updated 8/1/2008 8:01:14 PM ET 2008-08-02T00:01:14

Nude dancing remains an art in Iowa.

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A judge Friday ruled in favor of a nude dancing club owner charged with violating Iowa's indecent exposure law.

Fremont County Judge Timothy O'Grady said prosecutors failed to prove the club wasn't a theater. Iowa law allows nudity at theaters, museums and other venues devoted to the arts or theatrical performances.

The county's attorney, Margaret Johnson, charged club owner Clarence Judy after a 17-year-old girl climbed on stage at Shotgun Geniez in the tiny town of Hamburg and stripped off her clothing.

"I think it's a little scary," said Johnson, who emphasized that the girl was still a minor.

The club was sold Monday to Terry Rutledge. He expressed confidence that nude dancing would remain legal, referring to a 1998 case in Davenport that found it an art.

"In all actuality, you don't have to be a theater hall, concert hall or anything. You can be a strip club that has nude dance," Rutledge said.

The state attorney general's office will decide whether to appeal the case.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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