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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Public sex acts can yeild fines, jail”

    In the heat of an April afternoon on the UA campus, three students peeled off their clothing. Moments later, nearly 40 students joined them. The scantily clad mob jogged up and down the UA Mall, displaying bras, boxers and tighty whities while looks of dismay and the occasional smile on the faces of those around them.

    It was the spring 2008 semester flash mob.

    Aleks Obradov, a UA sophomore majoring in biochemistry and molecular biophysics, co-created the flash mob and was one of the three students, standing on the UA Mall, stage who shed her clothes first.

    “”I was really nervous standing up there,”” Obradov said.

    But she overcame her nerves, and the flash mob ensued.

    It began as a random idea that gained momentum through Facebook. Word spread as the group’s membership rose – it now contains 589 membersð ð-ð and everything was set in motion. There were a few guidelines: have fun; run for two minutes maximum; and most importantly, don’t get naked.

    “”I would never do full nudity,”” Obradov said. “”That is just completely off from what we were trying to do.””

    Obradov also said that with their names attached to the mob on Facebook, law enforcement was a concern.

    And she was rightfully concerned, because if a female’s nipple had been exposed or anyone’s genitals had been on the loose, the UA Police Department could intervene.

    Nobody’s naughty bits were on display, but if something accidentally moved into public view, the police department could have used the same punishments on the mass streakers that they use for any individual who engages in a sexually explicit public act.

    Indecent Exposure

    According to the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1402 indecent exposure is: “”intentionally and knowingly exposing genitals, anus or nipple of breast while another is present … (who) would be offended or alarmed by the act.””

    The punishment depends on what’s exposed, said UAPD Sergeant Juan Alvarez. There aren’t strict guidelines that equate an exposed penis to one year in jail, though. The UAPD instead assesses the context of each situation, evaluating criteria such as when and where the incident occurred, Alvarez said.

    But it’s difficult to create a justifiable alibi when nude in an open, public area. Streaking through Arizona Stadium, for instance, is a cut and dry case, Alvarez said. And with the potential presence of adolescents under age 15, a streaker could receive a class 6 felony for indecent exposure.

    Exposing oneself on private property isn’t a fail-safe either.

    “”I remember there was a gentleman who would come out on his porch and expose himself,”” Alvarez said. “”He was clearly visible and repeated the act, so we had to go and approach him.””

    Public Sexual Indecency

    Sex in a public parking structure. Sex in an isolated, but nonetheless, public parking lot. Sex in a bathroom stall.

    Although nothing may be exposed, the perpetrators are violating the intended use of the space, allowing for criminal prosecution, Alvarez said. Exposure comes into play if anything is in view of passers-by, he said.

    The wording of this section of the statute doesn’t differ much from the section on indecent exposure, only changing “”genitals, anus or nipple of breast”” to “”engaging in a sexual contact.”” But there is a difference pertaining to the age of someone watching the act.

    Having sex in front of someone younger than age 18, instead of age 15 for exposure, leads to a class 5 felony.

    Public Urination

    There is no statute for public urination, actually. But don’t pee freely.

    Public urination umbrellas many different criminal codes, Alvarez said. Criminal littering, criminal nuisance and disorderly conduct are a few of the transgressions. And if anything is fully exposed, then it falls into indecent exposure, too.

    A simple tip from Alvarez to avoid proescution: “”Just use a bathroom.””

    For the other sex offenses, he has more advice.

    “”Decisions you make always carry consequences,”” he said. “”What you do will undoubtedly reflect on the UA–and how are you benefiting the UA by committing some of these acts?””

    Obradov, referring to streaking, offers this: “”I guess if you’re comfortable with it, go for it.””

    “”Not naked, though,”” she added. “”No one wants to see that.””

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