Utah's 'Topless Stepmom' Takes a Plea Deal With a Quirk

Tilli Buchanan essentially pleads guilty to offending her husband
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Utah's 'Topless Stepmom' Takes a Plea Deal With a Quirk
In this Nov. 19, 2019, file photo, Tilli Buchanan, left, reads a document in court as she sits with Randy Richards, right, her attorney, during deliberations in a case where Buchanan was charged with criminal lewdness involving a child, in Salt Lake City.   (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File)

The Utah woman charged for going topless in her own home in the presence of her stepkids has decided to take a plea deal. Tilli Buchanan, 28, was arrested in November on lewd conduct charges after her stepchildren saw her breasts; she tried to have the case dismissed but found out last month that wasn't going to happen. On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to one count of lewdness in a deal that means she won't be placed on the sex offender registry. Had she gone to trial and been convicted, she would have ended up on it for a decade, her lawyer explains to Fox News. Buchanan says she and her husband had been installing insulation in their garage and took off their dirty, itchy clothes to take a shower.

Prosecutors say she had been drinking and purposely stripped down in front of the children to make a point. She told the kids "everybody should be fine with walking around their house or elsewhere with skin showing," since her husband was also topless, prosecutors say in court filings, per the Salt Lake Tribune. The Deseret News explains that while she had faced three counts of lewdness in front of a child, the lewdness count she pleaded guilty to doesn't relate to children. That means she essentially pleaded guilty to to offending her husband, says Jason Stevenson of the ACLU of Utah, which worked on Buchanan's case. "We think that it shows how ridiculous this is." Buchanan had tried to invalidate a portion of Utah's topless ban as she sought to have her case dismissed, but the judge refused. (More Utah stories.)

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