LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4)– A Colorado woman charged with indecent exposure for playing Frisbee topless has won a $50,000 settlement in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling. Effie Krokos, a 20-year-old student at Front Range Community College, said the ordeal began Sept. 26 when she was playing Frisbee in her fiancé’s front yard — topless.
“I was like, ‘Oh it’s hot, he’s shirtless, why not just go for it?’” said Krokos.
Uncomfortable and sticky, Krokos decided to do it. She was also aware of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from February, which essentially makes it legal for a woman to be topless anywhere a man can be topless.
“I just kind of took off my shirt, without thinking, ‘cause I knew about the code in the back of my mind but I was kind of afraid.’”
Krokos says three hours later, a Loveland police officer was at her door.
Krokos was issued a summons despite telling the police officer that the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that a similar law in nearby Fort Collins was unconstitutional.
“He said it’s a rumor in Fort Collins and Loveland has not told them of this law.”
Krokos began recording with her cellphone. In the recording, you can hear her tell Loveland Police Officer Greg Harris about the change in the law.
Harris: “I’ve heard rumor of it in Fort Collins but that was it. But not throughout the state.”
Krokos: “Well, this is a topless state. We had training just recently on legal updates none of this was brought up. So none of this in my eyes is valid. Okay?”
“I freaked because I know that if this is a charge that is going to be put on my record, there goes my degree. There goes all the months I spend in school. There goes everything. It’s gone. I panicked. Like I honestly, I was shaking ‘cause I was like, this is not okay and I was reciting the 10th Circuit Court ruling to him. I was telling him over and over and over trying to get him to like maybe let me off with a warning but he wouldn’t listen.”
In a statement, Loveland police said, “The Loveland Police Department acted within the protocols that exist. We had an existing city ordinance. The officer that responded had probable cause to issue the citation.”
Krokos did everything she could to fight it, even filing a formal complaint, but was issued a summons to appear in court. She said no attorney wanted to fight the city.
Her ethics teacher at Front Range Community College told her to contact the ACLU and attorney David Lane.
“I looked into it and I messaged David and his firm. I messaged them, shot in the dark. Couple days later, I get a message saying, ‘We got this. Don’t worry about anything, we got it.’”
Krokos was beyond relieved.
“The City of Loveland called me and was like, ‘Oh, let’s talk about this complaint, let’s figure things out.’ It’s a little too late and they did admit fault in some sense, like ‘Yeah we guess that the constitution casts doubt on this municipal code so I guess we’ll just let it go’ but that wasn’t enough for me.”
Since her settlement, things haven’t exactly been easy. The backlash has been severe.
“I’ve gotten lots of threatening messages like, ‘You liberal scum’ and you know, all these other threatening messages, like ‘Where do you live so I can take pictures of you?’”
She is trying her best to ignore the threats. She believes the outcome of her topless Frisbee session is well worth it.
“Just fight. If you fight, chances are you are going to make some kind of difference you are going to do something for your community, for yourself and it’s better to fight than to just take it laying down because there’s probably other women who have had a similar experience.”
She recently laid out in her yard topless and was pleased to see no police presence.
“I’m not going to be the type of person that’s going to walk down main street Loveland and be like, ‘Look at me!’”
But if she wants to take her shirt off because she’s hot, she will.
“I didn’t care about the money, whether we got it or not. I just wanted to make a statement that it’s not okay to treat women this way,” she said.
The court ruled in February that the law only prohibited women from going topless in violation of the 14th Amendment.
City officials plan to recommend that city councilors review the ordinance.
LINK: Settlement Agreement