Alleged Utah employee charged with sexual battery after skirt-dispute video goes viral

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ST. GEORGE — A southern Utah woman was arrested Wednesday and accused of sexual battery after police say she approached another woman whose skirt she deemed to be too short and tugged on it at a restaurant.

The incident at a crowded St. George restaurant was captured on video and shared on social media, where it went viral. The video shows a woman apparently confronting someone and saying, "I happen to work for the state," while displaying what appears to be an ID badge and threatening to call child protective services. During the 36-second video, the friends of the woman wearing the skirt can be heard saying she's 19 years old and "You do not get to touch her."

Police say Ida Lorenzo, 48, of Santa Clara, called 911 on Sunday to report harassment in connection to the previous night at the restaurant.

"Ida would like to talk to an officer about a woman wearing a skirt that had hiked up" inappropriately, according to a police booking affidavit, "and there were several minors and small kids present; staff and other adults weren't addressing the issue."

Lorenzo then "approached the woman and pulled her skirt down and told her to be aware of what she was showing, especially with small kids around; this caused all the people with her to accuse (Lorenzo) of sexually assaulting the female," the affidavit states.

Lorenzo told police she was concerned about the the video being posted, along with her name, and people "insinuating this was sexual in nature," police wrote. Lorenzo said she was concerned "because she is a member of the community, and holds a position with the state, that this is now a threat on her life," the affidavit says.

St. George police officer Tiffany Mitchell told KSL on Thursday that Lorenzo confirmed in an interview with police that she works for the state. Mitchell did not say what her position is.

Mitchell noted Lorenzo was concerned about children in the restaurant, but added, "She didn't have the right to go up there and pull that female's skirt down. And the fact that she holds a position that she has, she should probably have known better not to do that."

KSL has learned Lorenzo may be an employee of the Utah Attorney General's Office. In a statement, the office did not confirm her employment but said it is "aware of the alleged incident and (is) addressing the situation."

According to the affidavit, Lorenzo told police the other woman entered the restaurant "wearing explicit clothing that was exposing" herself inappropriately.

"Ida stated she was sitting down in the waiting area to be seated, and the female was standing near the host stand. Ida stated that a 10-year-old boy near her, that she had no relation to, pointed at the female's clothing, and the boy's father did not do anything about it. Ida felt that it was her responsibility to address the female by approaching her, and attempted to pull down the female's skirt to cover what Ida explained to be exposed genitalia," the affidavit states.

Lorenzo told the officer the woman "ignored" her, so she threatened to contact child protective services to file an indecent exposure report, police said. The affidavit notes Lorenzo reported thinking the woman was a minor as well.

"I asked her why she thought it was appropriate to touch another person, and how she thought that to protect a minor would mean to touch another assumed minor," the officer wrote in the affidavit.

Lorenzo told police she "never touched the female, and that she had only touched the female's skirt," police said. The officer told Lorenzo she had "still engaged in criminal behavior by touching the female's clothing, and her behavior was not appropriate.

"I asked her why she did not call the police, and she told me that it would have taken the police too long to respond, so she had to take action herself," the officer wrote.

Police said the woman who had her skirt pulled down contacted them on Monday and reported "she was sexually assaulted while in the lobby" of the restaurant. She said the woman "confronted" her "while her back was turned to her, and without any notice, or formal warning, she felt cold hands go up her skirt, touching her buttocks before she felt her skirt being pulled on," according to police.

The woman said she was "startled" by the interaction and "felt violated," the affidavit states.

Police say several other witnesses spoke to them about the incident. The woman provided police video of herself in the skirt she wore the night at the restaurant and disputed any indecent exposure, according to the affidavit.

Lorenzo was arrested Wednesday and charged the same day with sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.

Contributing: Lauren Steinbrecher

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Ashley Imlay is an evening news manager for A lifelong Utahn, Ashley has also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.


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