In reference to my previous posting about public nudity in front of Magnet, there have been several requests to clarify what the standards are here in San Francisco. Since I received a posting from one of my online nudist groups about this very matter today, I thought it might be helpful if I were to just copy that posting here. I am not the author of this post, nor did I check it with the authorities mentioned, however this is correct as far as my understanding of the situation at this time.
All this talk about what is legal/illegal regarding public nudity, I
thought I would go to the source. So, I had a very interesting chat
with an Assistant District Attorney this morning. The question
was, "Is public nudity legal or illegal? And, what is the position of
the DA's office regarding public nudity?"
In my discussion the ADA had a short conference with a supervising
attorney AND an SF Police officer. Here is a summary of our
discussion. Please do not take this as legal advice or a
recommendation to run out naked without giving that some thought for
1. Lewd behavior is illegal and the DA's office is more than
happy to prosecute anyone in public with an erection, masturbating,
or ejaculating (list not exhaustive of possible lewd acts.)
2. There are several laws governing nudity. Basically nudity has
not been legalized (which is different from illegal – brackets my
add). So, one could be arrested for nudity absent lewd behavior. But …
3. Simply being naked in public is not something that the DA's
office is interested in prosecuting, whether in large groups (like
trying to arrest 2,000 nude folks at Folsom,) or small groups 1-5
people strolling through the Castro.
4. The police will make an arrest if there is a complaint. The
ADA did say that it would take time for the police to arrive to where
the complainant was, the complainant has to complete paperwork and
then must appear in court to give testimony about the behavior. (Not
likely that there are that many people in SF so upset about nudity
that they are going to go through all of that. Again brackets, my
5. Child Endangerment – Being nude in front of a child does not
constitute Child Endangerment. However, if the nude adult was clearly
seeking sexual gratification involving the child, (your life will get
really complicated. – Brackets mine.)
I suspect that there is nothing new here that most of us didn't
already know. However, it was very informative to chat and hear from
those who would be in a position to prosecute the case.