‘I feel like I’m living in a fishbowl,’ man complains
FAIRFAX, Va. – As Erick Williamson sees it, being naked is liberating, and if passers-by get an eyeful while he’s standing in front of a picture window, that’s not his problem.
A Fairfax County judge saw it a little differently Friday, convicting Williamson of indecent exposure in a case that has raised questions about what’s OK when you’re in your own home.
Two women said they saw much more of Williamson than they cared to in October, even though he never left the confines of his home. He received neither jail time nor a fine but is appealing anyway, saying a larger principle is at stake.
“I think that being tried and found guilty of something like this is outrageous,” Williamson said. “I feel like I’m living in a fishbowl.”
Williamson testified that he never intended to expose himself and was simply exercising “personal freedom” as he spent several hours naked in his Springfield home packing up belongings.
Police, prosecutors and two witnesses, though, said Williamson’s actions were designed to draw attention to himself.
The first woman, school librarian Joyce Giuliani, said she heard loud singing as she left her home and drove to work. As she drove by Williamson’s home, she saw him naked, standing directly behind a large picture window.
A few hours later, Yvette Dean was walking her 7-year-old son to school along a trail that runs by Williamson’s home. She heard a loud rattle, looked to her left and saw Williamson standing naked, full frontal, in a side doorway.
Regardless of whether he was seen, Williamson’s conduct does not constitute indecent exposure, said his attorney, Dickson Young.
Under Virginia law, the charge requires “an obscene display or exposure” and must occur in “a public place or a place where others are present.”
Kent Willis, director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said there is no line that defines what is acceptable in these types of cases. “How you define public and private space depends on the behavior that’s taking place,” Willis said.