Lincoln Memorial ‘upskirting’ case dismissed, no expectation of privacy

Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial

WASHINGTON D.C. (WJLA/CNN) – A female judge has dismissed charges against a Virginia man accused taking pictures up women’s skirts at the Lincoln Memorial.

The judge said women should have no expectation of privacy in a public place, and visitors of the memorial are surprised by the ruling.

You’ll find plenty of people posing for pictures at the Lincoln Memorial. But not everyone being photographed here was aware they’d been captured on film.

“It absolutely crosses the line, no doubt about it,” said visitor Fletcher Perry.

Tourists like Perry are reacting to a case involving a Virginia man accused of taking private photos at this iconic landmark. Records show in 2013, U.S. Park Police spotted Christopher Cleveland on the steps, lowering his camera when ladies walked by. They later found he had a collection of so-called ‘upskirt’ pictures taken from this spot.

“He should be held accountable for his action,” said Perry.

But thanks to a recent ruling, that’s not happening. The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently had to dismiss the case after a judge ruled it couldn’t use the evidence. That’s because Judge Juliet McKenna said “this court finds that no individual clothed and positioned in such a manner in a public area in broad daylight in the presence of countless other individuals could have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

“If she knew he took pictures, if he took advantage, then that’s a step over the line as far as I’m concerned,” said visitor Kathy Vaughan.

Judge McKenna said Cleveland intentionally photographing publicly exposed areas of women’s bodies was repellent and disturbing in her ruling but says his actions weren’t enough to arrest him.

“To say it’s your fault someone else caught you, that’s crazy,” said visitor Judy Hannah.

Step sitters including Hannah say they’re shocked by the ruling, jokingly calling it a lesson in protecting your personal privacy.

“The moral of the story is, wear pants,” said Hannah.

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