Courtesy Lindsay Marsh
Lindsay Marsh was shocked when she found out her ex-husband, Chris Marsh, asked to keep a book of her intimate photographs as the two figured out the details of their divorce.
She tells PEOPLE the situation took an unexpected turn when Utah 2nd District Judge Michael Edwards, who presided over their divorce, agreed to let Chris keep the "boudoir album" after they were censored by a third party to obscure Marsh's body.
"It was shocking and quite disturbing to me," Lindsay, 43, says of the dispute over the album, which includes topless pictures meant as a gift for someone she loved.
"I never would've thought my husband of 25 years, my high school sweetheart, the man that I chose to have three beautiful children with, would one day turn his back on me in a revengeful, disgusting retaliation and be so cruel as to ask for something like this," she adds. "And I think it's even more appalling that a judge that has taken an oath to protect and to uphold the law has not done that."
In messages sent to PEOPLE, Chris explained that the "main focus" of his request for the album was the inscriptions Lindsay wrote on the photographs — something he says his attorney argued to Judge Edwards. He also claimed Lindsay shared some of the pictures on social media in the time since they were taken.
PEOPLE reached out to Utah State Courts for comment about the decision.
In a ruling cited by the Salt Lake Tribune, Edwards ordered the original photographer of the images to do "whatever it takes to modify the pages of the pictures" so that any of [Lindsay] in "lingerie or that sort of thing or even without clothing are obscured and taken out."
But, the judge explained, the letters Lindsay wrote to Chris have to be "maintained for memory's sake," according to documents obtained by news station KSL.
Lindsay says the photographer, a friend of hers, initially refused to make the edits after the ruling, fearing it would "jeopardize her business" since her clients trust her with their privacy. Lindsay hoped the decision to hand over the photographs would be dismissed, but Edwards then decided the modifications would have to be done by someone else, she says.
Courtesy Lindsay Marsh
"The judge ended up ordering me to have to give these books to this other man that I don't know so that he can make the edits and get the inscription for my ex-husband," Lindsay says. "I have no idea who he is."
Lindsay's photographer ultimately changed her mind and agreed to black out the images after the judge ruled they'd have to be sent to someone else. But the initial decision — to allow a third person to gain access to her intimate pictures — was something Lindsay says made her feel "violated."
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Lindsay says her ex-husband now has a "redacted version of the book with just the inscriptions," but she must hold on to the original images until December in case there is a change in the ruling.
She says she has filed a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Commission of Utah but has not heard back from the organization.
"I just hope that having gone through this process, if I can help one other person who's gone through something maybe similar or could be potentially in the future, go through something similar, won't have to go through the same feelings I felt," Lindsay says. "If I can protect someone from going through this, then this will all be worth it for me."