09/18/2012 09:52 am ET Updated Sep 18, 2012

Darnell Hardware, Subway Rider Who Masturbated On Women, Gets Probation And Avoids Jail

Despite masturbating on women in three separate subway attacks dating back to 2002, a serial sex offender has avoided jail time because a court ruled the assaults did not use force against the women.

The Daily News reports 27-year-old Darnell Hardware instead received three years probation for assaulting the three women which even included a 17-year-old student.

Setting precedent to Hardware's sentencing is Jason Mack, who similarly to Hardware, masturbated on top of a 14-year-old girl riding the subway but was dismissed with only a misdemeanor sex abuse charge because a judge ruled Mack never threatened his victim with violence.

In July, investigators tracked down Hardware using the semen he left on each of the three women after the attacks.

City officials including State Senator Bill Perkins and Councilman Peter Vallone have called on lawmakers to toughen up on subway grinders.

During the 2011 Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape investigation, Perkins was a vocal supporter of the maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund head of the assault.