Nude-dance case ends with a whimper
The case of Ria Ora, a political activist busted three years ago for a naked dance in Harvard Square, has ended with a whimper after a titanic battle that made its way, at one point, to the state’s highest court.
Ora was arrested June 25, 2005 — the half-year anniversary of Christmas — for her courante au naturel outside the MBTA Red Line station. She was protesting the commercialization of the holiday, she explained, but to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone, the performance qualified as “open and gross lewdness.”
The case bounced between the trial and appellate courts, with the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling, finally, that the charge could stand if the trial jury found that Ora intended to, and did, “shock” passers-by. Ora’s Cambridge-based lawyer, Daniel Beck, was prepared to take the case to a Middlesex County jury, presumably to see if any of them would call for smelling salts.
But in the end, neither side wanted the risk. If Ora had been convicted, the criminal record could have hampered her for life. Down the line, Beck said, a conviction could have resulted in her having to register as a sex offender in some states. So when the DA offered a compromise that would leave Ora without a criminal record — the charge was reduced to “indecent exposure” and the judge put her on probation for six months, after which the charge will be dismissed — she accepted. End of dance.
: This Just In
, Ria Ora, Daniel Beck, Kyle Smeallie, More