Thursday, April 08, 2010

Virginia Man Not Guilty of Indecent Exposure

It took less than 20 minutes for a Fairfax County jury to find Erick Williamson not guilty of indecent exposure for an incident last fall where a passer-by claimed that the man willfully appeared nude in a doorway and a window of his home.
The concept of obscenity is at the heart of the case, which went to the seven-person jury shortly before 3 p.m. Did Williamson intentionally display himself, both to Dean and to another woman who drove past the house and saw Williamson at 6:40 a.m. that same morning? Or was he simply moving about the house, admittedly unclothed, packing, eating breakfast and getting ready to move, as he testified.
A couple of the more disturbing aspects of the case, such as the witness being a spouse of a police officer, and the cops who entered the man's home without a warrant, remained unresolved.

Whether or not this man considers himself to be a nudist or naturist is irrelevant, but the issue strikes at the heart of every body freedom advocate who enjoys nudity at home. The police witch hunt against this man, which included sending letters to schools looking for witnesses who might have seen the man nude at other times, is an abuse of power which goes beyond protecting the community, and is designed merely to cover their own asses. The police exceeded their authority in the initial reaction to the incident and then tried to turn it into some sort of danger to women and children in the community merely to justify their heavy-handed actions.

Perhaps most shameful is AANR's stance on this incident, which basically condemned the man before a trial.
Carlyn Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the American Association for Nude Recreation, declined to comment on the specifics of the case. However, she said, "I'm nude when I'm in my home, but I also keep my drapes closed."

Hawkins said the association advocated naked responsibility.

"We don't want to offend anybody," she said. "We want to be accepted and we don't want any nudist to create any problems."
Even Executive Director Erich Schuttauf chimed in:
Did Mr. Coffee simply stumble around the kitchen preparing brew, or did he stand spread eagle in open doorways and a large plate glass picture window at 8:40 in the morning-and were mother and son taking only a small shortcut between two very public sidewalks from which one could have just as easily seen a purposeful display as has also been alleged?
AANR's continued policies of nudity being best when "not offending" condemns all nudists and naturists to practicing their clothes-free lifestyle behind drawn curtains, locked gates and tall fences.

There was no evidence that the Virginia "Naked Coffee Guy" did anything lewd or indecent, but there is evidence of overreaction and hysteria over simple nudity, and authorities treating a man's penis the same as a terrorist bomb on an airplane.

Thankfully a jury made the wise and sensible decision to find this man not guilty. The question today is will AANR apologize to all of its members for failing to support the most basic right of being nude in one's own home?


Larry said...

Justice prevailed. This time.

NudistStop said...

Good outcome of this show trial and good essay on the implications - not only about the legal system, but also about the handling by AANR.

Academic Naturist said...

Whew! Society isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be...

I noticed that a lot of the recent news articles don't use the term coffee much. Before, he was the "naked coffee guy", now he's "the naked guy". Did coffee producers complain or what?

Now, the same witch-hunt is on with Erykah Badu. Next up: Those naked pumpkin runners in Boulder.

Edgy33 said...

I'm probably late on this, but...
Aside from the legal ramifications you listed, there is this:
Question: Why was not the woman arrested as a Peeping Tom?
Further, why did the police solicit neighbors from blocks around to try and find additional complainants?

Nudiarist said...

The woman was not arrested for several reasons. First, she is the wife of a police officer. Second, there is no evidence that she was peeking into any windows. Third, there are different standards in society for men and women when it comes to voyeurism. Let's use a Seinfeld episode as an example. Remember "The Contest" where Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer all compete to be "master of their own domain"? One of the temptations was a woman who exhibited herself in a window across the street from Jerry's apartment. None of the characters even thought about calling the police. Had it been a nude man in the window, their attitudes would have been very different.

The police solicited schools and neighboring homes looking for other witnesses, not because the man was any real danger to the community, but to cover their own asses because they overreacted, entering the man's home without a warrant. The police action was very suspect in this case, but it's not likely for that aspect of the incident to come to light now that the man has been found not guilty. I think all parties involved want this to all quietly go away.