Criminal Justice

Parents Sue Walmart for Reporting Bath-Time Photos

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More child porn hysteria.

An Arizona couple accused of sexual abuse after taking bath-time photos of their children and then trying to have them developed at Walmart are suing the state and the retail giant.

Lisa and Anthony "A.J." Demaree's three young daughters were taken away by Arizona Child Protective Services last fall when a Walmart employee found partially nude pictures of the girls on a camera memory stick taken to the store for processing, according to the suit.

The Peoria couple's attorney said Walmart turned the photos over to police and the Demarees were not allowed to see their children for several days and didn't regain custody for a month while the state investigated.

Neither parent was charged with sexual abuse and they regained custody of their children — then ages 1 1/2, 4 and 5 — but the Demarees claim the incident inflicted lasting harm.

Given how some previous cases like this one have gone, the Demarees should probably consider themselves lucky.

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  1. I don’t know if they should be suing Walmart. Isn’t there a law saying that people at these photo labs are obligated to report anything even vaguely nudity-related involving children? Maybe it varies by state.

    1. There are privacy rights inherented into the constitution. As the 4th Amendement protects illegal search and siezure. Walmart has a duty under the privacy act not to disclose pictures. they are 100% liable. Any (copy) pictures taken by a walmart employee is in violation of a list of criminal activity.

  2. I know a cute butt when I see it.

  3. I was just thinking about this kind of thing the other day, since my wife took a couple of bathtub pics of our 5 month old daughter. I’m going to jail, aren’t I. 🙁

  4. 11/2? You mean like 5 1/2?

  5. OH!

    1 and 1/2. Got it.

  6. If they didn’t want to be convicted sex offenders, they should have had sex.

  7. SHOULDN’T
    That should have been “shouldn’t”

    Damnit
    *kicks pebble

  8. I dunno, Warren, I think your original works better. Taking pictures of the kids lands you in jail, whereas fucking just gets you more kids. Stick with the sex. It’s more expensive in the long run, but you stay out of the joint.

  9. I hope they win 20,000,000,000 from both the state of Arizona and Walmart.

  10. Maybe losing a big judgment will convince Wal-Mart to put their lobbying army to work changing the law. Evidently it’s the only way things get done.

    (Standard libertarian disclaimers apply)

    There would be something sickening, though, about the state slapping Wal-Mart for violating someone’s freedom.

  11. I don’t see WalMart at fault here. They thought a crime may have been committed and turned it over to the authorities who are, after all, the experts on what constitutes a violation of the law. No WalMart employees took custody of the children. No WalMart employees dictated visiting hours for the parents.

    This is the state’s overreaction to what is apparently completely legal behavior. It is the state who should be held accountable.

    If I report what I think is a burglary in progress* and some testosterone fueled jackass cop kills a homeowner due to lack of training, I should not be held accountable in the least.

    * It might turn out that the Ivy league professor next door was simply struggling with a stuck door.

  12. Isn’t there a law saying that people at these photo labs are obligated to report anything even vaguely nudity-related involving children?

    That’s it. No more baths for my kids!

  13. I don’t see WalMart at fault here. They thought a crime may have been committed

    I disagree. Walmart had no reasonable basis for thinking that a crime had been committed. There was no reason to believe these pictures were anything other than perfectly legal pictures of someone’s own kids taking a bath.

    The consequences of Walmart’s unreasonable behavior were perfectly foreseeable, and so Walmart can and should be held liable.

    If I report what I think is a burglary in progress* and some testosterone fueled jackass cop kills a homeowner due to lack of training, I should not be held accountable in the least.

    I would say it depends on whether it is (a) reasonable to think there is a burglary in progress and (b) foreseeable that the cop guns down the homeowner.

    Why should the victim have to bear the foreseeable consequences of someone else’s unreasonable behavior?

  14. I don’t see WalMart at fault here. They thought a crime may have been committed and turned it over to the authorities who are, after all, the experts on what constitutes a violation of the law. No WalMart employees took custody of the children. No WalMart employees dictated visiting hours for the parents.

    This is the state’s overreaction to what is apparently completely legal behavior. It is the state who should be held accountable.
    __________________________________________

    THey are suing wal mart becuase it is impossible to sue the state and win! they are looking for money not justice

  15. It’s not like justice can really be served in any other way in this instance. You’re certainly not going to see anyone involved from Arizona CPS going to jail or having their kids kidnapped or anything like that.

  16. Maybe if they weren’t taxed half to death they could afford a home photoprinter.

  17. I agree completely that Wal-Mart should have no part in the fault here. If there is law or guidance by the state to report any questionable pictures, it is on the justice system to determine whether a crime has been committed. However, I wouldn’t have reported pictures of babies in a bathtub, guidance, law or not. I don’t have an over-abundance of respect for authority, but do have a strong inclination to stay out of other peoples business.

  18. And, come to think of it, a lot of those animal pictures are kinda iffy …

  19. I don’t know whether Wal-Mart is at fault here or not, but it’s not unreasonable to sue them in civil court.

    That’s what the court system is for, in part.

  20. Why not sue the police? They overreacted even more than the Wal-Mart employee?

  21. Wal-mart employees and Arizona government tards should count themselves lucky they are only facing monetary losses.

    They are lucky their heads haven’t been removed from their bodies and rolled down the street.

  22. Civil court is for taking money from companies that did no wrong? Really? People win these kind of suits regularly simply because the jury comes to the conclusion that regardless of fault, the company makes x amount of profit each year, they can afford giving this poor (usually idiot), a portion of it. Granted, it is perfectly legal to sue if you feel you’ve been wronged, but the system proves it is broken very regularly.

  23. The consequences of Walmart’s unreasonable behavior were perfectly foreseeable

    How can anyone prefectly foresee the reactions of the police? I would have foreseen the police to say “No harm, sorry for wasting your time” and write a report.

    Just because the police are called doesn’t mean the police must arrest someone and have their kids taken.

  24. Call me odd (FTR I think no crime was committed), but I think taking naked pictures of your kids IS kind of creepy.

  25. I’d like to echo JB’s 1:25pm sentiment. Heads would be rolling if this happened to me.

  26. I mean, I have a 14-year-old daughter and can’t imagine myself wanting to look at naked pictures from when she was 5.

  27. I have to admit that, in this case, I would most likely end up in prison. Not because I enjoy nude pictures of my 10 month old, but because of the dead Michigan Child Protective Services officer lying on my door step.

  28. I have had two visits from CPS. One was extremely unpleasant because the woman was an unreasonable socialist bitch. She calmly informed me that the law, my rights, and my opinion counted for exactly nothing if they determined that I was not living up to their standards for keeping my children safe. My crime? Allowing my very responsible, 5, 6, and 8 year old children to be, on rare occasions, home alone for roughly 5 minutes, and on one occasion about 15. She even said that my kids seemed well adjusted, happy, and knew all of the safety protocols that should be known in that situation.

    If some CPS jackasses were to try to take my kids from me, someone would likely not walk away. The experience we endured was hard enough on them. Being put under state care would not be allowed.

    Because of that, and the level of pissed off I would be in these peoples situation, I don’t blame them for suing. I just suspect that like someone said earlier, they are thinking of this as a financial opportunity, not as an opportunity for justice.

  29. How come none of the news agencies are showing these pictures, so we can judge for ourselves if the parents should have had them developed?

  30. The only harm for which I could see Walmart being responsible would be some sort of privacy violation. But even that’s probably not gonna fly due to the strict liability laws regarding suspicious photos of children.

    And frankly, the penalties for not disclosing such information to the authorities are far more severe than the remote possibility of having to pay off a lawsuit.

  31. From the article:

    A second lawsuit, naming Walmart as the defendant, says the company is at fault for not telling Anthony Demaree that it had an “unsuitable print policy” and could decide to turn any photos over to law enforcement.

    It seems very reasonable to sue Walmart.

    And if you were to harm CPS workers who came to your house you would be ensuring that your children would be taken away. I doubt the satisfaction of smacking some state worker shmo make up for that.

  32. Given how some previous cases like this one have gone, the Demarees should probably consider themselves lucky.

    The best time to assert your rights is when you are innocent and have nothing to hide.

  33. And frankly, the penalties for not disclosing such information to the authorities are far more severe than the remote possibility of having to pay off a lawsuit.

    Dunno about the laws in Arizona, but in the state I am familiar with there is absolutely no requirement or penalty for not reporting suspected child abuse, unless you are in a particular industry (healthcare, maybe daycare). I suspect that Walmart had zero exposure if they made no report.

    For those of you who don’t think it was foreseeable that the state would take these kids, what rock are you living under?

    Just like open carry gun does not equal dangerous person, picture of toddler in bath does not equal child molestation.

    So, we had foreseeable harm inflicted on the family here. Lets just say that these pictures were pictures of toddlers in a bath and had no indicia whatsoever of harm or sexual intent. Why should the family have no recourse here?

  34. “And if you were to harm CPS workers who came to your house you would be ensuring that your children would be taken away.”

    Granting this as true, the alternative of cowing to their will, and waiting on their good mercy to give your kids back doesn’t exactly seem like a good option either. It’s a particularly bad situation, in my opinion, that we have to fear that the state may come take our kids from us without any law even being broken.

  35. “How can anyone prefectly foresee the reactions of the police? I would have foreseen the police to say “No harm, sorry for wasting your time” and write a report.”

    That doesn’t make sense. If that’s what you would have foreseen then why submit the pictures? The person submitted them because they (unreasonably in my mind) thought the pictures were somehow illegal and therefore they certainly would have foreseen the authorities taking some action against the parents.

    I think RC is right – the actions of Wal-mart were unreasonable and the result was easily foreseeable.

  36. Shouldn’t one automatically assume that the police will overreact? When police do behave like civilized human beings we should be pleasantly surprised.

  37. Agreed, Walmart ANd the police, CPS should be sued. It’s pretty much the only way they notice shit like this.

    Oh and the employee’s should be fired. If you can’t tell the difference between kids taking a bath, and child porn, you are almost certainly a complete idiot.

  38. “””I disagree. Walmart had no reasonable basis for thinking that a crime had been committed.”””

    Didn’t we pass a law not too long ago that requires IT workers to report questionable child images they find on computers they are repairing? Is it possible that it covers those who develop film too?

  39. How come none of the news agencies are showing these pictures, so we can judge for ourselves if the parents should have had them developed?

    Maybe they’re concerned about this.

  40. To walmart’s credit I got the photos of my johnson back with no troubles what so ever. The 5X7s turned out great.

  41. Dunno about the laws in Arizona, but in the state I am familiar with there is absolutely no requirement or penalty for not reporting suspected child abuse, unless you are in a particular industry (healthcare, maybe daycare). I suspect that Walmart had zero exposure if they made no report.

    If it had turned out that the parents had been sexually abusing the children, and that Walmart had processed naked photos of the kids and not made a peep about it, I’m certain there’s some law somewhere on the books that would be dusted off and stretched as necessary to prosecute every employee involved.

    And in the absence of some privacy policy I don’t see where they have a case against WM. Their argument would lead to the conclusion that explicit photographs of murders and rapes could also not be turned over to the authorities unless an “unsuitable photo policy” was posted at the store.

  42. Call me odd (FTR I think no crime was committed), but I think taking naked pictures of your kids IS kind of creepy.

    You’re welcome to that opinion, but you should understand that parents have been taking (non-pornographic) naked pictures of their kids ever since cameras have been cheap enough for ordinary parents to afford them.

  43. I mean, I have a 14-year-old daughter and can’t imagine myself wanting to look at naked pictures from when she was 5.

    But it’s such great fun to embarrass your 14-year-old kid by pulling out the picture of her as a toddler in her birthday suit. (Not five years old, though; by the time ours were 5, we’d succeeded in teaching them that running around the house naked was inappropriate).

  44. Moving that Raising Arizona DVD i’ve been meaning to pickup to the top of my wishlist.

    But it’s such great fun to embarrass your 14-year-old kid by pulling out the picture of her as a toddler in her birthday suit.

    I think Seamus nailed why parents take those photos. The desire to embarrass-your-children-to-death is almost-universal and irresistible.

  45. I love those photos of me naked as a kid. After all it pays to advertise.

  46. FWIW, one of the first moving pictures ever made was of a small, naked boy walking. That was in the era when anything that moved might be filmed (“Look! It moves! Wow!”)

  47. hmm | September 18, 2009, 5:02pm | #
    To walmart’s credit I got the photos of my johnson back with no troubles what so ever. The 5X7s turned out great

  48. Let’s try that again:

    hmm | September 18, 2009, 5:02pm | #
    To walmart’s credit I got the photos of my johnson back with no troubles what so ever. The 5X7s turned out great

  49. @^&*^%$$!!! One more time. Damn HTML tags!

    hmm | September 18, 2009, 5:02pm | #
    To walmart’s credit I got the photos of my johnson back with no troubles what so ever. The 5X7s turned out great

    Odd, considering that I am sure there was considerable evidence that it had been sexually abused 🙂

  50. At those who think Wal-Mart is at fault:

    The way child-pornography laws are written nowadays, those picture very likely are in some sort of legal gray area. And there’s also probably some law about turning over suspected child porn or what not. Which means it wasn’t a case of “I think these people will be arrested” or not, but more a case of they didn’t know, and they thought the police might be better equipped to sort that out.

    But in a world where drawing a picture of a naked, fictional, underage character is illegal, well, who can say?

  51. Considering these laws that forbid the depiction of “improper” images of children under a certain age. Imagine a sci-fi series where a child ages much faster than normal, so that at age 4 days, she appears to be a fully grown adult(and is portrayed by an adult, but we all know that she is only supposed to be 4 days old). If she then in involved in an “adult situation”, is this a violation of the aforesaid law?

  52. There is no justice here, only greed -Wal-Mart will probably settle for a juicy amount of money – Simply because they don’t want to waste their time in court…And that sets a bad precedent….these bottom feeding lawyers know who to go after…..deep pockets! After all they want to get a piece of the pie! It is their ONLY motivation here.
    I have read that there were CLOSE UP shots of the girls genitalia- Bathtime pictures are great——GENITALIA pictures cross the all too thin line.

  53. Not sure what the point of pointing to this incident is, I must admit.

    It is not like there shouldn’t be laws protecting children from abuse and neglect.

    It is not like there should be laws preventing the parents from suing Walmart.

    It is not like the over-stepping by the state is the rule here, this is notable because it is an exception. Most CPS agencies don’t have time or man-power to investigate something like this as they are too busy with the real nasty stuff.

    So what is the point in highlighting this case?

  54. i mean honestly, what parent dosn’t have a bath time picture of their child. i’ve got plenty. it takes a sick individual to think that bath time photos would be child “erotica”. as a matter of fact, i got a couple of mine developed there not to long ago of my kid in the tub. MOST parents dont see there naked child in a sexual way.

  55. I dunno…I have to agree with those who say that Walmart just handed the photos over to authorities & they took, what they felt, was appropriate action for the sake of the kids.

    Let’s remember, that the photos in question WERE NOT posted on the internet, so we don’t know what they were like. Perhaps Mommy is unaware of how Daddy interacts without her around & the girls posed in a way that show a little more than is considered ‘normal’ for an after bath shot?

    Personally, I don’t see any need to shoot pictures of the little ones in the nude from the waist down. You have to be aware that there may just be a pervert on the other end of the photo finishing that could take these photos and do what they will?!?

    If the parents are innocent, than they certainly needed a wake-up call for protecting 3 girls in the real world! NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR HERE PEOPLE! Obviously, more than one person felt so, or we wouldn’t have ended up hearing about this situation!

  56. What really blows my mind about all of this.

    Real criminals taking nude phots of children aren’t going to take it to walmart if they have ill intent in mind. They are going to keep it on THEIR PCs! And print them out at home.

    There si a big diffrence froma cute butt…and pics meant for HBO late night.

  57. Personally, I don’t see any need to shoot pictures of the little ones in the nude from the waist down.

    Hell, there’s no need for pictures of the little ones at all. For that matter, there’s no need for a couple to have children at all. If you’re to limit us all to necessities, there would go almost everything we discuss here.

    You have to be aware that there may just be a pervert on the other end of the photo finishing that could take these photos and do what they will?!?

    Yeah, and then what? Do perversion rays get transmitted from the photo back to the family?

  58. It is very heart-wrenching enough, for a parent to turn over any of her/ his child(ren) to authorities for any amount of time. And extremely hard to go see them and not bring them home. Because last year, I had to turn to CPS to help put my son in the system. Even though, they have been everything in their power to take my children away from me. So it was very disturbing to go see my son, Mitchell, to find out what he had interrupt what Ms. Espejo (CPS) had said to him. I originally wanted Mitchell there, because he needed to be in a secure spot to regulate his behavior. And to show how him other avenues to go with life. I do want him, but only after the allowed time in there to get the help he needs. When I heard that they are thinking of letting him go with in the month, I dont feel it is right. He barely was put on new medication and under suicide watch. It would seem it was too early to talk about releasing him. I understand he will be going to another foster home, after he gets out of Canyon State Academy. But Ms. Espejo took it upon herself to tell a boy on suicide watch, that I dont want him back. It was heart-wrenching having to sit there calmly and positive to try and tell him I do want him. But only after everyone there knows it is ok. He told me that he had told the doctor about his suicidal and killing his family thoughts. I had to sit there trying to hold back every emotions i have. While watching Mitchell literally fall apart, over thinking that I am throwing him away. So Mitchell wanted to hurt me, so he told Ms. Espejo that not only i am giving and buying emily alcohol and drugs. But i am suppose to be allowing her and her friends to do the same thing in my home. Which I dont allow any of that in my home. I ended up in the hospital, for Congested Heart Failure a few years back, because of the stress of not being able to do anything for my children (when w/ an alcoholic, drug abusing father). I am trying everything I can now, to make sure i dont go back in the hospital. Over the stress of knowing that my son is on suicide watch and believes (from what Ms. Espejo had said) that I dont want him.

  59. I seriously doubt that some walmart employee has any training in illegal pornography detection. It was just some idiot trying to play super-hero and in the end, ruined the life of an innocent family.

  60. This is rediculous. I know these people, Mrs. Demaree was my 8th grade science teacher and she was nothing but kind. How could something like this happen to these people. They have done nothing wrong. No one out there can’t say that their parents haven’t taken baby photos of you when you were little. This stuff happens all ove rhte world and why did they get picked from the bundle of flowers.

  61. CPS should not be in the business of kidnapping children under the guise of sketchy allegations of child abuse. Wal-Mart is just as guilty. This is one jury I would LOVE to be on. Call me…

  62. Last night I saw an ad on TV for Walmart in which children were just getting wrapped in a towel by a parent, May someone should call the police.

  63. I totally agree that this was just some idiot trying to play superhero. These parents had their children ripped away from them, and couldn’t be there with them while they were forced to have exams to “make sure” they weren’t molested. Does anyone realize what such exams involve? Those poor little girls.

    At the very least, Walmart ought to institute some type of guidelines for what is considered reportable or not, because what happened to this family is beyond ridiculous.

    I’ve seen old family pictures of 3 year olds running around naked, and back then no one thought anything of it. Now, it seems, the parents would be considered guilty until proven innocent. And heaven forbid a non-parent had been the one to snap the photos. Ridiculous.

  64. Of course, I’m sure we’ll hear the typical “better safe than sorry” refrain, with the government being totally oblivious to the fact that they have seriously damaged the lives of these children and their parents.

    http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2009/09/24/better-safe-than-sorry-when-puritanical-hysteria-harms-children/

  65. As Tom Lehrer once sang, “When correctly viewed everything is lewd. I can tell you things about Peter Pan, and the Wizard of Oz is a dirty old man.”

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