Obama rally streaker gets probation

Posted: January 29, 2011

What's so wrong about being naked in Philly?

Philadelphia has its Naked Bike Ride. College boys, and later on, some college girls, at the University of Pennsylvania had an annual tradition of running naked through the lawns of the Quad dormitories.

Streaker Juan Rodriguez - the Staten Island, N.Y., man who bared all while President Obama was speaking at a rally in Germantown in October - had done his research on Philadelphia, and thought we'd be easy on him.

"Philadelphia has a history of streaking," Rodriguez, 24, said yesterday, as he sat fully clothed in a sweater and jeans at the probation office of the Criminal Justice Center, after being sentenced to two years' probation on his three misdemeanor counts.

"I didn't pick Philadelphia out of the hat," he said.

He said he thought Philly "would be more lenient toward me and see it for what it was" - a guy just "chillin'," he said.

"You could see I had no weapons on me."

Rodriguez stripped down - except for his black sneakers - at the Oct. 10 rally, which drew about 18,000 people, all on a bet he could win $1 million.

Instead, he got arrested on charges of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and open lewdness. Yesterday he had a "stipulated trial" - which is "like a guilty plea," his attorney, William J. Brennan, explained in court.

Assistant District Attorney Brandyn Hicks told the judge that Rodriguez had a 2004 offense in New York from when he tried to "obtain transportation without paying," for which he served one day of community service.

"Jumping the turnstile in the subway," Brennan explained.

Hicks, who contended that streaking in front of a crowd and tight security caused a hazard, asked the judge to give Rodriguez three to 23 months in jail.

Instead, Municipal Judge Lydia Kirkland sentenced Rodriguez to two years' reporting probation, to be served in New York.

Rodriguez, a slightly built man with a bit of a belly, recalled as he sat in the probation office yesterday how he had, as the $1 million bet required, written the website name Battlecam.com on his bare belly and yelled the name six times "extremely loud" at the rally.

He said he was nervous, but wasn't embarrassed to show it all. "The human body's the human body," he said.

He contends that he was in eyeshot and earshot of the president, another requirement of the bet.

However, Alki David, 42, a billionaire who created the Battlecam.com website and who proposed the dare, has said that Rodriguez wasn't in eyeshot or earshot of Obama. "He wasn't anywhere close to the president," David, who has homes in Beverly Hills and elsewhere, said by phone yesterday, contending that news footage showed Rodriguez 50 or 60 feet away.

Rodriguez didn't get $1 million.

David said he had decided to give Rodriguez $100,000, plus $10,000 to cover about six months' rent. He also gave $10,000 each to a videographer who filmed Rodriguez and to a liaison who helped set up the dare.

Rodriguez, an unemployed father of three kids - ages 7 months, 2 years and 4 years - wouldn't say yesterday how much he actually got. He contended that it wasn't the amount David has been telling reporters.

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