Nude Body-Painting Model Sues NYPD Over 2011 Arrest

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on August 08, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A model who was arrested for taking part in a nude body-painting exhibition in New York City's Time Square has filed a lawsuit against the city and the New York Police Department.

30-year-old Karla Storie's lawsuit claims she dropped her underwear just seconds before the area was covered with paint by artist Andy Golub during the artist's 2011 Time Square public exhibition, reports the New York Post. Nevertheless, she was arrested on charges of public lewdness and exposure. The charges were dismissed in 2012

Was Storie's stripped-down stunt really against the law or does she have a legitimate case?

New York Public Lewdness, Exposure Laws

Laws criminalizing indecent or lewd exposure vary from state to state, but they generally only prohibit the exposure of genitals, not female breasts. In addition, many states only make exposing one's private parts illegal if it is done for a sexual or offensive purpose.

In New York, public lewdness and exposure are criminalized under two different statutes. Public lewdness is defined as:

  • intentionally exposing private or intimate parts in a lewd manner or
  • committing "any other lewd act"
  • in a public place or
  • a private place that can be easily observed and
  • is done with the intent to be observed.

Exposure of a person, on the other hand, applies when appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of his body are unclothed or exposed, although the law makes an exception for "any person entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment."

In Storie's case, the artistic purpose behind her brief nudity most likely skirts the "lewd manner" requirement for public lewdness, and would also likely qualify under the "exhibition show or entertainment" exception to public exposure.

City Settled Previous Lawsuit By Fellow Nude Model

Storie's suit is not the first lawsuit filed by a nude model arrested during Golub's exhibit. Another model arrested that day filed suit against the city, ultimately settling her case against the city in 2012 for $15,000.

However, as it has been more than three years since the arrest took place, Storie's possible recovery may be affected by New York's statutes of limitation. Statutes of limitation generally limit the number of years a plaintiff can wait before filing a lawsuit.

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