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Wilton man arrested for displaying wooden penis statue in front yard

Mark Mulholland
Updated: June 19, 2020 10:32 PM
Created: June 19, 2020 05:54 PM

WILTON - Jamie Gagne has lived on Ruggles Road for 10 years.

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He recently found himself in a dispute with the town of Wilton over plans for his workshop, which the town says aren't up to code. So they have issued a stop work order.

"I just want to live in peace and finish my workshop," Gagne said Friday.

Gagne says he's eager to do what's needed, but says the town has been ignoring his communication.

However, the wooden statue he placed in his front yard was hard to ignore. He carved a seven-foot penis out of a pine tree and placed it on his front lawn.

He says people passing by laughed. He put up a sign encouraging them to take pictures.

So he was a little surprised when state troopers showed up Thursday saying they'd gotten a complaint and told him to take it down.

Gagne complied with state police and moved the statue into his backyard. He's since returned it to the front lawn and placed it behind a sign with the words "Adults Only" spray painted in red.
 
That was after he was arrested. The troopers handcuffed him and charged him with a public display of offensive sexual material.

"This is trying to protect the issue of potential exploitation in a sexual manner, particularly as it relates to protecting children," said Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen.

Gagne doesn't think the statue applies.

"It's just a giant piece of wood," he said. "You think about going to a park and there's a statue of a little boy peeing or there's a marble statue of a bare-breasted woman."

He said he plans to fight the charge.  

"This is a clear First Amendment right. One person is offended versus dozens of people that were complimenting me," he said.

Gagne's attorney, Bill White, said Friday evening that his client intends to come into "complete compliance" with the Town of Wilton, but said he hadn't had an opportunity to review the criminal charge against him.

Wilton Supervisor John Lant told NewsChannel 13 Friday he's happy to have the statue down, and he "didn't think it was a good way to express anger."


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