Sunbathing Topless in Minneapolis
Is sunbathing topless in Minneapolis a crime?
Picture the scene: It is a hot summer day and you head for the urban oasis of a Minneapolis park to cool off. You make your way to a lake in the middle of the park. Once there, you find a spot on the small beach next to the shore and remove your shirt. Depending on your gender, you may have just committed a crime.
While Minnesota state law and other city ordinances do not expressly prohibit anyone from going topless in public, Minneapolis parks and parkways have a different set of laws requiring women to cover up. This double standard may soon change.
Minnesota law prohibits â€śindecent exposure,â€ť which occurs when an individual "willfully and lewdly exposes the person's body, or the private parts thereof."
In conjunction with Minnesotaâ€™s indecent exposure law, the City of Minneapolis has passed an ordinance prohibiting â€śindecent conductâ€ť in public places. This includes â€ślewd or lasciviousâ€ť conduct; sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct; the â€śindecent or lasciviousâ€ť exposure or use of the human body, or any part thereof; or fondling the unclothed genitals of himself or herself or another person.
While neither Minnesota law nor the Minneapolis Ordinance prohibit public toplessness against members of any gender, the Minneapolis Park Board Ordinance states that showing â€śfemale breastsâ€ť constitutes indecent exposure in the Cityâ€™s parks and parkways.
Unlike the gender-neutral language of the state statute and Minneapolis ordinance, the city's Park Board ordinance states that no person over the age of 10 shall â€śintentionally expose his or her own genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast below the top of the areola, with less than a fully opaque covering in or upon any park or parkwayâ€¦â€ť
Although there have been recent news reports of women being cited or arrested in Minneapolis for going topless in public, charges have always been dismissed by prosecutors before court. Â
This summer, a committee of the Minneapolis Park Board approved a measure that would repeal the part of the ordinance to allow all people â€“ regardless of gender â€“ to go topless on park property without being cited or arrested.
The Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits discriminatory treatment based on inherent differences (such as male and female breasts). Those seeking to repeal laws that criminalize female toplessness often present the issue as representative of gender equity as a whole â€“ that both men and woman must stand on equal footing under the law.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges for indecent conduct or any other type of sex crime, our attorneys can meet with you to discuss your options.Â At Halberg Criminal Defense, our team approach puts the firmâ€™s collective knowledge and experience in your corner. Our attorneys are available 24-7 â€” Call us at 612-DEFENSE (612-333-3673).