A partner at Manhattan law firm Hughs, Hubbard & Reed has been arraigned on charges he masturbated while watching a gym worker. Equinox currently faces lawsuits comprising dozens of complaints from members claiming the company ignores sexually inappropriate behavior of its wealthy and famous clients.
Public lewdness charge
Steven Hammond faces charges of public lewdness and exposure of a person, which could result in jail sentences of up to three months. The litigator was enjoying the sauna at the Wall Street gym about 4.30 am on June 29 when he allegedly began to stroke himself while winking at the staff member, according to the victim and court papers. According to a statement by the employee in the New York Post, ‘I went into the steam room, I saw that gentleman sitting there, so I sat down and he looked at me, and then he started to jerk off.’ He said Mr Hammond stared at him and continued to gratify himself for at least a minute. The employee said he was discouraged by management from reporting the incident but eventually went to police.
The other Equinox lawsuits include claims the company ignores lewd behavior, and even sexual assault, inside its steam rooms. The employee told the newspaper, ‘it’s really discouraging for me because I work for a company that doesn’t support me,’ adding he’s seen managers work ‘10 times harder to help people’ who have lost their cellphones. The gym sent customers an e-mail Thursday outlining house rules warning against ‘inappropriate behavior.’ Attorney Marc Held, who represents the Equinox Wall Street victim, said ‘it’s still going on every single day, and it’s a crime.’ The employee’s name is being withheld due to the nature of the charges. Judge Sandra Roper released Mr Hammond without bail and issued an order of protection for his accuser. Mr Hammond’s lawyer Isabelle Kirshner said he ‘vehemently denies these specious charges and intends to launch a full and complete defence.’