The New York Criminal Law Blog

Cookie Monster Assaults, Endangers Toddler in Times Square?

The Cookie Monsters and Elmos in Times Square might be fuzzy, but they are definitely not warm. A Cookie Monster performer from Queens was arrested on Sunday for allegedly pushing a toddler and shouting obscenities at his mother over a tip dispute. Not too long ago, a man dressed as Elmo from "Sesame Street" was arrested for hurling anti-Semitic slurs at tourists, USA Today reports.

The fuzzy entrepreneurs try to make a few bucks by posing for photos with tourists. But sometimes, the green and blue frienemies try to score green by assaulting and endangering children.

This particular Cookie Monster, otherwise known as Osvaldo Quiroz-Lopez, who commutes to Sesame Street from Queens, has been charged with assault, child endangerment and aggressive begging, USA Today reports. He allegedly demanded $2 for posing with a woman's child, shoved the child and proceeded to berate the woman and her child with obscene names.

Assault & Battery

The definitions for assault vary from state-to-state, but here, the assault charge came about from Quiroz-Lopez's threats or threatening behavior against the mother and child.

In fact, the hardscrabble rendition of Cookie Monster also battered the child. A battery occurs when your childhood hero:

  • Intentionally touches you,
  • The touching is harmful or offensive;
  • With no consent from you.

Cookie Monster intentionally touched the child, but was the touching harmful or offensive to the child and without the child's permission? The answer, USA Today reports, comes straight from the babe's mouth: "Cookie Monster give me boo-boo." Sad face.

Child Endangerment

Child endangerment occurs when an adult's recklessness or indifference endangers the health or life of a child.

In this case, pushing a child can be physical abuse and calling a child foul names can be emotional abuse. Quiroz-Lopez's physical and verbal conduct against the child could constitute child endangerment.

Cookie Monster might go into quite the sugar withdrawal because he could be imprisoned up to one year for a child endangerment conviction.

Aggressive Begging

Street performers are protected by the First Amendment and are free to seek tips (usually averaging $2 to $5) for photo-ops in Times Square. However, the performers cannot block traffic, sell merchandise or demand payment.

In this case, Cookie Monster's demand for payment is an offense that can cost about $60.

If you know what's good for you, you'll keep your cookies to yourself in Times Square.

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