Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published June 09, 2009, 06:05 AM

Gardening nudists claim landlord discriminating

Robert and Catharine Pierce have been accused by their landlord of being a nuisance by gardening wearing only thong underwear, plus pasties for Catharine Pierce.

By: Associated Press,

BOULDER, Colo.

A couple of nudists claim their landlord is wrongly discriminating by trying to get them to cover up while gardening. Robert and Catharine Pierce have been accused by their landlord of being a nuisance by gardening wearing only thong underwear, plus pasties for Catharine Pierce. Neighbors complained to police about the Pierces' scanty clothing. But police say the Pierces are not violating the law as long as their genitals are covered.

But their landlord, Boulder Housing Partners, has sent the Pierces a letter saying they could face eviction if they don't cover up. The Pierces say the threat of eviction amounts to discrimination.

"We want our freedom," said Robert Pierce, 58. "We want exactly what the law gives you, and we don't want to be harassed about it."

Betsy Martens, executive director of the Boulder Housing Partners, which administers Boulder's affordable housing program, told the Daily Camera newspaper that defining the word nuisance is difficult.

"This is not a legal issue, it's a community issue," Martens said. "We try and balance the needs of the whole community."

Neighbor Emily Hink said she spied Catharine Pierce, 51, gardening as she was driving home with her daughter, whose "jaw dropped."

Hink said she's not opposed to people being nude in their houses _ or even in a fenced-off back yard _ but the Pierces' home is on a corner just a couple of blocks from a school.

"There are so many parks around here, and there are lots of kids around," Hink said. "They're on the corner lot right across the street from the community gardens and the Waldorf school. The whole street is lined with kids."

Ultimately, if the Pierces continue their near-naked gardening, Boulder Housing Partners can choose to evict them. If the couple fought the eviction, the municipal court would be left to decide whether their behavior constitutes a nuisance.

___

Tags: