Nudists fight for share of beach

Jan. 31, 2011 at 2:06 PM
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SAN DIEGO, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Supporters of a nude beach in Southern California say they'll persist in their efforts to secure a right to naked sunbathing.

The non-profit Naturist Action Committee says nudists have been cited by the California Department of Parks and Recreation for being naked at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday.

An isolated area of the beach traditionally has been a haven for those who prefer to hit the sand sans swimsuits.

Nudism has never been legal at state beaches, but it had been tolerated at the one area of San Onofre.

However, Parks and Recreation rangers have been writing more citations because the nudity allegedly led to sexual crimes, San Onofre Park Superintendent Rich Haydon said.

After several months of informing beachgoers about the requirement they wear clothes, rangers began citing violators in March.

Nudists claimed a minor victory this month when the District Attorney's Office dismissed several of the misdemeanor citations.

"Our job is to look at serious and violent crimes, and we have to prioritize in a way that is responsible," Summer Stephan, chief of the office's North County branch, said. "The charges that we're looking at did not come with any other offense. ... If there was anything else, it's likely that we would try to change."

Her office recommends that nudity not accompanied by any other crime be cited as just an infraction, Stephan said, offenses that don't go before prosecutors.

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