Public masturbators in Sweden now may be able to get off without charges.
A recent court ruling in Sweden's Södertörn District Court suggests that masturbating on the beach in Sweden is "OK," according to public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar.
Vrethammar was prosecuting a 65-year-old who was charged with sexual assault after getting literally caught with his pants down in June, giving himself a sandy handy on a the Drevviken beach in Stockholm, according to The Local's translation of the Swedish newspaper Mitti.
A ruling which acquitted the man of the sex assault charges this week found that although the he was publicly masturbating, he was not directing his actions at anyone in particular, according to the Local. This was enough to clear him of the sexual assault charge, though it's unclear if the action is still in violation of other statutes in Sweden.
"With that [ruling]," prosecutor Vrethammar told the Mitti, "we can conclude that it is OK to masturbate on the beach... [although] the act may be considered to be disorderly conduct."
Dr. Liz Davies of London Metropolitan University has researched Sweden's child protection system, and told the Daily Mail the court decision surprised her.
"Sweden has a really robust child protection system and very rigorous investigation around sexual abuse," she said. "So this judgement is surprising given that such an act could be witnessed by children as well as adults."
The revelation that public masturbation may or may not be a criminal offense in Sweden comes just two months after one Swedish political party announced they'd like it to be illegal for men to stand while urinating.