Woman who exposed self reenacting Virginia state seal to be released from jail

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A woman who exposed her breast while reenacting the Virginia state seal was released from jail Thursday after being ordered held without bond, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Michelle Renay Sutherland, 45, of New York, was released on a $700 bond Thursday after she was arrested on an indecent exposure charge on Monday. 

Sutherland exposed herself during a protest to express support for the Equal Rights Amendment.{mosads}

Richmond Judge Lawrence B. Cann III initially ordered Sutherland to remain in jail without bond on Tuesday. The move drew criticism from Sutherland’s supporters, who said it was unusual for a misdemeanor charge.

Cann apologized in a court hearing on Thursday for not giving Sutherland bond, according to the Times-Dispatch. The judge reportedly said he made the decision because he did not have context behind Sutherland’s arrest.

Sutherland, a Brooklyn artist who also goes by the name Sister Leona, was recreating Virginia’s state seal on Monday with members of activist group Equal Means Equal. The seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus with an exposed breast.

The Republican-held House of Delegates quashed a proposal on Thursday to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which would establish gender equality as a principle in the U.S. Constitution. 

Virginia would have been the 38th state to ratify the amendment, surpassing the three-fourths threshold needed to add an amendment to the Constitution. 

Tags Equal Rights Amendment Gender equality Virginia

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