Lewd gesture gets man banned from town meetings

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SYOSSET -

A lewd hand gesture resulted in a man getting banned from attending Town of Oyster Bay meetings.

"While praise and criticism are always expected at town board meetings and at town hall, sexual gestures are not," Councilwoman Michele Johnson said, referring to the motion community member Kevin McKenna made at the last board meeting on June 26.

McKenna can be seen on video making the gesture just after Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino adjourned the meeting into executive session.

At Tuesday's board meeting, Johnson referred to McKenna's actions as sexual harassment and said they created a hostile work environment.

"For those reasons, the town attorney issued a temporary ban to Kevin McKenna for his lewd and inappropriate and disgusting behavior," Johnson said.

News 12 spoke with McKenna by phone Tuesday night. He said he doesn't believe the gesture was lewd and claims it was not directed at anyone on the board. He adds he was frustrated with the board for not addressing his community concern before going into private session.

"Do I wish that I didn't do that? Of course I wish I didn't do that," he said. "But I did not do it to mimic a masturbation movement. It was, 'he's jerking us around' movement...I happen to talk with my hands. I'm sorry if anybody had to perceive it that way. It was not intended to be that."

According to the town attorney, McKenna is banned from attending any town board meetings for the remainder of the year.

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