The New York Criminal Law Blog

Men Are Pigs: Gas Shortage Leads to Offers to 'Fill Your Tank'

The storms came with a fury. Buildings were leveled, looters raided flooded pharmacies, and Breezy Point burned down. Gas shortages resulted in miles-long lines of people desperate to power their generators to survive the cold of an inbound Nor'easter.

Through storms and sunshine, one constant that we can depend on is that men will take advantage of any situation. Enter craigslist. Buzzfeed shares the ads of 13 people attempting to exchange gas for sexual favors. One man offers to generously "fill your tank." Others mention that they own the gas station. 

Is it despicable to capitalize on a natural disaster? Yeah. Is it predictable? Totally. Is it illegal? Quite possibly.

Offering compensation for sexual acts, even if it is in the form of bartering, qualifies as patronizing a prostitute. Until recently, that was only a crime if the prostitute was 17 years of age or younger. Now, patronizing any prostitute is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail.

Though the statute does not define "sexual conduct," that forms the basis of the crime, some prior cases have classified activities such as lap dances, intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, and masturbation in defining sexual conduct.

That means Mr. Gas Station owner that was seeking a stripper better stand at least a few feet from his gas-seeking customer. Or better yet, just ask for cash or Visa.

Will these apparent crimes be prosecuted? One hopes. Then again, who are we kidding? The NYPD has much more important things to worry about than creepy gas station owners and lonely gas hoarders.

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