- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Walking around topless in New York City is perfectly legal for males and females, but one woman, dubbed the “topless paparazzo,” was illegally arrested several times and has won a $40,000 settlement against the city and its police department.

Holly Van Voast, 46, wears a pencil-thin mustache and prowls the streets, topless, looking to snap photos of celebrities, TMZ reported. In the lawsuit, she claimed that police have arrested or detained her at least 10 times since 2011 for being topless in public.

“The lawsuit covers 10 incidents,” Ms. Van Voast told The Village Voice. “But that doesn’t count the many, many times I talked myself out of handcuffs. That happened so much.”

Ms. Van Voast said she and her attorneys ultimately decided not to go to trial.

“All of us agreed I would really not do very well with a judge or a jury,” she said. “That’s just based on — you can look up any story about me online in the past two years, and the comments are just hideous. I was just a scapegoat for people’s anger.”

The settlement was finalized this week, and Ms. Van Voast has been awarded $40,000, while her lawyers got $37,250, The Village Voice reported.

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