June 12th, 2012
10:58 AM ET

Massachusetts town puts $20 fine on profanity

The residents of Middleborough, Massachusetts, have had enough of this *#%@&!

And on Monday night they voted to make those who curse put their money where their potty mouths are - to the sum of $20, that is.

Police in the town of 22,000 will be writing tickets bearing fines in that amount to those who foul its public places with profanity after residents voted 183-50 Monday night that they were mad as *#%@& and weren't going to take it anymore.

Overheard on CNN.com: What the $%#;!? Choice words for town's profanity fine

"If I didn't hear 10 kids drop the F-bombs between my store and a block and half I would be shocked," local business owner Mimi Duphily told CNN affiliate WHDH. She was one of those who pushed for cops to clean up the *#%@&.

Not everyone was pleased with the plan.

“This comes under the context of trying to legislate morality or good parenting,” resident Adam Bond told those gathered at the annual town meeting Monday night, in the town that calls itself the "cranberry capital of the world."

So what words are over the line in Middlleborough?

That will be at the discretion of police, but they'll be directing their enforcement efforts at those using profanity to accost others, Officer Steven Nelson said Tuesday.

“It's not going to be just someone walking down the street dropping the F-bomb; it's going to be when you're actually making it uncomfortable for everyone else,” Duphily told WHDH.

Note that Middleborough is only 38 miles from Boston and Fenway Park, where Red Sox fans bestowed a profane nickname on New York Yankee Bucky Dent after the light-hitting shortstop homered in the seventh inning of a tiebreaker game in 1978.

Call him Bucky "Bleeping" Dent in Middleborough and it'll cost you $20.

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Filed under: Crime • Massachusetts
soundoff (500 Responses)
  1. Selfish IsADisease

    Does that mean I can openly call for you to be whipped in a public place for being an offensive creep who is one chromosome removed from a potato?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Selfish is a Disease: Yes, one can call for the whipping, but, to incit others to actually do it, is another crime altogether!

      June 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Hey... you're insulting the spud!

      June 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Potatoes actually have more chromosomes than humans.

      June 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • FrozenChosen

      Yes, you can. And I can ignore you.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nomad

    What if you curse and then do not help a citizen in need. Will you get fined and go to prison for failing their "duty to rescue"

    June 12, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Primal 4 Life

    Sorry not legal, period.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Boo

    This cannot be legal.....

    June 12, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. snowdogg

    “This comes under the context of trying to legislate morality or good parenting,”

    By the time teens are chilling in public... it is too late to influence their morals. The pop culture they follow is awash in profanity... like do you know what I mean?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. massmom

    The reason this was enacted was because there was a problem with some of the youth in town running around and yelling profanities to each other across the street. I think it is a strange way of dealing with it, but does anyone else have any better ideas?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • SusieKJ

      Residents telling the kids to "knock it off" or "hey, watch your mouth".

      June 12, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      You want a better idea? How about some good parenting?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Noocrat

      Being a better massmom.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • DisabledVet

      Um yeah...I have a better suggestion! Ignore it...GROW UP. America is not about me having to make you happy with listening to what I say! I COULD CARE LESS whether you like my profanity or not! As a DISABLED VET, I have earned the right say what ever I want at anytime! If you don't like it, turn around and walk the other way. You have NO RIGHTS at all to DICTATE what someone can say! This is NOT legal and will not stand for long!

      June 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Imp

      Yes MassMom, yelling across a street would fall under disturbing the peace. Which has to do with the way you speak, not what you say.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kels

      I feel like every town with a considerable number of teenagers will have that problem. I do agree that this is a very strange way of dealing with that problem, though.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Selfish IsADisease

    Only in America would you find liberal trailer trash objecting to decency and moral standards.
    Your country is going to he11 in a handbasket because you focus on freedom of everything except what even HINTS at self-control or the good of your country!

    It's greed and selfishness that wrecked your economy and world standing – and you're objecting to a small measure of expectation of self-control in public???????

    June 12, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • SusieKJ

      Selfish – so the 1st Amendment is a liberal problem? Are you serious? I happen to be a mother to a tween who constantly hears cuss words on the bus or at school, even though there is an honor code that prohibits it. My children do not swear, but I don't prohibit them from doing so. I tell them that they are grown up words and should only be used by grown ups, but that there are very few "bad" words in this world. Parents should be stepping in, but I will tell you this, I live in a primarily Republican district and my kids are bombarded with cuss words, so your sanctimonius "liberal" comment is way off.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • DJL

      It's called defending the 1st Amendment, you know that thing the Republicans are always trying to step on.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • PR1958

      "Your country is going to he11 in a handbasket "

      How ironic your rant about our country may have cost you $20 if you said it on the streets of Middleborough and a cop who was having a bad day overheard you. BTW, do the police actually have to witness it, or can I just call them and tell them someone I don't like just swore so fine them?

      June 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisabledVet

      Selfish – The PROBLEM with your comment is that YOU are trying to FORCE YOUR definition of "DECENCY AND MORAL STANDARDS" on others! That is UNACCEPTABLE. What I may think is decent and moral may not fit YOUR mold. SO WHO ARE YOU to tell me?! I am a 4th generation military veteran that is also a disabled vet. I LEARNED to curse in the military! So...it has nothing to do with selfishness! It has to do with differences of opinions and definitions of behaviors.

      June 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alex in NJ

    Whether it makes sense or not, which I can see the arguements that it does and does not, I don't think this flies with the First Amendment. It really doesn't seem legal. Also, it is ironic this was in the land of the Massh*le.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    the vote was 183=50 towns of the 20,000. were are the other votes of the other 19,767

    June 12, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • SPENT

      Robert the rest are watching re-runs of Father Knows Best.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. hypatia

    is this American of bananastan?

    June 12, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. fearlessdude

    Let's outlaw the lies coming from the Bible and from the priests.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • DJL

      And Faux News.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. LarryB

    Just as with every other news article that's ever appeared online, this blog features right wing and left wing trolls taking kindergarten-level shots at each other, along with the usual racist comments by idiots cloaked in anonymity.
    Ho hum.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Agreed Larry. Some folks just need a life other than bashing others with a differing opinion.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • MymanDarwin

      Don't forget the self serving seemingly apathetic posts of superiority that do not add anything to the discussion either LarryB. Those tend to come out as well.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • spell check

      its kindergarden

      June 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • idiot

      to larry B- learn to spell

      June 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MD

    I thought there was a First Amendment in this country.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. red

    police got to much decresion as it is too much controll damn nazis

    June 12, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • sameeker

      Agree. The next step will be to allow the police to stop and frisk someone for cussing.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Seap

    Hey Selfish IsADisease – Stupid is as "stoopid" does – I hope you realize (that's "realise" to you) that your grammar also needs a bit of work.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
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