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Todd Lawton back behind bars for masturbating in prison -- really

We don't mean to shock those of you with tender sensibilities, but masturbation takes place in all kinds of settings -- among them prison, where it's presumably among the most popular ways to pass the time.

Usually, though, former inmates aren't sent back to the hoosgow for stroking behind bars. As such, Todd Lawton appears to be breaking new legal ground. Yet his case doesn't mean all dolphin-flogging in prison is suddenly against the law -- just a certain kind.

According to the U.S. Attorneys Office, communicating via one of the most carefully written news releases of all time, Lawton, 31, wound up at the U.S. penitentiary in Florence after being found guilty of assault on a federal officer and possessing a contraband weapon as a federal inmate.

Clearly, he wasn't happy about this turn of events -- an emotion he's said to have demonstrated in an especially graphic way. His plea agreement maintains that between May 21, 2012 and January 22, 2013 (yes, someone was apparently keeping track), Lawton would wait until a female food-service or medical staffer walked in the vicinity of his cell, then stand on his toilet or some other object so that his man parts were visible to them through his window.

After which he'd...do stuff.

U.S. Penitentiary Florence.
U.S. Penitentiary Florence.

USP Florence personnel repeatedly ordered Lawton to stop showing off his stroke in this way, but he kept it up, as it were. And this proved to be a terrible decision. He was actually freed from custody this past July 18, but deputies with the U.S. Marshals service subsequently picked him up on indecent exposure charges -- and a judge ordered him to be held without bond until the case was resolved.

Lawton pleaded guilty to a couple of indecent exposure counts in October, and this week, U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer sentenced him to serve an additional one year and a day for his crimes. As a bonus, he'll have to register as a sex offender.

"This case involved calculated acts of sexual intimidation aimed at female medical and food service staff at the United States Penitentiary at Florence," says U.S. Attorney John Walsh in a statement. "This case and sentence reflects our commitment to protect Prison staff -- and also other prison inmates -- from sexual abuse of whatever form."

It's also proof that self-love isn't always gratifying.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa May 2013: "Orin Fryson, high-fashion photog, pleads guilty to indecent exposure and masturbation at DU."


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