Melrose man summonsed for indecent assault and battery

MELROSE, MASS. (WHDH) - A Melrose man is facing indecent assault and battery charges after multiple women and girls say they were inappropriately touched over the last week, police said.

The 48-year-old man, who may suffer from mental health issues or a developmental disability, will be summonsed to Malden District Court May 24 on two counts of assault and battery, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, and a charge of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14.

Melrose police officers responding to a report of a suspicious person outside a coffee shop on Main Street Tuesday at 3:03 p.m. found the suspect sitting in a chair inside, according to police. The man didn’t understand English and appeared to be intoxicated, police said.

A police investigation determined the man habitually dropped coins on the ground and, as he picked them up, would rub his forehead on the legs of women and girls who were passing by.

At least five women and girls have come forward to make reports against him — three at the coffee shop and two at the supermarket, according to police.

The man was issued a “no trespass” order for the coffee shop and the supermarket and will be arrested if he returns, police said.

“Providing law enforcement service to those living with mental health issues, developmental and intellectual disabilities is one of the most challenging aspects of our job, and it must be done in a deliberative manner and on a case-by-case basis, as every situation presents new and unique challenges to police and the public,” Melrose Police Chief Micheal L. Lyle said in a statement. “In this instance, the police supervisor in charge decided on a course of action, and I agree with his decision. We have multiple victims filing complaints and a suspect with significant communication barriers. In this case, we rely on the guidance and resources of the courts and specialists, including state agencies, on how to adjudicate this case.”

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