Massachusetts Judge Dismisses Indecency Charge, But Fines PETA Activist for Disturbing the Peace

The Harvard Crimson reported in September that a district judge dismissed indecency charges against six activists with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but upheld a charge of disturbing the peace against PETA’s Dan Mathews.

The case stems from a March 1 protest in which the six activists stripped to their underwear in Harvard Square to protest fur. At the protest, Mathews shouted,

We’re here because we care. We’re bare in Harvard square. Wearing fur’s not fair. WeÂ’re in our underwear.

In addition to Matthews, those arrested were Aryenish Tiraz Birdie, Amy Thomson, Brandi Valladolid, Kristin Waller and Karla Waples.

Except for Mathews, the disturbing the peace charges were “continued without a finding” meaning that as long as the activists aren’t arrested in Massachusetts again over the next six months, the charge will be dismissed. Mathews chose to plead guilty to the charge, according to his attorney, because he doesn’t want the restraint of being arrest free for the next six months. In addition, Mathews said that he has had to travel to Cambridge repeatedly for time consuming court hearings and it was easier to just pay the $300 fine.

The Crimson reported that Matthews said he has been arrested more than 20 times since he joined PETA.


Court dismisses PETA charges. Joseph Tartakoff, Harvard Crimson, September 17, 2004.

PETA Protest Ends in 6 Arrests. Faryl Ury, Harvard Crimson, March 2, 2004.