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Women Say They’ll Bare Their Breasts to Prove a Point

June 20, 1986

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ A group of women says they plan to hold a topless picnic to protest a state law allowing men, but not women, to bare their chests when the weather gets hot.

″It’s not a trivial issue,″ said Ramona Santorelli, organizer of the protest. ″Just try to tell any man on a hot summer day that he can’t take his shirt off.″

Santorelli said she and at least four other women will gather in a Rochester park Saturday in the hopes of getting arrested. She declined to reveal the exact time and place to keep away oglers.

Until 1936, men in New York state were also prohibited from taking off their shirts in public, but the law was changed after 42 men were arrested for going bare-chested on a beach.

Deputy Police Chief Terrence Rickard said the women will be arrested if people complain, and Santorelli said if no one complains the women will call police themselves.

Monroe County District Attorney Howard Relin said violation of the state public nudity law carries a maximum penalty of 15 days in jail or a $250 fine.

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