Utah Woman Charged With Lewdness For Being Topless at Home

Joe: 106.7 WIZN, that is Aerosmith “Janie’s Got a Gun.” Joe Vega taking you through your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home, and I’m joined now by Ben Barry from  Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Welcome back, Ben.

Ben: Good Morning. How you doing, Joe?

Joe: I’m doing well. So, calling you with the please tell me this can’t happen in Vermont or New York. It’s a story coming out of Utah, and the gist of it is this, a couple is…they’re putting insulation into their garage. They’re covered in that stuff and so they wanna get out of it. So they step into the backyard, it’s a private backyard, and they strip down their clothes and obviously, this is his second marriage. His kids and her stepchildren were there, and they saw stepmom’s boobs. And basically, it wasn’t a sexual thing or anything like that, but they just happened to get a glimpse at their stepmother’s boobs, and they told their real mother, who called the police, who then arrested the stepmother and charged her with misdemeanor lewdness involving a child conviction, which could mean jail time and registering as a sex offender for 10 years. By the way, the husband, who was also topless, they saw his nipples, too. He’s obviously not facing any charges. So, is this a state by state thing? Like could this happen in New York or Vermont?

Ben: It could, potentially. First, the thing in Utah, intent has a lot to do with the criminal statutes and so it depends on the mother’s intent. Did she intend to be lewd in front of children? And I think that that’s gonna be meted out with the facts. In Vermont and New York, both are pretty liberal with toplessness for the female gender. What I would advise is that you check the local ordinances wherever you intend to go topless because states do treat it differently, localities treat it differently. For example, New York City you can go topless. It’s codified, not a problem. There are places in Vermont where full nudity was permitted. Brattleboro, I believe was full nudity. And then in 2007, I think, 2008, they passed a law just indicating that nudity in the middle of town was not allowed. So it does depend on where you are and its specific to the locality.

Joe: So it’s not a state by state thing. It’s more of a township by township thing?

Ben: Generally, unless the state legislature has determined that it’s legal. I don’t think that a local legislature can then say it’s illegal. So if that state says its okay, then usually the local ordinances say it’s okay. But if the state’s silent, then it generally would probably be local ordinance that would prevail.

Joe: Well, there you go. Check with your local ordinance before you let anyone see your boobs, apparently.

Ben: Well, with Utah, I think the interesting thing with that case is there are cases from surrounding states that would suggest that there should be equal treatment for topless women and so those decisions might put pressure on Utah to kind of change their position, but we’ll see.

Joe: All right. Thank you very much, Ben Barry from Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti.

Ben: Thank you, Joe.

Joe: You, of course, can call Ben at anytime at 1-800-LAW1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. All right, I’m getting on out of here. Mel Allen taking over from here. He’s got Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses coming up.