Wed | Aug 5, 2020

US woman fighting charge after kids see her topless at home

Published:Thursday | November 21, 2019 | 11:14 AM
Tilli Buchanan is seen in Judge Kara Pettit's Third District Courtroom with her attorney Randy Richards, November 19, 2019. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah woman charged with a crime after her stepchildren saw her topless in her own home is fighting the case that could force her to register as a sex offender, citing a court ruling that overturned a topless ban in Colorado.

Attorneys for Tilli Buchanan argue that the law is unfair because it treats men and women differently for baring their chests.

They are asking a judge to overturn her misdemeanour lewdness charges and declare that part of the law unconstitutional.

Prosecutors counter that nudity is commonly understood to include women’s breasts in American society and that courts have upheld laws based on morality.

Judge Kara Pettit heard the case Tuesday but said it was “too important of an issue” to decide immediately.

She plans to rule in the coming months.

Buchanan said she and her husband had taken off their shirts to keep their clothes from getting dusty while they worked in their garage in late 2017 or early 2018.

When the children, ages 9 through 13, walked in, she “explained she considers herself a feminist and wanted to make a point that everybody should be fine with walking around their house or elsewhere with skin showing,” her lawyers said in court documents.

Buchanan was charged with three counts of misdemeanour lewdness involving a child in February.

It came after child welfare officials began an investigation involving the kids that wasn’t tied to Buchanan and the children’s mother reported the incident to authorities because she was “alarmed.”

Buchanan’s husband was not charged.

“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 after the court hearing.

If convicted, Buchanan could be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

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