Sapulpa City Attorney releases an official statement on “topless law”

City Attorney David Widdoes says that "officers issuing citations ... should prepare and complete a full report as well."

See our previous coverage on this topic: City Attorney says the new topless ruling will not affect local statutes

Police Chief Haefner,

Please be advised that after consideration of the Oklahoma Attorney’s General opinion concerning the 10th Circuit’s case on public exposure of breasts, the City legal department has reviewed Sapulpa’s local ordinances and determined that the Sapulpa Police Department should continue to enforce State and local laws related to such exposure.  The applicable Sapulpa ordinance (which is gender-neutral and included below) would authorize a citation to be issued for any exhibition of nudity or indecent exposure that an average person would find patently offensive under prevailing community standards with respect to what is suitable for minors. Nudity is commonly understood as exposure of genitalia. Indecent exposure is a willful and knowing lewd exposure by a person of his or her person or genitals in any public place. Due to the ongoing lack of legal clarity on this issue, and the requirement that each case be assessed on its own circumstances, officers issuing citations for violations of the ordinance should prepare and complete a full report as well. These citations should be booked to municipal court. As with all enforcement actions, officers should ensure they have developed probable cause prior to issuing the citation.  Include in the full report the circumstances related to the incident such as how the individual who is being charged is behaving, what they are doing, the type of location where they are found, the presence of children/youth, relevant surroundings such as daycares, movie theaters, playgrounds and so forth, as well as the nature and extent of the offending conduct on other members of the public.

My office will continue its research into the issues presented by this matter and will be considering whether any potential amendments to our existing code are warranted. Until then, please let me know if you have any further questions on this issue.  Thank you for your time and all the hard work you and your officers do for our city.

David R. Widdoes -City Attorney

SECTION 10-510 NUDITY, IMPROPER DRESS, INDECENT EXPOSURE.

It is unlawful for any person to:
A. Appear in any public place in the City in a state of nudity;
B. Appear in any public place in the City in any offensive, indecent or lewd dress; or
C. Make an indecent public exposure of his or her person.
State Law Reference: Similar provisions, 21 O.S. §1021.

About the Author

Micah is the owner/Editor-In-Chief of Sapulpa Times and passionate about telling the everyday stories in the town that we love. You can find him on Twitter at @meetmicah or email him at news@sapulpatimes.com.

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