- (PHOTO:REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)
A self-proclaimed "inexperienced nudist" has been acquitted of indecent exposure after passers-by called police believing him to be inappropriately touching himself in public.
The man was arrested and charged with indecent exposure, however, he has claimed that he was simply an "inexperienced nudist" and was adjusting himself and nothing more.
The incident involved 48 year old, Richard Sierra, who has said that he was joining a group of naked men walking through San Francisco's Castro District to demonstrate against the city banning most types of public nudity.
Sierra has said that he was not as experienced as those more seasoned nudists he was joining, and that he was uncomfortable with exposing himself, and so was using his hand to "arrange himself," according to reports.
San Francisco lawmakers approved a public nudity ban in November by a vote of 6 to 5 in favor of the ban. The new rules prohibited the exposure of genitals in the city's public areas, according to The Associated Press.
The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that a man walking his dog saw Sierra with his arms and hands down in front of him and reported to police that he was acting inappropriately. However, Sierra has explained that he has scars on his stomach that he was ashamed of showing in public.
Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias has said, "The man with the dog misunderstood Sierra's movements," according to the Chronicle.
The case went to court and attorneys for Sierra argued that his mistake was not malicious and that it was simply a misunderstanding that he should not be punished for.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi said, "Mr. Sierra's failed attempt at being a nudist certainly does not warrant lifetime registration as a sex offender."
The jury in the case took one day to deliberate before returning a judgment to acquit the inexperienced nudist.
Reports have suggested that had Sierra been found guilty he could have been sent to jail for a one year sentence.