US woman charged for being topless in front of stepchildren, accepts plea deal
A Utah woman has accepted a plea deal after being charged for being topless in front of her stepchildren in her own home.
Tilli Buchanan opted for the plea to avoid having the criminal case go to trial and having to register as a sex offender if convicted, her attorney told local media.
“She would have loved to take it up on appeal,” the attorney, Randy Richards, told the Salt Lake Tribune, describing the case as “ludicrous.”
“But it was pretty much at my advice that she not -- not because I don’t think she would win, but there’s a possibility that if we go all the way to trial, she’d be convicted by a jury and then she had to be on the sex offender registry.”
Buchanan had been charged with three misdemeanor counts of lewdness involving a child after her three stepkids aged nine to 13 saw her topless while she and her husband had been installing insulation in their garage.
The husband was also topless but he was not charged.
The couple had said they had stripped down to their underwear to avoid getting dirty.
Buchanan was charged in early 2019 after the children’s mother reported the incident to authorities.
She argued in court documents that if her husband could bare his chest, there was no reason she couldn’t.
But prosecutors disagreed and underlined that lewdness includes a woman’s breasts in contemporary American society.
In her plea on Tuesday, Buchanan admitted to exposing her breasts in front of an adult which “caused affront or alarm.” The charge will be dropped after a year as long as she does not commit another crime.
“This whole thing is ridiculous,” her attorney said. “She (or other women) have to worry about their kids seeing them topless? It’s ridiculous.”
He said his client had essentially pleaded guilty to being topless in front of her husband.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, which was involved in the case, had said the charges against Buchanan amounted to prosecutorial overreach and should have never gone this far.
“When I talk to people about the case I don’t think any of them realized they could be charged for a crime for walking around with their shirt off inside their own home,” ACLU attorney Leah Farrell previously told The New York Times.