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Utah Woman Who Went Topless In Her Own Home Could Be Forced To Register As A Sex Offender

CBS 17 / YouTube

A Utah woman faces the possibility of being forced to register as a sex offender.

Her crime?

Being topless in her own home.

Tilli Buchanan and the ACLU of Utah are fighting the charges. If they are unsuccessful, Buchanan faces having to register as a sex offender.

All this from an innocuous incident two years ago.

Buchanan and her husband were installing drywall in their garage in late 2017 and early 2018. While they worked, they had removed their tops that had become dusty and itchy from the fibers.

During this, her husband’s three children, aged 9, 10 and 13, entered the garage and saw her without any covering over the top half of her body.

According to court documents, Buchanan 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.”

Buchanan’s husband, who was standing next to her in the exact same state of undress, has not been charged.

Police and prosecutors are arguing a very different series of events. They claim Buchanan purposefully took off her shirt in front of the children while under the influence of alcohol.

Judge Kara Pettit heard the case earlier this week but didn’t make a decision. She has said it is “too important of an issue” to rule immediately and will decide in the coming months.

This whole incident came to trial after an investigation by child welfare officials began looking into an incident that didn’t even involve Buchanan.

The mother of the children reported the incident because she was “alarmed”.

Across the country, a movement to decriminalize women being topless has had mixed results.

The “Free the Nipple” movement suffered a setback in New Hampshire earlier this year, when the state’s highest court upheld a conviction against three of their members who were arrested for going topless on a beach in 2016.

However, there has been success as well. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling blocking a law against women going topless in public.

Most commonly, social media received the ire of people who post images. Women sharing photos that happen to have a nipple exposed can receive bans and punishments, even if the photo is non-sexual.

However, as in all these cases, men’s nipples are not treated the same way.

If the court rules against her, Buchanan faces fines and imprisonment, and having to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Leah Farrell, attorney for the ACLU of Utah, is supporting Buchanan’s case.

She says:

“Simply because Miss Buchanan is a woman, she is facing this charge. Therefore, women throughout Utah are at higher risk of facing a criminal charge simply because of their gender.”

“There are different ideas around what morality is or is not. But the state’s reach to criminalize morality based on gender and gender stereotyping is incredibly problematic.”

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Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.