OCEAN CITY — The plaintiffs’ expert witness on the female toplessness issue in Ocean City opined in written testimony the town’s ordinance passed in 2017 does not reflect “public sensibilities” on the subject.
Last January, a civil suit was filed in U.S. District Court challenging an emergency ordinance passed by the Mayor and Council last year prohibiting females from going topless in the same areas as men are allowed to go shirtless, including the beach and Boardwalk, for example. In June, the plaintiffs in the case, including local resident Chelsea Eline and four others, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would allow them to go topless in certain areas of the resort while the larger case runs its course.
A hearing originally set for September was postponed at the last minute to allow the attorney for the plaintiffs in the case to acquire the services of an expert witness to weigh in on Ocean City’s assertion allowing female toplessness in certain public areas including the beach “offends the sensibilities of the general public.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Devon Jacob, enlisted Dr. Debra Herbenick, professor and director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University-Bloomington, to research the “public sensibilities” issue in regard to Ocean City’s ordinance that prohibits female toplessness in certain public areas and make an official report to be entered as evidence in the ongoing civil suit. Herbenick, also a noted sex educator and sex advice columnist, formally filed a pair of reports on the issue last Friday.