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Community service deal could end charges against Pa. student who dressed as half-nude pope

An indecent exposure charge could be dropped against a Carnegie Mellon University student who tossed condoms to spectators while parading nude from the waist down while dressed as the pope in April.

Under the deal announced by the American Civil Liberties Union, 19-year-old Katherine O'Connor of Pittsburgh must perform 80 hours of community service. If she does that by Oct. 21, the charge will be dismissed by a city magistrate.

University police charged O'Connor last month after Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh complained privately to school officials, then publicly expressed concerns that O'Connor's performance was intolerant of Catholicism. A diocesan spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on the deal reached at a preliminary hearing Monday.

University president Jared Cohon previously apologized, saying the school encourages artistic expression but acknowledging public nudity is illegal.

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