Inexperienced Nudist Acquitted

Inexperienced Nudist Acquitted, An "inexperienced" nudist who decided to join the ranks of naked men in the Castro district before the city banned most public nudity has been acquitted of indecent exposure - a criminal charge that his attorney said was the result of a big misunderstanding.

Richard Sierra, 48, had been accused of inappropriately touching himself in public, but his lawyer told a jury in San Francisco Superior Court that Sierra had simply been uncomfortable exposing himself completely and arranging himself in a way that gave a passer-by the wrong impression. On Thursday, the jury acquitted him.

It all started Nov. 11, when a man walking his dog told police he had seen Sierra masturbating on Castro Street. In fact, Sierra was making his first foray into "urban nudism" but was trying to do so while hiding scars on his stomach, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias.

He kept his tank top on, Elias said, but to fit in with naked men who wear jewelry on their genitals, he attached a metal ring from a binder to his shirt and looped it over his penis.

The man with the dog misunderstood Sierra's movements, Elias said. He also saw Sierra using what he thought was lubricant, but Sierra testified that it was prescription cream to treat chronic eczema on another part of his body.

The jury deliberated for one day before returning the verdict. Had he been convicted, Sierra faced up to a year in County Jail and would have been forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sierra was on felony probation for assault when he was arrested, said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney's office. He would not comment further on the case.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement that Sierra, who has no history of sex crimes, didn't deserve to be punished for trying to become one of the Castro naked guys.

"Mr. Sierra's failed attempt at being a nudist certainly does not warrant lifetime registration as a sex offender," he said.

A citywide ban on nudity, which exempts some events such as the Folsom Street Fair and Bay to Breakers, took effect Feb. 1. It did not affect Sierra's case.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/First-time-nudist-acquitted-in-S-F-4264382.php#ixzz2KR14fm00


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