NY Man Arrested for Displaying 7-foot 'Yard Dick' in Dispute with Local Officials

Saturday July 4, 2020

Statues are being taken down throughout the country for political reasons. But what is surely the most unusual instance of a statue — in this case one of a seven-foot wooden penis — being taken down happened in upstate New York last month.

On June 6 Wilton resident Jamie Gagne erected a 7-foot penis in mid-June due to an issue he was having with town. His plans for a workshop, television station WNYT reported on their website, were denied by local officials because they weren't up to code and they issued a stop order.

For an extensive report on the Gagne's issues with the town (and to see the wooden penis), visit this webpage.

"Gagne said he has been trying to comply,"reported the Glens Falls newspaper The Post Star, "but town officials have not been responsive. He decided to carve a 7-foot replica of a penis out of a pine tree and put it on the front lawn of his Ruggles Road home as a form of protest."

He told WNYT that people laughed when they passed by and he encouraged them to take pictures.

"The Yard Dick just brightens up peoples day, they're just on autopilot driving to work," he wrote on the wiltonwoody posting. "... The D brightens peoples days, especially in this turbulent epoch of pandemic and fire in the streets, months of isolation followed by riots and chaos and racial divide."

"So he was a little surprised when state troopers showed up Thursday (June 18) saying they'd gotten a complaint and told him to take it down."

He complied and moved it to his back yard; then changed his mind and moved it back to the front with a large sign reading "Adults Only."

But he was also arrested in the interim "troopers handcuffed him and charged him with a public display of offensive sexual material," reported WNYT.

"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.

"It's just a giant piece of wood,"Gagne 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."

"Gagne said he has a First Amendment right to display the statue and plans to fight the charge," reports the Post Star.

On the day before his arrest, Gagne started a GoFundMe page, "Yard dick and the fight for Free Expression," to raise $5000 in which he says is a fight for his first amendment right of free expression.

"This is now a battle for the first amendment, our most precious and important right as Americans," he writes on the page.

"Unfortunately for them, my art and I are or extraordinary firmness, and we will not submit. I look forward to seeing you in court. old story: The town revoked my building permit for no good reason. They've allied themselves with the new neighbor of just a couple years to wage war against me and mine. I've laid claim and defended this land for 20 years! I've retaliated within the confines of the law. They've lashed out and doubled down. It's getting messy, supplies are running out, rations are low, morale is waning. I need a resupply and reinforcements, I need to unleash the shark.... There's way too much to go over in such a small text box. Get all the gory details over at WiltonWoody.com."

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