PORTLAND — Steven Ricci has been arrested again on charges of indecent and disorderly conduct.

It’s a recurring event that is frustrating police, neighbors and Ricci’s lawyer, because the criminal justice system appears unable to deal with his peculiar and disturbing behavior.

Police said they arrested Ricci at 12:30 a.m. Monday because he was masturbating on his front porch within sight of busy Brighton Avenue.

Ricci, 48, had been out of jail for a week after a six-month sentence for disorderly conduct and violating probation. He was arrested twice earlier this year for masturbating in public.

Police said they are exasperated.

“Our concern for the community is, we don’t have the resources or the ability to watch him 24 hours a day,” said Lt. Scott Pelletier, head of investigations for the Portland police.

Authorities’ concerns about Ricci stem from his detailed descriptions of his rape fantasies. His attorney, J.P. DeGrinney, said Ricci needs treatment, not jail.

“If the allegations are true, then Steven is complying perfectly with the plan that the state authorities have set for him, which is absolutely no plan, no funding of any kind for treatment for re-integration into the community for long-term health for any of his issues,” DeGrinney said.

Ricci, who suffered brain damage at birth, has cerebral palsy.

People who live in Ricci’s neighborhood along Brighton Avenue said they are not afraid of him but are troubled by his repeated run-ins with the law.

“Obviously, the man is sick. I don’t deny that,” Karen James said. “But at what point do you balance someone’s individual rights versus a neighborhood that doesn’t know what to do with him?”

Sandy Gioro said that, far from being a pariah in the neighborhood, Ricci is hired to do odd jobs like shoveling sidewalks and raking leaves.

“I have a lot of empathy for him,” she said. “It would be nice if we could come to his rescue rather than keep going after him.”

Lt. Pelletier said Ricci’s bail was set at $160, only to secure his appearance in court, not to punish him. Last year, Ricci was held on $25,000 bail after being charged with masturbating in front of a woman on a trail near Capisic Street.

Deputy District Attorney Meg Elam said she had not seen the police reports so she could not say whether she will argue for higher bail Wednesday, when Ricci is expected in court.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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