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2 Bumps

Ariz. Couple Sues Walmart Over Kids' Bath Photos

 

 

In 2008, Lisa and Anthony "A.J." Demaree took their three young daughters on a trip to San Diego. They returned home to Arizonaand brought photos of their then 5, 4 and 1 1/2 year old daughters to a local Walmart in Peoria to be developed.

That should have been that, except instead of receiving 144 happy familial memories, Walmart employees reported the Demarees to the Peoria Police Department on the suspicion that they had taken pornographic images of their children. The police, in turn, called in the Arizona Child Protective Services Agency, and the couple lost custody of their daughters for over a month.

They were shocked. "Some of the photos are bathtime photos," Lisa Demaree told ABC News at the time, "but there are a few after the bath. Three of the girls are naked, lying on a towel with their arms around each other, and we thought it was so cute."

Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled that the photographs were not, in fact, pornographic, and a medical exam revealed no signs of sexual abuse. The girls were returned to their parents.

But the damage had been done: The couple's named went on a central registry of sex offenders, and "We've missed a year of our children's lives as far as memories go," Demaree told ABC News.

In 2009, the couple sued the city of Peoria and the State Attorney General's office for defamation. They also sued Walmart for failing to tell them that they had an "unsuitable print policy" and could turn over photos to law enforcement without the customer's knowledge.

A federal judge in Phoenix sided with Walmart, ruling that employees in Arizona cannot be held liable for reporting suspected child pornography. The Demarees appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on March 6 the court held a hearing before three judges.

"The photos involved were simple childhood nudity," the family's lawyer, Richard Treon, told ABC News. He argued that Walmart committed fraud on its customers by not disclosing that employees would look at their photographs. Nor did customers know that employees could take photos they found offensive to their boss, who could then call the police.

"In order to convict a person of a crime of sexual exploitation of a child, you have to show that the intent of the photographer was to sexually stimulate the viewer. All the experts agree that even police officers don't have the authority to make that decision," said Treon. "So, we argued that Walmart was negligent in setting up this program with untrained clerks and giving them tremendous power over the lives of their customers."

Walmart did not respond to an interview request from ABC News. But, according to Courthouse News the company's lawyer, Lawrence Kasten, argued that under Arizona statute employees who report child abuse without malice are immune from prosecution. He added that there was no indication of malice in this case.

"I fear that what may happen after this case is [that the] employee will sit there and say, boy, if I turn these over my employer is going to spend millions of dollars in legal fees, and I'm going to get hauled in front of a deposition for eight hours, [so] maybe I'll just stick them back in the envelope and not worry about them," he said. "Immunity is supposed to prevent exactly that from happening."

It's unknown when the appeals court will rule on the case against the city and Walmart.

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/ariz-couple-sues-walmart-over-kids-bath-photos-114806960--abc-news-savings-and-investment.html

 

Here is my two cents worth for what it matters. I thought it was common knowledge that Wal-Mart will not print any nudity photos. Why was this a surprise to them? Second, while I haven't seen what the photos look like, based on their description (and level of nudity- was it a full body shot?), I would probably inform my boss of these photos as well. You just never know. What a perfect way to get child porn printed by making it look like family photos, kwim? In my opinion, common sense was lacking all around and it is unfortunate that the family had to do through this but suing Wal-Mart "for failing to tell them that they had an "unsuitable print policy" and could turn over photos to law enforcement without the customer's knowledge." is ridiculous. That's like saying you are going to sue someone because you are ignorant. Anyways, my views were completely different than the others that were left on the article. So, what are your thoughts?

Answer Question
 
JeremysMom

Asked by JeremysMom at 8:24 AM on Mar. 9, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 35 (75,344 Credits)
Answers (23)
  • Digital...that's all I gotta say about it.
    hopeandglory53

    Answer by hopeandglory53 at 8:30 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • I'm sorry, but you'd think people would know better by now. I see nothing wrong w/ taking tastefully done, perfectly innocent shots of the kids like that when they're little. It's been done for generations for Pete's sake. Unfortunately, in this depraved world we live in where some people get a sick perverse pleasure out of seeing those things, it causes issues like this one. It's terrible that it went that far. As a parent, I can't imagine dealing with all of that mess. But at the same time, we live in a digital era. So people can take care of downloading or viewing their personal family photos w/out the help of places like WalMart.

    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 8:35 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • I don't think pornographers are using Walmart to develop their photos.
    Side note. People still use actual film nowadays??
    butterflyblue19

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 8:36 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • I don't think pornographers are using Walmart to develop their photos.


    You would be surprised. Just a few years ago, a man was caught getting his child porn pictures developed at Wal-Mart not far from where I live. 


    Side note. People still use actual film nowadays??


    The article didn't say bu I wonder if she had a digital camera and was doing the 1 hour prints at their kiosk machines.

    JeremysMom

    Comment by JeremysMom (original poster) at 8:41 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • I have mixed thoughts. My first thought was that they traumatized these girls by ripping them out of their home and putting the parents on a sex offenders list for what turned out to be no reason at all. These parents lost custody of their children for a month. Some simple and quick information would should have told them that this was not necessary. The exam for sexual abuse ( both psychological and physical ) could have been done with in a day or two.
    --- I have some friends who were turned in by the school because their DD fell out of a chair and got a huge bruise on her inner thigh. She was never removed from the home but their was an interview a the school and she had 24 hours to report with her DD to the sexual abuse center. While there were a few follow up. Her DD remained in her home despite suspicion of sexual abuse because the interview went well and they agreed to report or face arrest.
    cont'd
    But_Mommie

    Answer by But_Mommie at 8:52 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • on the other hand the policy is in place to help children. What if it *had* been child pornography... I am sure it did not *really* look like it but it is there job to report any suspicion. Sometimes those suspicions are right. If you scare the employees out of saying anything that can be harmful.

    So really- I feel it was handled as it should have been by wal-mart. I would be more concerned with why it took a freakin' month to figure out it was not child porn and the parents were, in fact, good parents. I could see maybe being removed for a couple days... but a month!? and why were they on the sex offenders list without arrest? The government side of this would be my concern. Not wal-marts.
    But_Mommie

    Answer by But_Mommie at 8:55 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • Digital or not, if you don't have your own picture printer you still need to use Walmart or another photo developing company to get prints of your digital photos.

    It's hard to judge without seeing the photos. I still feel for the poor kids that had to have a physical exam to rule out sexual abuse, all because of a few photographs that proved NOT to be of a sexual nature. I would sue if my kids had to go through that as well.
    tnm786

    Answer by tnm786 at 9:01 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • I find it disturbing that we live in a world where parents get their kids taken from them, get accused of being sexual abusers, their children suffer extreme psychological damage all because they wanted to develop some pictures for their own private use. Where does the line get drawn? Can the mother who breasted her newborn and had pictures taken of it not develop her photos either?
    tnm786

    Answer by tnm786 at 9:05 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • "So really- I feel it was handled as it should have been by wal-mart. I would be more concerned with why it took a freakin' month to figure out it was not child porn and the parents were, in fact, good parents. I could see maybe being removed for a couple days... but a month!? and why were they on the sex offenders list without arrest? The government side of this would be my concern. Not wal-marts."


     


    Exactly! 

    JeremysMom

    Comment by JeremysMom (original poster) at 9:10 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

  • In order to convict a person of a crime of sexual exploitation of a child, you have to show that the intent of the photographer was to sexually stimulate the viewer.

    This is asinine and when dealing with perverts has nothing to do with nudity. They can get off on a child posing innocently in a swimsuit. That statement is a very slippery slope.
    tnm786

    Answer by tnm786 at 9:14 AM on Mar. 9, 2013

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