Hartmann Denies He Complained in Nude Bathers Case

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Camden Courier-Post – June 25, 1933

Resents Imputation by Judge Pancoast of Being Prudish ‘Person’

Says Mayor Sent Cops

Mayor Roy R. Stewart made the complaint which led to the arrest of 14 nude male bathers in North Camden Thursday, Frank J. Hartmann declared Saturday. Hartmann so stated in a letter expressing resentment to an indirect reference made by Police Judge Garfield Pancoast against him as the complainant. Hartmann is secretary of the New Jersey Congress of Civic Associations and of the North Camden Civic Association.

Pancoast, in releasing the defendants, mostly all boys, said the complainant was probably “the same man who read the New Testament during the Summer, never went swimming when the temperature went up to 92 degrees, and probably was the same man who did not know that the cost to the taxpayers for every arrest in the city averages $3.87.”

Hartmann told newspapermen that he construed Pancoast’s remarks were directed at him, and stated that he believed Pancoast had been misinformed as to who was the complainant in the arrest of the bather.

Hartmann 's letter Pancoast follows:

“In the press I read where someone is taken to task by you in your official capacity because of a complaint of nude bathing in Cooper river on Thursday afternoon.

“During a meeting of the Commissioners in City Hall, that day, it was clearly brought out that vandalism in Camden was a disease, running unchecked; that at that very moment vandals were practically tearing the Bernstein building [ 602 North 10th Street – ed. ] apart, piece by piece, and that lawlessness was spreading along other lines; for instance even at that moment men and boys could be seen bathing in the nude. It was at this point that the mayor demanded to know where; it was the mayor who called the police out; it was the mayor who made the complaint, and I suppose it was the mayor to whom you referred.

“Out of all fairness to the mayor I don’t think that he believed me when he ordered the police out, because he knows it cost $3.87 for each arrest (even if you accuse me of not knowing) at a total of $54.78, and I know that he would not deliberately waste the taxpayers’ money, because I am sure he knows that, nothing would be done to anybody caught violating the law. At this point I could say something that was brought out at that meeting regarding the influence of politics in obtaining leniency for those caught violating the law, but since I did not make those accusation’s, I am going to let that pass.

“Defending the mayor because he was visibly upset when the facts were stated, I suppose he thought of his own mother, sister, wife or daughter being subjected to alleged indecencies, I do not know the people who live in the vicinity where the arrests were made but they are just as human as they are anywhere else in the world and I can say for myself and perhaps for you that I do not appreciate such performances, on behalf of the women folks.

Father and Son Class

“Another thing, according to the press, the ages of the bathers were such as to be in the father and son classes. Few fathers parade around naked before their children, and never before other children, and out of all fairness to the parents of those children of those tender ages of whom you so carefully spoke, they were not aware of the fact that their children were in such company, assuming nothing else was being done except swimming. In your criticism you could have made that point just a little clearer.

“I expect to attend the next commission meeting with the members of the Congress of Civic Associations, at which time we are going to find out if that is the co-operation that can be expected, namely, criticism. But I suppose I will be a lot better off at that. Just imagine what I would have heard if there were no bathers there, at all”

“May I say that the real complaint was read at the North Camden Civic Association meeting Monday night, June 19, at which time the press was present, took notes, but did not deem it of sufficient importance to even mention it.

“In conclusion may I say I earnestly believe that with a proper system of education, protection, and correction, vandalism will be remedied, and that the opening of that expensive pool in Pyne Poynt Park, (costing the taxpayers a whole lot more than the $3.87) which is slowly disintegrating, will prevent the nude bathing of which the mayor recently complained.”


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