A Swedish Court recently ruled that it was "Ok" to masturbate in public after acquitting a 65-year-old man charged with sexual assault for openly masturbating on a beach in Stockholm.
According to a report in Sweden's The Local, the man was on the Drevviken beach on June 6 when he stripped himself of his shorts and started pleasuring himself close to the water triggering the sexual assault charge.
In the judgment handed down in the Södertörn District Court, however, it was noted that while it "may be proven that the man exposed himself and masturbated on this occasion," there was no evidence demonstrating that an offense was committed against a specific person.
Public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar agreed and said he didn't plan on appealing the ruling.
"For this to be a criminal offense it's required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court's judgment is reasonable," he told the Mitti newspaper. He also confirmed that based on the ruling, it would be "okay" to masturbate in public as long as the act isn't directed toward a specific individual.
"The district court has made a judgment on this case. With that we can conclude that it is okay to masturbate on the beach. The act may be considered to be disorderly conduct," said Vrethammar.
Dr. Liz Davies, a Reader in Child Protection at London Metropolitan University who has researched Sweden's child protection system, told the Daily Mail that the ruling was surprising.
"Sweden has a really robust child protection system and very rigorous investigation around sexual abuse. So this judgment is surprising given that such an act could be witnessed by children as well as adults," said Davies.
According to The Local, a 15-year-old boy was also recently acquitted of sexual assault after throwing his underwear into a lake and standing naked before two underaged girls.
The Södertörn District Court declared that the teen's behavior did not have a sexual undertone and dismissed the charge.
In an earlier report in The Local, Sweden's Left Party also proposed that men pee sitting down.