License Commission Rules Against Downtown Bar Where Man Allegedly Exposed, Fondled Himself

After postponing a hearing about New Lantern Café on Nov. 1, the Haverhill License Commission reconvened to address a crime committed outside the bar last August. (File photograph.)

The Haverhill License Commission ruled against a downtown bar and says they must add security measures after a man exposed and fondled himself in front of a woman and, allegedly, a child outside of the bar last August.

On Thursday, commissioners voted two to one to have New Lantern Café, 246 Essex St., install security cameras in the rear of the building and face 90 days of probation, or a warning period. The ruling was handed down after 72-year-old John O. Perrault of 29 Sawyer St. was arrested for open and gross lewdness after committing the act in the rear, outside, smoking area of the bar Aug. 31. Commissioners ruled the bar must also install a sign in the front of the bar confirming alcohol cannot be taken outside and remove a tent in the smoking area used to protect smokers from the elements.

Clirim Rustani, who was managing the bar at the time of the incident, said Perrault was not served during the five minutes he spent in the bar. After Perrault exited through the back door of the bar, Rustani said the woman Perrault exposed himself to call the police before he could call them himself. Haverhill Police Capt. Robert P. Pistone testified that Perrault appeared intoxicated when police arrived.

Commissioners Gerald A. Sewell and Amy L. Carter voted in favor of the punishment, but Chairman Joseph C. Edwards voted against it because he argued the punishment should have been harsher. During a commission meeting last October, Edwards took particular offense to the impact on the child, saying “I don’t like one thing about what I read here tonight and what I heard here tonight. I think it is a horrible situation. You have a little girl—who, probably if she saw any of this action, is too bad for her—something that could blemish her and cause her problems forever.”

Jonus Rustani, the manager of the bar, said the cameras will be installed as soon as possible.