Is it a Crime to Wear a Thong on the Beach in North Carolina?

(Author’s note:  This post has been amended since its initial publication.)

My kids spend lots of time during the summer at our local YMCA, where this day of the week is known as Wacky Wednesday. On Humpday, many of us at the School of Government think of a retired colleague who greeted everyone in the building with a “Happy Wonderful Wednesday!” Whether you deem today’s blog post wacky or wonderful–or just plain weird—it addresses a question that continues to cross the minds of many in the state and which was posed to me a few weeks ago. Fortunately, there is a clear answer.  (Spoiler alert:  If you’ve visited the beach lately, you likely know what it is.)

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Private Property Can Be a “Public Place” under the Indecent Exposure Statute

Several recent news reports have involved people removing their clothes in their own homes or on their own property, but in view of neighbors or passers-by. For example, Charlotte’s “naked neighbor” controversy is discussed here, while Rowan County’s back yard bandit case is discussed here. Are people who expose their genitals to public view while on their own property in a “public place” as required by the indecent exposure statute, G.S. 14-190.9? Yes, ruled the court of appeals this week.

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