A Utah stepmother is facing criminal charges that could force her to register as a sex offender after being seen topless by her stepchildren in her own home.
Tilli Buchanan, 28, was working with her husband in her garage in late 2017 or early 2018, when they both removed their shirts to prevent dust from reaching them, the Associated Press reported.
The 9- and 13-year-olds saw the topless couple – and when their birth mother learned after the incident, she mentioned it to child welfare authorities because she was "alarmed," the report said.
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The stepmother was charged in February with three counts of negligence involving a child. The husband faces no charges.
If convicted, the woman could be forced to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
"If we lose it, she's on the record of sex offenders with child rapists and things like that," Buchanan lawyer Randy Richards told the Salt Lake Tribune. "The magnitude of the penalty is huge."
"If we lose it, she's on the record of sex offenders with child rapists and things like that. The magnitude of the penalty is huge."
Following a hearing in Salt Lake City, Buchanan has spoken out against what he considers a double standard for topless men and women.
“It was in the privacy of my own home. My husband was close to me just like me, and he's not being sued, ”she said.
But prosecutors in West Valley City argued that Buchanan was "under the influence of alcohol" when she took off her shirt and commented that she would only wear it again if her husband exposed himself, the Tribune said.
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Several US states have engaged in debates about whether women should be topless in public. A group called Free the Nipple has had mixed success in fighting on behalf of women who want to be treated the same as men in the issue.
The judge expects to reach a decision in about two months, the Tribune said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.