No more nudity in Cumberland following new ordinance

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

CUMBERLAND – Keep your clothes on in Cumberland!

Last week, the town banned people from walking around naked outside.

“We will not accept this type of behavior,” explained Mayor Bill Murray. 

He told ABC6 News the dilemma started a few months ago, when a woman with a young child complained about a naked man across the street around the Abbott Run neighborhood. Apparently he would do things like walk outside and get the mail while stark naked. Police however, couldn’t do anything about it.

“Our hands were tied by the state law,” Murray said.

To qualify as “indecent exposure” under state law, sexual arousal, gratification or stimulation has to be involved. Things like urinating in public are covered by a different law. So, if you’re outside naked and minding your own business, then that’s legal in Rhode Island.

Except it’s not legal in Cumberland, anymore. Murray said police plan on arresting the man in question if anyone sees him walking around nude again.

For some neighbors, the whole situation comes as a shock. “I’ve never seen anything like that on this road,” said Irene Ross. “I usually walk on this road – walk the kids, walk the dog – and I’ve never seen it, so I was surprised to hear.”

If anyone tries fighting this ordinance, the mayor said he will fight right back. “We’re not out to arrest people,” he explained. “We just don’t want it happening. It’s as simple as you can get: we do not want this to happen in this town of Cumberland.”

The state’s only nudist campground, Dyer Woods, disagrees with this ordinance. A representative said, though, that even though we have the freedom to be nude, we need to consider other people’s freedoms and recognize they may have counter opinions on this.

© WLNE-TV 2015