014 he attacked three additional women.
A recent New York Post story reported he was also convicted of masturbating in front of a 13-year-old girl.
Britt told the judge he suffered from frotteurism, a disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and characterized by a strong desire to seek sexual stimulation by rubbing against a person in a public place without that person’s consent.
Britt, who is already serving time for a previous sex-crime conviction, told the judge he was diagnosed with the condition last year and had not previously known what was wrong with him. He said because the New York prison system did not have a frotteurism treatment program he should receive a lighter sentence so he can seek help.
“I’ve done time without knowing what’s wrong with me,” Britt told Del Giudice. “I’m looking forward to having professional help to work on myself. My concern is not victimizing anyone else.”
Olaniyan didn’t buy the argument, and told Del Giudice he would like to see a sentence of 10 years given Britt’s history.
“The time for mercy has passed and now is the time for justice,” Olaniyan said.
Despite Olaniyan’s pleas and the letters of victims, written to the court asking for a harsh sentence, Del Giudice sided with Britt.
He said he saw no point in “warehousing” Britt for 10 years with no goal or possibility of rehabilitation.
“I’m convinced your conduct is based on a psychological disorder … none of the treatments he had were applicable to his particular mental disorder,” Del Giudice said.
Britt will serve three years in prison, concurrent with another sentence for an earlier crime.
After his release Britt will have to undergo private treatment for the condition, which could cost him over $60,000. He will also be subject to 15 years of post-release supervision and be required to register as a sex offender.