ROME – Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says he is sending a message by not offering Clarence Locke Jr. a plea deal.
Police say Locke slapped a Denny’s waitress’ butt at 12:20 p.m. on May 21, and it was caught on the restaurant's surveillance video.
Locke is charged with forcible touching, a misdemeanor. Locke pleaded not guilty to the charge Monday morning in Rome City Court, and the prosecution said there is no plea deal being offered.
McNamara says he is trying to send a message, not only to Locke, but to anyone he says would treat another individual the way the Denny's waitress was treated.
“I don't think the judge will send him to jail based on his record and all that, and his age, everything put together, but it is meant to send a message,” McNamara said.
Locke and his public defender objected to WKTV’s request to allow cameras in the courtroom for Monday's arraignment. Locke did tell us as he was exiting the courtroom that he is surprised that this case has received so much publicity, even in Europe, as the case has made news in an English newspaper.
"If this was 20 years ago, people would be laughing,” Locke said.
McNamara says that may actually be the case, but things have definitely changed, especially in the last couple of years when it comes to women being subjected to sexual harassment.
"This is wrong. It was wrong then and it's wrong now, and finally the inertia of the #MeToo movement is changing, it's changing our society for the better, especially for women in the workplace."
It appears this case will head to trial unless Locke pleads guilty. His public defender now has two weeks before he must present his motions to the judge. Those motions are due on June 18.
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