Pittsfield man charged with lewdness for allegedly being nude in yard


PITTSFIELD -- A man police say stood in his yard naked staring at his neighbor while she was gardening remains free after denying two felony charges.

A 52-year-old woman told police she was shocked when at about 6:30 p.m. Monday her neighbor, James M. Barthe, 54, of Howe Road, came out into his backyard that adjoins hers completely nude. She said she believed Barthe wanted her to look at him. The woman immediately ran into her home, she said.

Police said there are no fences or bushes between the two properties.

This was the second such incident in two weeks, the woman told police. She didn't call police the first time it happened, according to a probable cause report.

Police said they were told other neighbors have had similar experiences with Barthe and more charges may be filed against the defendant.

When officers were interviewing the woman and her family, Barthe was seen walking toward her house carrying a flower pot. When questioned by police he said he had decided to bring her flowers from his own garden as a gift.

Police said Barthe smelled like alcohol and he admitted having consumed a six pack of beer. He was arrested and booked on two felony sex offenses.

Police said Barthe has had several other court cases involving similar charges.

On Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court, Barthe denied two counts of open and gross lewdness and was released on his own recognizance by Judge Michael J. Ripps with the condition he have no intentional contact with the complaining witness.

Barthe is due back in court with attorney Thomas J. Donohue Jr. for a pretrial conference on Sept. 11.


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