Spider-Man trial: Why did he punch a mom in Times Square?

Spider-Man trial: A man dressed as Spider-Man went on trial Tuesday charged with harassing a woman who didn't pay him for posing with her children for a photo. She says that Spider-Man punched her in the face.

By , Associated Press

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    A man dressed in a Spider-Man costume in Times Square is on trial for harassing a woman. Shown here are Jamie Foxx, left, and Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man in the film "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
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The episode isn't among Spider-Man's biggest hits: the superhero vs. mom.

One of the costumed characters who roam Times Square went on trial Tuesday in New York City over allegations that he hit a passer-by who didn't tip him for posing for a photo with her children in February 2013.

Victoria Goreaciuc says Philip Williams cursed at her and later punched her in the face after she confronted him and flung a handful of snow at him. Williams' lawyer says he just defended himself after a cold, hard chunk hit his head.

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Williams faces up to 90 days in jail if he's convicted of harassment and other charges.

The misdemeanor case is among several recent prosecutions of costumed figures who try to make a living by charming tourists in Times Square, generally without authorization from characters' owners. In the last two years, a man dressed as the Cookie Monster was charged with shoving a 2-year-old, a person garbed as Super Mario was accused of groping a woman and an Elmo figure pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after unleashing an anti-Semitic tirade.

Goreaciuc, a New York-area information technology worker, was celebrating her son's seventh birthday when the family encountered a Spider-Man character who urged a photo, she testified. He broached a tip, she said she had no cash and he swore at her, she said.

The family went shopping for about an hour, but her two children kept asking about Spider-Man's remark, and Goreaciuc decided to tell police. Back outside in Times Square, she saw a Spider-Man and approached him — but soon realized she had the wrong one.

She spotted another Spidey, asked him why he'd cursed at her in front of her children, scooped some loose snow off the ground "and threw it in his direction" as she walked on, she said. He hit her in the temple, knocking her to the ground, and took off, she said.

She alerted police and followed them to a parking garage where officers had stopped Phillips, shirtless but in Spider-Man tights. Goreaciuc said his height, build and voice matched the Spider-Man she sought.

Williams' lawyer initially raised questions about whether he was the masked figure who allegedly insulted Goreaciuc. But Williams testified that he had used a vulgarity toward a woman he now believes was Goreaciuc.

But he said he didn't recognize her when she accosted him later, holding what he described as a block of ice and saying, "You're going to jail!"

He started to walk away, felt a blow to his head and noticed someone walking around him. "And I swung," said Williams, an aspiring actor who appeared in court in a pin-striped business suit.

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Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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