BELLOWS FALLS -- A Bellows Falls man was arrested Thursday for violating a village ordinance that prohibits public nudity.
Bellows Falls Police Chief Ron Lake said he was on his way to Falls Area Community Television to record a public service announcement on changes to the village's dispatch system when he was approached by a man who said two naked men were being filmed in front of a local gas station.
"Sure enough, there were two guys there who said they were exercising their constitutional rights to be naked in public," said Lake.
The chief described their behavior as "shock and awe."
"We're not used to seeing this. It just doesn't happen here. In my six years in the department, this is the first time I've seen it."
Lake said when he approached the two naked men and their videographer, one of them tried to begin a spirited discussion about what he perceived to be his constitutional right to be naked in public.
Lake said he made a trip to the municipal offices to review the village's ordinances and learned public nudity, while not illegal under state law, is illegal under Bellows Falls law.
He then got a call that the two men and their videographer had moved to a nearby convenience store.
"I told them the ordinance is pretty clear: You can't be naked in the village. I asked them to put their clothes back on."
While one of them complied with the chief's order, the second man refused to don his clothes.
Instead, Dylan G. Gingues, 26, of Bellows Falls, continued to engage in a debate about his constitutional rights.
"He proceeded to mouth off and became belligerent," said Lake.
One of Lake's officers attempted to issue him a civil violation but Gingues refused to identify himself before fleeing. He was spotted near a local bank and then in the vicinity of Central Elementary School.
With the help of troopers from the Vermont State Police, Gingues eventually was located at his residence, where he was arrested without incidence and cited with one count of disorderly conduct and five counts of prohibited acts.
He was placed on $5,000 bail and at last notice was being transported to Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, with a court date scheduled for Friday in Brattleboro.
Chris Kibbe, the superintendent of schools for Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, said the Bellows Falls Police Department directly notified Central Elementary that a naked man was roaming the neighborhood.
"Our buildings are secured, but we were temporarily a little more secure than usual," said Kibbe. "We don't need kids seeing that kind of stuff."
According to a press release from the Bellows Falls Police Department, the school was advised to lower its shades and not let any children leave the building.
According to Bellows Falls ordinances, Chapter VI, Offenses Against Persons and Property, Article 4, Indecent and Obscene Offenses, Section 1, Indecent Exhibitions "No person shall expose or exhibit his genital organs, buttocks, or breast in any public place or in public view under circumstances in which the person knew or reasonably should have known that his actions would be offensive or alarming to, or with intent to offend, shock or alarm, a viewer of ordinary sensibilities."
Section 2, Exhibition to Minors, states "No person shall intentionally expose their genital organs, buttocks or breast to any unrelated minor in any public place."
Bob Audette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.