‘It’s ridiculous’: Mum ‘guilty’ after kids see her topless
A Utah woman who fought against criminal charges after being seen topless by her stepchildren in her home took a plea deal Tuesday to avoid having to register as a sex offender if convicted, her lawyers said.
Tilli Buchanan, 28, had challenged the state's lewdness law, arguing it was unconstitutional on the grounds that it discriminated against women by making it illegal to show their breasts.
"This whole thing is ridiculous," her lawyer Randy Richards said. "She (or other women) have to worry about their kids seeing them topless? It's ridiculous."
The judge had sided with prosecutors who argued that lewdness is commonly understood to include women's breasts in US society.
Ms Buchanan had been working with her husband in their garage in late 2017 or early 2018 when they both took off their shirts to avoid getting dust on them - which the stepchildren, ages 9 and 13 saw. When the children's birth mother heard about the incident, she alerted welfare officials because she was "alarmed," and charges were filed.
The stepmother faced prison time and would have had to register as a sex offender for 10 years if convicted. Mr Richards said the stakes were too high for Ms Buchanan if the case went to trial.
"If we lose this, she's on the sex offender registry with child rapists and things of that nature," Mr Richards told the Salt Lake Tribune last year. "The magnitude of the penalty on this is enormous."
Ms Buchanan spoke out against what she believed was a double standard between topless men and women.
"It was in the privacy of my own home. My husband was right next to me in the same exact manner that I was, and he's not being prosecuted," she said.
Police argued she was "under the influence of alcohol" when she took off her shirt.
Ms Buchanan was originally charged with three counts of misdemeanour lewdness involving a child in February last year. The husband faced no charges.
In the agreement, she pleaded guilty one count of lewdness, while the two other charges of lewdness involving a child were dropped. The remaining charge will be dropped if Ms Buchanan doesn't commit any new crimes for a year.
Ms Buchanan and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah had referenced a court ruling in Colorado that overturned a topless ban in the state and helped fuel a movement - which has seen mixed success fighting similar ordinances in other areas of the country.
The US Supreme Court recently left in place the conviction of three members of the Free the Nipple campaign who were arrested for going topless on a New Hampshire beach in 2016.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission