A 28-year-old Utah woman is fighting lewdness charges against her and trying to get her state’s law changed after she was accused of exposing her breasts to her three stepkids. Defense attorney Randy Richards tells the Salt Lake Tribune that his client, Tilli Buchanan, could end up behind bars and also be forced to appear on the sex offender registry for 10 years if she’s convicted on three misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct stemming from an incident Buchanan says took place in her home in the fall of 2016 (prosecutors say the time frame was about a year later). Buchanan, who was charged in February, talked to the Tribune in September, telling the story she says started when she and her husband stripped off their dirty clothes, down to their underwear, after putting up insulation in their garage in preparation to jump in the shower.
Her three stepkids—two boys and a girl, ages 9, 10, and 13—then came in and saw her topless. Buchanan says she decided to use the situation as a “teaching moment,” per the Tribune: She said they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable at seeing her chest, as their dad’s didn’t bother them. Prosecutors paint a different picture, claiming Buchanan took her shirt off in front of them after saying if her husband could be topless, so could she; they also say Buchanan, “under the influence of alcohol,” said she’d only put her shirt back on if her husband showed her his penis. Buchanan’s defense cites a Colorado case in which a judge blocked a city ordinance banning women from publicly baring their breasts. Utah’s law “says this part of a woman is found inherently obscene and this part of a man isn’t,” Buchanan’s ACLU of Utah attorney says. “That really sets up an unequal and unfair dichotomy.”