Judge rules Iowa law protects nude-dancing club

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DES MOINES, Iowa — Nude dancing remains an art in Iowa.

A judge ruled Aug. 1 in favor of a nude-dancing club owner charged with violating Iowa's indecent-exposure law.

Fremont County Judge Timothy O'Grady said prosecutors failed to prove the club wasn't a theater. Iowa law allows nudity at theaters, museums and other venues devoted to the arts or theatrical performances.

The county's attorney, Margaret Johnson, charged club owner Clarence Judy after a 17-year-old girl climbed on stage at Shotgun Geniez in the tiny town of Hamburg and stripped off her clothing.

“I think it's a little scary,” said Johnson, who emphasized that the girl was still a minor.

The club was sold Aug. 4 to Terry Rutledge. He expressed confidence that nude dance would remain legal, referring to a 1998 case in Davenport that found it to be an art.

“In all actuality, you don't have be a theater hall, concert hall or anything. You can be a strip club that has nude dance,” Rutledge said.

The state attorney general's office said it would decide whether to appeal the case.

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