City specifies, adopts its own rules regarding lewd acts

Lewd behavior may be an act as mundane as a drunk man relieving himself in the full glare of daylight on a city street without giving a rip if anyone sees him.

And a host of, ahem, other behaviors, some of which may be a bit too salacious for inclusion in a family newspaper.

Until Monday evening, face to face with a lewd act, an Auburn Police officer could only cite state law.

That's the night the Auburn City Council passed an ordinance that makes it possible for Auburn Police to cite locally-written rules about what does and does not constitute lewd behavior.

"This will put it on the books for the City, without an officer having to say, 'Oh, we don't anything on the Auburn code, we have to use state law," said City Councilmember John Holman, a former police officer.

Exposing one's genitals or breasts, touching or fondling, masturbation or other sexual conduct now constitute lewd acts.

The ordinance specifies that anybody who intentionally performs lewd acts like these in a public place or under circumstances where people would be likely to see them is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The ordinance excludes:

• Plays, operas, musicals or other dramatic works that are not obscene

• Classes, seminars and lectures conducted for serious scientific or educational purposes.

• Exhibitions, performance or dances that are not obscene

• Adult entertainment activities operating in accordance with City code.

• Breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.

"Sometimes it could just be someone with an urgent bodily need and no intent to be rude, as opposed to somebody who is doing it for shock value," Holman said.

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