A first-time nudist arrested last year in the Castro before a nudity ban took effect in San Francisco was acquitted of indecent exposure charges this week, according to the San Francisco Public Defenders Office.

Richard Sierra, 48, had just joined a group of nudists who gathered regularly in the Castro for the first time when he was arrested on Nov. 11, 2012, according to Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias.

Sierra, who defenders described as an “inexperienced” and self-conscious nudist, felt uncomfortable completely disrobing due to scars on his stomach, Elias said.

He pulled his pants down to his knees and then attempted to attach his shirt to his genitals using a binder ring, according to defense attorneys. While arranging his clothing, however, a passerby thought he was masturbating with personal lubricant and contacted police, who arrested him.

Sierra testified that he did not have any lubricant on his person, only prescription cream for eczema that he uses sparing because it costs around $100, Elias said.

Sierra was acquitted on Thursday following a three-day trial.

“Mr. Sierra’s failed attempt at being a nudist certainly does not warrant lifetime registration as a sex offender,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement.

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