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. Thor

    Freedom of speech does not reside in Middleburough Massacussets. Now THAT is profane!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. T. T.

    I even like how the cop says "we have a lot more important things to do" nice...

    June 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lynnmarie2u

    Middleboro-A very conservative town,where they have an armory(try telling the military they cannot use cuss words),and where the vote was 200 out of a pop of about 200,000.How long before this lands in court,and the town declares itself bankrupt from the suits that follow.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rdstrahs

    My question is, what is considered an offense and what is not? I mean my friends kid got sent home from Elementary school one day for saying the word "Butt", not even the "A" word, but "B U T T". So, what would this law consider a bad word? Is it limited to the standard 4 letter words? I mean will I get a ticket for saying the words "pig" and "bacon" b/c they are derogatory towards police? I mean what if I said the "A" or "B" words in the context of the animal and not in a demeaning context, and was talking about the animals specifically, would I still get a ticket? I think the idea of it is total "B S" personally...

    June 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    The people of this country aren't nearly as easily offended as they pretend to be. It's not about decency or sophistication, its a reason for uptight suburbanites to complain and whine about their neighbors and out of towners. People like to hear their own whining.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Awakenevil

    And this would be the first fine I would go to court and tell the judge, DA, and anyone else there to go F themselves. Counter sue for wasting my time and walk out...

    June 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tomsinthehaus

    Very Very true!

    June 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. James Causey

    It stands for "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge"; an abbreviation. I see nothing offensive. These folks should examine their own frighteningly Puritanical and authoritarian mindset. We have many more important issues going on and if even a quarter of this energy was put into that..............

    June 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 38 miles from Boston

    So what are they supposed to say when the Yankees or Jets come to town?

    June 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JoJo

    What's sadder to me: that a law like this was passed or that some people on this forum are actually cheering it on? Hmm, probably the latter. So many people died for ideals so many of you are excitedly flushing down the toilet. You people don't deserve the freedoms you have. I can't wait until they're all taken away. You'll be left wondering how it happened and people like me will at least get to say we tried to warn you before it was all too late.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mccgeno

    I would definitely take this one to court.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew Friet

    This will fail. Free speech, no matter how you perceive the language, is free. No threats are made by cussing somebody out.

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

    A lot of good people have dead 4 our freedoms why would they dishornor them like that

    June 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nathan

    Ok ive heard a lot of stupid things but this takes the take. Whatever happened to FREEDOM OF SPEECH

    June 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • loverpoint

      I guess Massachusetts has a different version of the cost of freedom.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I agree but whatever happened to 'common courtesy'? If I am with my children and someone keeps dropping an F bomb, do you think thats right? If people would have some sense about themselves and respect for each other this whole thing wouldn't be neccessary. It is a stupid law but its not any less stupid to not tone down the language in public.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jC in Western U.S.

      You don't have unlimited freedom of speech. You can't shout "fire" in a theater. You can't yell "Kill the cops!" at the scene of a protest. It's by exercising some kind of control on your own speech that we keep the freedom to speak.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JD

    John Spartan, you are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Yes! Exactly.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
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