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‘Topless stepmom’ accepts plea deal for being undressed in own home to avoid sex offender rap

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In order to avoid having to register as a sex offender if convicted, a Utah woman facing criminal charges after her stepchildren saw her topless took a plea deal.

Tilli Buchanan challenged the state’s law on lewdness after prosecutors argued that it is commonly understood in U.S. society that this would include women’s breasts, Fox News reported.

The 28-year-old stepmother countered that the Utah law was unconstitutional because it discriminated against women by making it illegal to show their breasts.

“This whole thing is ridiculous,” Buchanan’s attorney Randy Richards said. “She [or other women] have to worry about their kids seeing them topless? It’s ridiculous.”

Buchanan’s troubles began when she was helping her husband install some insulation in their garage in late 2017 or early 2018. In order to avoid getting itchy debris on their shirts, they took them off — the police would say that Buchanan was “under the influence of alcohol” at the time.

Her husband’s children, ages 9 and 13, saw their stepmother topless and would later tell their birthmother about the incident.

“Alarmed” over the incident, the birthmother alerted welfare officials and charges were filed.

Buchanan was charged with three counts of lewdness involving a child. Protesting the charges, she cited 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.

But the stakes were “enormous,” should she lose her argument, as Richards explained last year to the Salt Lake Tribune.

“If we lose this, she’s on the sex offender registry with child rapists and things of that nature,” he said. “The magnitude of the penalty on this is enormous.”

The Supreme Court let stand the conviction of three members of the Free the Nipple campaign arrested in 2016 for going topless on a beach in New Hampshire, Fox News noted.

The ACLU said the Utah law discriminated against women and was looking to have the court strike it down as unconstitutional.

“In the statute, there’s one part of it that says this part of a woman is found inherently obscene and this part of a man isn’t,” ACLU attorney Leah Farrell said, according to the Tribune. “That really sets up an unequal and unfair dichotomy. And Tilli’s case is something none of us would expect to happen to us.”

The arguments went back and forth online, with some agreeing with Buchanan that there is no difference between her and her husband, and others asking what’s wrong with this woman?

Here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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