Kodak Moment or Kiddie Porn?

Hi Readers — Above is the question a Walmart employee in Arizona asked himself when some parents brought in a camera memory stick to be processed. Seven or eight of 144 photos showed the family’s three girls  frolicking in the bath. Kodak Moment? Or kiddie porn?

We know what the employee decided — and we  know what the D.A. decided — because the girls, ages 5, 4 and 1 at the time, were taken away from the parents. For how long?

A month.

The parents weren’t even allowed to SEE their girls for several days. (Here’s the story.)

How can it take a month to figure out that — guess what? — a  lot of parents take pictures of their cherubs in the tub? My husband and I sure did, even though when we look back, our kids don’t look that cherubic! Come to think of it, cherub pictures have been around ever since artists started painting them in European art history class. (At least, that’s where I saw them.) Everyone loves a naked baby, and most of us undertand the desire to delight in their dumpling-ness has nothing to do with pornography!

Now the Arizona parents have turned the tables and are suing Walmart and the State for making “slanderous claims” against them.

How about also suing for an utter lack of empathy? Or utter oblivion to how happy it makes a parent’s heart to see three kids in a bath? Rub-a-dub-dub! To assume the very worst of parents at the get-go — as opposed to assuming normalcy — is exactly what is driving us all crazy today. When our first thoughts are perverse, it’s our society that’s perverted.

Meantime, and as a total aside, kudos to those parents for at least taking their pictures in to be printed. Ours are still in the camera, and have been for about 4 years. — Lenore

105 Responses

  1. I remember pictures like this of me when I was a kid. How else do you embarrass your kids when they get older if there are no pictures to threaten them with? You know what i am talking about… You are sitting with your girlfriend before a date and mom comes out to say “Have I shown you his baby pictures, yet?!”

    Come now, parents. Defend your rights to get even with a rebellious teen like I once was!

  2. The problem with how we determine what is child pornography is that it is arbitrarility and seemingly completely reliant on something known as a “loins test.” If it triggers something in the viewer it must be porn.

    Walmart has LONG been an atrophied arm of the law in this respect.

    As someone who has taken many photographs of my children as they play – sometimes nude – it bothers me no end to think that the definition of child porn can be more dependent on whether the viewer thinks an errection could be produced as opposed to whether any children where sexually abused in the process.

  3. an example of why responsible legislation is so important. the az legislature needs to correct that law, and CPS needs to remodel their policy.

    good job to the parents for following up with a lawsuit; i hope follow up with a demand for legislative reform so this doesn’t happen to other perfectly normal and upstanding parents.

  4. While I think the whole thing is incredibly ridiculous and sad, the failing wasn’t really on the part of the WalMart employee, but rather CPS, the DA, the AG, and whatever other government officials were involved. Photo processors, like teachers, are mandated reporters, and if there’s even a hint that something is child abuse, it’s supposed to be reported. Yes, the WalMart employee should have used better discretion because, DUH–kids in a tub!!, but it wasn’t WalMart who prosecuted here, it was the DA. The WalMart employee was only doing his/her job.

    But of course, WalMart has deeper pockets, so the parents will sue them… that’s what frustrates me. What’s it going to change? If someone is a mandated reporter, they’re a mandated reporter. It’s up to the appropriate authorities to decide what to do with that. As a non-unionized teacher, this whole thing makes me a bit paranoid that someone might sue me or my school for reporting suspected child abuse.

  5. The irony, of course, is that there’s no way to know how many malevolent parents have photo printers at home. Or how many people with photo printers are malevolent.

    Whoops. Now someone’s going to want to ban photo printers.

  6. I’m going to disagree with Kari on the WalMart processor merely making a mistake. I agree that authorities should have known better, I think it’s also imperitive mandatory reporters are properly trained. Walmart has an obligation to make sure they are. The mandatory reporting is for children engaged in sexual activity, not just any nude child in a tub.

  7. This isn’t really a new phenomenon: I remember cases like this from the early eighties at the latest, and probably the late seventies.

  8. They should add “Traumatizing Children” to the list of charges in their lawsuit. Pulling children, especially young children, away from their parents & upsetting their routine is probably the most traumatic event these children will face in their entire childhood.

  9. @KateNonymous
    You’ve got it all wrong. The clear solution is to ban cameras. No cameras, no porn. Ta-daaaa!

    Oh wait… Paint still exists… Hrmmm..

  10. @Rob T – we could always ban children. Think of all the problems it would solve: the cost of health care, education, car insurance. … we have the technology … we might as well just clone the upstanding citizens among us.

    Har.

  11. @toyfoto
    You’re thinking out of the box. I like that.

  12. Agree with dar205 above. They took children away from their parents for days because of a shot of three girls in the tub? I’m assuming these girls weren’t showing off their nipple piercings, just giggling and being kids. The hysteria you criticize, Lenore, is what leads people like the Walmart employee to see crimes and horror in common childhood experiences.

    Meanwhile, I just blogged about teens turned into sex offenders for life because they got it on with their consenting teen friend or boyfriend or girlfriend. Sick and tragic — they can’t live near schools, be at their own children’s school functions, etc., and why? Because they were horny 17-year-olds fooling around with horny 16.5-year-olds? Weren’t we all?

  13. Good grief! This is a combination of American prudishness and a hypersexualized, perverted and distorted sense of sexuality. Walmart also harasses nursing mothers…

    http://www.blisstree.com/breastfeeding123/nursing-mother-bullied-for-breastfeeding-in-south-carolina-wal-mart/

    Walmart is everything that’s wrong with U.S. consumerism and commercialism, but that’s a topic for another day. Suffice it to say I loathe them.

    And look at how our supposedly overworked child protective services wasted no time in snatching these poor kids away from their loving home, without a trial naturally. Meanwhile, some true victim of abuse and neglect is languishing away ignored.

  14. kari,
    If you are a mandatory reporter, you should be receiving training on what is abuse, and what to look for. Abuse has a fairly static definition. But if you see abuse in everything you see, and report it, you are the boy that cried wolf, and if you actually see evidence of abuse, you will be ignored.

    And honestly, if the Wal-mart employee turned them in for pornography, did anyone inquire on why the photo processor might find such images pornographic? Perhaps give that employee some counseling? Maybe they were a victim, and anything that reminds them of their past looks like a sign of abuse to them. (and that last sentence is pure speculation)

  15. What self respecting pedophile would take kiddie porn to be developed at Walmart?

    What burns me is now these poor kids have been scarred for life after being in the foster care system for a month, where they were a thousand times more likely to be sexually molested.

    Weren’t there any real predators or abusive parents to bust? I guess not.

  16. “When our first thoughts are perverse, it’s our society that’s perverted.”

    Well put.

  17. @Rob T and toyfoto –

    You know what scares me? There are probably people out there who have seriously considered things like that…

  18. This is crazy. How ubiquitous are naked baby pictures? I cannot believe that these children were abruptly removed from the clearly normative home situation they were in and put into FOSTER CARE(!!), a veritable hotbed of potential real, live creeps!

    As a teacher these kinds of stories make me so paranoid–when my six-year-old student tells me “I love you” and wants to give me a hug, I never fail to think that some creepy onlooker might decide I’M the creep–and the alternative is to push this child away, sending them a message that all affection is inappropriate and that I don’t love them back. Setting boundaries is one thing, but hugs and bathtime? SO NOT inappropriate in any way!! What the hay?

    And that thing about the ‘loins test’ REALLY creeps me out. Ugh.

  19. Just completely effin’ sick and wrong. ::shakes head:: Who doesn’t have photos of their kids in the tub?

  20. I have pictures of my Godchildren like that, but because of these kinds of things happening, I refuse to get pictures printed in a store, I buy the ink, paper and print any I want AT HOME!!

  21. All that? Over bathtub photos? Next they’ll ban baby’s first portraits in hospital rooms.

  22. I’m a mandatory reporter. At our refresher training a week ago Wednesday – the the trainer specifically said that family photos like this case are not to be reported unless there are other signs of problems.

    She also pointed out that people who take baby photos/bath photos to be developed and display them are among the least likely to be abusing kids s3xually. The abusers know they are among the most hated people in our society – so they hide. These parents see no s3xual component – so they display the photographs. Opposite of the abusers.

  23. OMG, unbelievable. My kids are 2, 3, and 4 years old, and I have plenty of pics of them in the bath. I do not understand how anyone could construe bathtime fun pictures with pornography. And taking the kids away for a month!!!! It takes a month to investigate family photos!?s absolutely crazy, what is this world coming to!

  24. There is a problem when we deputize anyone that is untrained in a particular profession to determine if a problem exists. Beyond playing cop, this includes teachers diagnosing which students need to be put on psychotic meds as well. (If a real psychiatrist wanted to put me on anti-depressants instead of finding my brain tumor, then I doubt a teacher dealing with 35 kids all at once can get it right.)

    I tried to em-bare-ass my mom by sending a copy of my 50 year old baby in a tub photo on Mother’s Day with the caption “Thanks for not drowning me when you had the chance” She thought it was hilarious.

  25. By this standard, many diaper ads are kiddy porn. After all, they show babies wearing nothing but a diaper! Surely we should string up any store that carries parenting magazines.

  26. What the bleedin’ hell. Seriously. When good people have to analyze their every move for fear some overzealous do-gooder will peg them as a pervert, something is way, waayyy wrong in our society.

  27. I agree with the people who said that they need better training. Believe it or not, this is my 8th year teaching and I’ve never received any mandated reporter training, just the admonition to report anything we feel is suspicious. I wouldn’t have ever reported this as suspicious–I doubt I would have blinked twice about it. And yeah, calling in crap like this does ultimately waste CPS’s time. I totally agree that WM could have trained its employees better, and I think they also should be trained to take something like this to a supervisor first.

    That said, I still think the blame lies ultimately with the system, and not WM itself. They’re suing WalMart not for improperly training their employees, but for not notifying customers that they have an “improper photos” policy. It’s totally a money play (since suing the state likely won’t pay out as much as suing the world’s 8th richest corporation.

    (And I don’t shop at WM on personal principle, so I can’t believe I’m defending them here… But I don’t think this is worth suing them over. )

    I think the family should be suing the pants off the state, though–not only for bringing charges in the first place, but for slander.

  28. Kari — are photo developers mandated reporters in your state? That would be really interesting.

    I am a social worker and know a bit about mandatory reporting laws, and had never heard of photo processors being included.

    According to this website, they’re NOT mandated reporters in Arizona, where this all took place: http://www.rainn.org/public-policy/legal-resources/mandatory-reporting-database

    And even if photo developers were mandated reporters, these photos don’t seem to meet the standard of reporting in Arizona, which is:
    “Reasonable cause to believe ‘that a minor is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse, child abuse, a reportable offense or neglect that appears to have been inflicted on the minor by other than accidental means or that is not explained by the available medical history as being accidental in nature.’”

    All that said, I feel like the police and the DA are more responsible here (and the no doubt underfunded and demoralized child protective services — a MONTH to investigate, during which time three small children were removed from their family?!) A Wal-Mart employee is not an expert in child abuse — the DA, CPS, and police *should* be.

  29. This is beyond disturbing. Thanks for posting this, Lenore … this is the sort of craziness we all need to be aware of. That poor family.

  30. Hmmm. This reminds me of a recent article I read in a magazine in Australia called The Big Issue. The article was an interview with two women who are well-known illustrators of children’s books. And they said that for books which are being published in the US, they have to change their illustrations to make sure they don’t include any naked babies, sausages (completely don’t understand that one) or fathers showing affection to their children. It really made my head explode when I read that.

    The thing with stuff like this is – who is it hurting? I refuse to let my children (two girls just entering on puberty) to have their own free movements inhibited because some sicko might see them at the beach with me, for example, and think his sicko thoughts. I can’t control what people think, and from what I’ve read a sicko will think his sicko thoughts regardless of what their subject is wearing. That’s why it’s called imagination. So my children will run around in their swimmers at the beach and the sicko can just keep his thoughts to himself.

    The Wal-Mart employee needs to consider why he’s thinking like that. I have adorable pictures of my very dirty children in the bath and I am treasuring for the day they bring home a boyfriend, mwah ha ha!

  31. So I guess that Polaroid in my baby book of a little, naked me wallowing in a dishpan with my little duckies while Mom held my top half out of the water to wash me was actually kiddie porn, cleverly disguised as a memento of my infancy. Huh. Who knew???

  32. Alison: the bit about sausages is probably the result of obesipanic. A few decades ago, there was some research suggesting that limiting the percentage of fat in one’s food intake to 30% or less of total calories was associated with a reduced risk of certain forms of cancer and heart disease (it’s since been shown that the relationship is more complicated than that). News writers and editors decided that, phrased like that, it was too “nerdy” and “boring” so they reported it along the lines of “scientists have found that eating foods that get more than 30% of their calories per serving from fat will make you fat” (a totally different statement, and one not supported by any evidence). Since sausage gets a very high percentage of its calories from fat, it’s been labeled a “bad food” and once again the “hide bad stuff from children” meme has taken over.

    The situation is even worse with textbooks, where the Left and the Right are in an Olympic-class race to see who can ban the most references to mundane aspects of everyday life on the grounds of being “offensive.” One health textbook had to be revised because the section on diabetes showed a picture of an insulin vial and syringe; school boards rejected it because it “promoted drug use.” Another one had to be revised because the Peanut Allergy Parents (PAPs; abbreviation intentionally pejorative) objected to a statement that peanuts were nutritious.

    Fictional stories have to obey complicated rules about gender balance; a story aimed at, and featuring 12-year-olds, for example, has to have an equal number of boys and girls hanging out with each other, disregarding the fact that at that age boys and girls are generally of different maturity levels and don’t tend to hang out with each other in real life. Nor can boys be seen as doing “traditionally” male things or girls doing traditionally “female” things (obviously you don’t want stories in which everybody sticks to late Victorian gender roles, but this goes far beyond such concerns). The result is stories that are equally unappealing to both sexes.

    Kari: The family would have a hard time suing the state authorities because of the sovereign immunity doctrine; in order to even have a claim, they’d have to prove that the authorities knew (not “should have known”) that they had no case and deliberately went ahead with it anyway because they wanted to harass the family. Mere incompetence isn’t actionable. (for example, someone who spent 30 years in prison as a result of a conviction based on shoddy police work generally has no ability to sue the police.)

  33. When I was a teen, I babysat for my aunt while one of my cousins was having major surgery. The nightly bath produced an angelic 1yo wrapped in a white towel and having an expression on his face that reminded me so much of another relative. Wanting to share that expression w/ his mom, I grabbed my camera. Well, unbeknownst to me, the towel dropped a little just as I snapped the photo. I was *horrified* when I got the pictures back and realized the unintended immodesty of the picture. It was around the time of a high profile case against a children’s book photographer who took nude photos of her kids and then doctored them up by covering the privates for art (I don’t remember the details of the case well anymore). I was terrified that somehow I would bear the label of abuser for that photo. I tore it up, destroyed the negative, and prayed.

    That’s a pretty sad world when a teen has to be completely freaked out over something so totally innocent! And an even sadder world when 3 children are removed from the home for a MONTH. The verdict in no way erases the confusion and fear of that month from the kids. I hope they had an awesome foster family and generous visitation and much healing as they are home now!!!

  34. @ Alison & ebohlman: Now I hope I don’t sound dirty-minded like that Wal-Mart clerk, but that sausage omission thing may not be due to fat content. (Hint: I have an MA in media studies which involved loads of feminist analysis of images.)

    But I am seriously bothered by the notion that depiction fatherly affection should be censored from children’s literature! I have three girls who are totally in love with daddy, as it should be.

  35. While I agree that the reaction of the Walmart employee and the state officials involved was clearly an overreaction, let’s take this scenario a bit further – Lenore, what are your thoughts about parents posting pics like the one in the story on social sites like Facebook? It’s one thing to take pictures of your kids in the bath to put in an album at home, but what is your stance on posting similar pics in online photo albums, personal blogs and the like? Sites like STFU Parents are filled with photographic examples pushing the boundaries of good taste and good sense – pictures of kids’ first poop in the toilet, exposure shots while changing diapers, breast-feeding with nipples CLEARLY in focus – but while I find it bewildering that any parent would want to post such pictures on sites like Facebook, I still don’t think it would be cause for criminal proceedings. However, something tells me that it’s quite likely there’s a portion of law enforcement and policy makers that wouldn’t necessarily agree…

  36. Hi Lenore,

    There’s a saying: “When you hear the sound of hooves, think of horses, not zebras.” It applies to this story and so many things you showcase on this website.

    Thanks for all the great info.

  37. “One lawsuit names the state of Arizona, Peoria and the state Attorney General’s Office as defendants”

    So those that everyone thinks are really at fault are also being sued. This is one of the few cases I’ve heard where “emotional distress” claims seem valid.

    The lawsuit against Walmart seems like a bit of a stretch to me though- the artical says they are claiming the store is at fault for not revealing the policy of reporting inappropriate photos. Not sure that’s valid.

    @whoever said child porn is only photos of children in sexual activity… Not necessarily true. I think the photo labling is left up to the police, and then the court. It’s pretty obvious that a family bath photo should not qualify, but I’m not surprised that the employee reported it, simply because of the culture of parinoia everyone’s complaining about. It’s not fair to imply that someone who thinks those photos could be porn must be a pervert themselves… This is probably some underpaid kid who was simply unreasonably afraid.

    Also, calling people you think acted unwisely “perverts” doesn’t exactly help with the whole overblown fear of perverts thing.

    @mfagrad Prob just another demonstration of the lack of understanding many people have for how public such postings are. I love the Internet, but I think it makes everyone just a little bit stupid.

  38. we’ve actually been told to take down a photo we call “jealousy” because it shows both older kids in the sink in their own separate tubs of water bathing. I got told off that it was “child porn.” From that moment on, I stopped taking photos of my kids. I’ve got more photos of my yarn than of the kids. Why? cause I don’t want another innocent photo of the kids being kids being called pornography when its just a picture of the kids being kids. Naked photos? Nope, not happening. Potentially suggestive pose? Nope, not taking it.
    And it saddens me. I have one that I did take cause it was hilarious and I can’t describe it here because someone will call it porn or worse, child sexual abuse. I haven’t even shared my nursing photos for the same reasons.
    These child pornography laws have made criminals out of innocent parents!

  39. All completely obvious and already-stated Walmart / District Attorney DUMBASSNESS aside…

    What bothers me the most is that they took a 18-month-old baby away from these parents. I’m torn between wanting to cry, to vomit, and to drive to this city and punch someone.

    At that age, they change SO much, SO quickly! My own 12-month-old is a completely different kid now than the 11-month-old he was in August.

    Not to mention that the youngest’s age is the perfect prime for separation anxiety. Beautifully done, wackos.

    How %$&# unfair to those poor children, and to those parents for robbing them of memories and daily interaction of freakin’ TODDLERS.

    Morons.

  40. Yeah, I get that sausages are unhealthy and phallic, but surely a children’s picture book illustration of a sausage – presumably on a plate or a fork, not being waived around at zipper level – can be fairly harmless? And as far as banning them based on fat content – books still depict children eating ice-cream, for example, I would presume? Thankfully the hungry caterpillar is still eating a sausage, even though it does give him a headache!

    The fatherly affection one completely made my blood boil. Lying behind that (obvious to all readers here) is the idea that all men are possible pedophiles, and that a father can’t even show affection to his own children without it being suspected of being child abuse! I would say the opposite – a father who doesn’t show affection to his children is committing child abuse… let alone pictures of naked babies done by these talented illustrators. Are we now going to remove any image of cupid from the art gallery in case a pervert gets his jollies? Ridiculous.

  41. I have worried about this so my babies wear little swim suits for their baths. How the hell should I know who put the little swim suits on them?

  42. Boy things have sure changed since my days of photo processing. When I did this, years ago before my professional life and then Mommyhood, we had very clear guidelines on what constituted pornography. What I read in that article would not have been even close.

  43. There’s actually a very good reason to sue Walmart: If a company gets successfully sued often enough, it will invest in proper training (I’ll bet that Walmart did not provide the in-depth training such an important issue warrants) OR will lobby against them being mandated reporters.

  44. As a member of a family who fosters children, I’d like to invite those of you who insinuate that foster parents are more likely to be pedophiles to cite the source of your claims.

    The photos weren’t porn, the kids shouldn’t have been taken away, and I’m sure it was hell for them and their parents, but maybe we could ease up on the willy nilly molester labels.

  45. Ugh… this is why I want to get a photo printer. My 18-month old has the funniest little “buns of steel” thing going, but I can’t take pictures of his tushie in to get them developed- too risky.

    You know what? I shouldn’t have to feel guilty and sneaky for wanting pictures of my kids.

    And I’m with Frances Bean- why would anyone with actual pornography get it printed at Wal-Mart? You’d think they’d be even more paranoid than we’re apparently supposed to be about our innocent photos.

  46. North of 49 – “From that moment on, I stopped taking photos of my kids. I’ve got more photos of my yarn than of the kids. Why? cause I don’t want another innocent photo of the kids being kids being called pornography when its just a picture of the kids being kids. Naked photos? Nope, not happening. Potentially suggestive pose? Nope, not taking it.”

    Have you considered growing a spine and standing your ground? Get down off the cross, ditch the martyr complex, live your life, take photos of your kids, and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it.

  47. fantastic blog:)

  48. I have TONS of baby pornography. Developed by kodak, back in the days before everything was digital and you didn’t have to air your dirty laundry at Walgreens.

    Never got arrested. The standards of the community have obviously changed.

    I use those naked baby shots as leverage. As in, if you don’t behave, I’ll show them at your bar mitzvah.

    Now I’m thinking I’ll have to change the threat to “wedding.” Gak.

  49. This is why I order from Snapfish… I hate that my innocent pictures of my son in the bath could be turned into something so revolting. When someone sees those pictures and thinks port, it tells you as much about the state of the person’s mind as it does about society.

  50. Wow, RobC.

    Harsh much?

  51. Have we all ever noticed that the one common element in this site’s reponses to our world’s weird emotional disturbances come from people with a sense of humor? If anything should be cloned it should be that! As long as humor is present Big Brother and political correctness will not win. How can anyone take society’s emotional bullies seriously when we are all giggling and guffawing and rolling in stitches at their stupid antics Thank God for this extraordinary human trait! In the end it’ll save us all.

  52. RobC – until you yourself have been threatened with the label “child pornographer” for an innocent photo, shut the hell up.

  53. I have photos of all my little guys in the bath hanging on my bathroom wall. Maybe I just hang with enlightened people but they have garnered many “Oh, cute!” comments and no perv/porn comments ever.

    I’m sorry, but I am with RobC on this one. You have to live your life.

  54. @RobC @babelbabe It is very difficult to “just live your life” if, for example, the state takes your children away for a month to investigate child endangerment charges.

    I agree that North’s stance on photography sounds a bit extreme, but lay off. It’s his life to live.

  55. I don’t really put the blame on Walmart, they didn’t know if it was illegal or not, so they chose to show it to the police. It’s the CPS, police and D.A. that dropped the ball on this one. They are the ones who have to look at it to determine if it’s child porn or not, and if had any sense just tell Walmart “It’s fine, innocent tub pics are not considered child porn.” And would have been over then and there.

  56. p.s. in the future skip the B.S. and just get a good printer, photo paper, and print out your own pics.

  57. http://simple-gifts.blogspot.com/ Blog posting I came across today you might like

  58. This is happening in my backyard. I live in Phoenix. We are cheering on this family. We pray they will win their lawsuit and bring further attention to the problem of out of control CPS.

  59. I went over to the original newspaper site (Lenore posted in her comments) where the story originated. Reading the last couple pages of comments I found a person commenting who claims to have obtained the publicly available police reports on this incident. I am a bit suspicious and concerned that just anyone can get these reports but perhaps Arizona law is open to this. This person states the LEA reports suggest the pictures were a bit more than simple children’s naked bath play. The description given would explain how photo clerk might feel they needed to notify LEA and let them decide (that is their job, not his) if the children are sexually safe.

    I checked out the site Mimi posted (thanks) and found who is a mandatory reporter to vary more than I would have thought. Arizona does not include photo clerks while Maine does. New Hampshire declare everyone a mandatory reporter as I read it. I doubt everyone in NH gets state training for such a responsibility and wonder if even states like Maine train all the folks they list. The law in general is that the declared people will report “suspected” abuse and it is the responsibility of LEA and CPS working with a district attorney to quickly figure out if there is “probable cause” for a case to go to court where an impartial judge will decide next business day if there is indeed enough evidence for the state to proceed to a hearing/trial and where the children should be placed pending further hearing.

  60. I am glad this family is suing. I think this case definitely warrants it. If it were me I would sue Wal-mart but I would sue for them to have better training, not monetary damages.

    I also have to say that I agree with RobC. I wouldn’t have worded it quite so harshly but we can’t just give up. The losers there are his/her kids because they won’t have pictures to show their children and grandchildren. My daughter spends hours poring over my baby pictures and those of my parents. History is so important. I would ask North to reconsider for his/her children’s sake.

  61. Sausages aren’t actually banned from US children’s books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar does have a sausage (and an ice cream cone, and a piece of cake) in it.

  62. This is the most disturbing part:

    http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/stories/peoria-news-091809-bath-tub-photos-parents-sue.190fba7fa.html

    “The court ordered the kids be returned to their parents, but the Demarees say it didn’t end there.

    The state retained legal control of the kids, and the couple’s attorney said the legal proceedings continued. ADES filed a Motion for Change of Physical Custody of the Demaree girls in late October, just 20 days after the judge’s ruling.

    According to the attorney, a decision was not made on that petition until May 21, 2009 — almost nine months after the girls were first taken from their parents.”

    How in the world can child services continue pursuing the case after the judge ruled it had no merit?

  63. There may be more to this story. It doesn’t sound like these were all simple naked kid in bath pictures. It’s still crazy that it takes a month to investigate, but I think we’d have to see the pictures in question before getting all outraged. In any case, I think that Wallmart is in the clear here since their policy is to report suspicious pictures and if it took the cops a month to decide…

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/peoria/articles/2009/09/19/20090919walmart0919.html

  64. @aDad: “It doesn’t sound like these were all simple naked kid in bath pictures.”

    The judge ruled that the pictures were not abusive. He most likely saw the actual pictures and did not have to rely on a police officer’s description.

    I’m with other posters who said to get a photo printer. I have one that prints beautiful pictures. I paid less than $100 three years ago.

  65. I’m skeptical about this article. So often when there’s an outrageous story that makes my blood boil, it turns out there was more to it than originally reported. So I can’t help but wonder if this Arizona newspaper has taken a page from the Daily Mail’s playbook.

  66. @E. Simms CPS uses children as cash cows and job justifications in order to pay their cheques and get even more money from the government to continue terrorizing parents.

    When they show up at your door, almost always in pairs, pull out a camera and start recording. That’s your only way to defend yourself against them. In some locations, they can not be video taped ever, so use that to stop them.

  67. […] Kodak Moment or Kiddie Porn? Hi Readers — Above is the question a Walmart employee in Arizona asked himself when some parents brought in a […] […]

  68. @ESimms

    Indeed, a judge ruled that these photos did not rise to the level necessary for trial, but, absent seeing the photos* or at least reading the whole police report and judge’s decision (which I searched for but couldn’t find), it’s impossible to say whether the police were way out in left field or right on the borderline on this one. The police report apparently says something like:

    “Children bending over and exposing their genitalia and (inappropriate term)”

    so, unless the report is wrong, there may indeed have been something to investigate, and deciding borderline cases is why we have judges. Having your kids taken away when you’ve done nothing wrong is every parent’s nightmare, but we shouldn’t get all up in arms about this particular case without knowing the facts; that’s all I’m saying.

    In any case, it does seem crazy that it takes a month to decide if the kids are in immediate danger; perhaps the DSS (or CPS or whatever it’s called) should take a page from doctors: first do no harm.

    *hey, that’s a good idea, let’s put the naked pictures up on the internet so everyone can judge for themselves😉 — (for the humor impaired, that’s irony)

  69. Oh, Happy Rosh Hashanah! (Even if you don’t celebrate, happy anyway. I intend to be happy and eat apples and honey, and I’m fairly certain I’m not even Jewish. But any excuse to eat sweet things…!)

  70. “Sites like STFU Parents are filled with photographic examples pushing the boundaries of good taste and good sense ~ … breast-feeding with nipples CLEARLY in focus”

    Oh no! A nipple in a breastfeeding photo!
    :::huge eyeroll::: Seriously, this ignorance is such a pet peeve of mine. Spoken like someone who has clearly never breastfed a baby.

  71. @LindaLou I’ve never been to the site in question, so I don’t know what it’s like, but you also get the sort of photos MFAGrad was referring to (not just nipples) on flickr and similar sites. What many people don’t seem to understand is that posting photos on these sites is a bit like posting them on the cork board at the public library, or pinned to a street sign, or passed out at the mall. Giving out photos of your kids naked, and yourself nursing, is possibly not dangerous. It is however a bit odd.

    Most of these sites have privacy settings so you can keep your family photos within family and friends, but often people don’t know how, or don’t bother.

  72. @harmil2 – “Reading the last couple pages of comments I found a person commenting who claims to have obtained the publicly available police reports on this incident. I am a bit suspicious and concerned that just anyone can get these reports but perhaps Arizona law is open to this.”

    police reports are public record; when they’re on-going they’re not necessarily available, of course, but when the case is considered closed, you usually just need to fill out a request form.

  73. I nurse in public so why would I care if a photo of me nursing was posted in public. If people think it’s *odd*, maybe they are the ones who have issues. I just have a child to feed. If anyone doesn’t like it they can put a blanket over their head!

  74. oh my god. really? when i saw this ariticle i thought ‘ oh noo no no its that episode of law and order IN THE REAL WORLD’O.O i have pictures of my 4 and fi ve year old self in the bathtub in an old album in my room.should i be waiting for the cops?

  75. sorry my self and my sister. theyll arrest me any day huh. lol

  76. @meagan I think telling us to lay off might be a bit extreme. I think we – at least I – am just trying to be reassuring. didn’t mean it to come across as dismissive, @northof49…

  77. @ babelbabe Im sorry if I came off too strong, and your comment on it’s own was not particularly harsh. It’s just that the guy you said you agreed with told north:

    “Have you considered growing a spine and standing your ground? Get down off the cross, ditch the martyr complex, live your life, take photos of your kids, and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it”

    I think you were agreeing with not being intimidated by stupid accussations, not with the tone of the comment, but by agreeing with the comment you end up sounding just as unsympathetic.

    @Linda Lou

    Breast feeding in public is not odd. Postin photos of it at your local library IS.

    Odd by the way does not mean immoral, or inappropriate, or disturbing. It just means strange or unusual. If you want to argue that it is only odd because our society has obsessive body issues I’ll even agree with you. But please do not be offended when I comment that posting nursing and bath photos in public forums is odd behavior.

  78. I just read the azcentral.com article of 9-19-2009 and find some aspects of the story confusing. As a retired cps worker trying to interpret what happened from a reporter’s story and not actual first hand documents I will make some educated guesses as best I can.

    It is unclear that the judge found the pictures OK or the parent’s judgement sound. He did return the children to the parents physical custody after the initial investigation but apparently did not dismiss the civil petition/charge and probably continued the children under cps supervision after they went home. If so, this suggests judicial concerns about the kid’s safety and the parents judgement. I did not see anything saying the judge dismissed the initial civil petition. If he had the case would have been over and cps would have no legal grounds to work with the family at all. As it seems no criminal charges were filed against the parents the continued cps supervision was likely because the court felt the parents showed poor judgement and needed outside supervision, perhaps counseling and parent training to help them exercise better judgement.

    The allegation by LEA that some of the pictures showed close up displays of children’s genitalia as opposed to innocent bathtime play is concerning. The family lawyer claiming that LEA lied about this should be easy for the court to determine as the Judge has the pictures. I really cannot imagine a judge continuing the case due to simple bathplay pictures, but not impossible.

    Note the Walmart clerk saying the photos went beyond “normal” child bath-time photography. This suggests she is not concerned with innocent bath time pics of children (wheew!). Something else(?) made her call in a supervisor and report to LEA. I suspect the clerk has seen plenty of naked bath pics but something concerned her about these.

    Bethan: Appreciate your comment. Do you know how to get legal copies of the LEA reports so they can be posted here? We need more first hand info.

  79. @Meagan … not to get too nit picky, but it is common for there to be breastfeeding pictures at the Library at least during the month of August which is World Breastfeeding Month. Often, breastfeeding education or support groups put together public displays during that month that the library gladly displays. There are also nursing pictures hanging in many WIC offices and on the occasional billboard. Some parenting magazines have nursing pictures (some discreet but others with nipple in clear focus) accompanying an article or on the cover. Breastfeeding art is considered beautiful and culturally acceptable by many.

    While there are undoubtedly people on those photo web sites who have no idea their personal photos are available to wide public viewing, others set up their accounts for just that purpose. I would point out that posting nursing photos in a public forum is not necessarily odd. This is often done partly for education, partly to share photos on large breastfeeding forums, and partly to share the beauty of this aspect of the mother/child relationship.

  80. @KW Touche. I concede the point.🙂

  81. When my mother took nude photos of me potty training was that child porn? I don’t think so!

    I’ve said more at our blog (including that famous family photo mom took) but I think what’s lacking in the actions of the Walmart employees, police and other authorities is a good dose of common sense.

    http://superchannel.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/walmart-and-those-nude-photos-my-mother-took-of-me/

  82. My sister asked me why the pics of my baby in the bathtub always include a washcloth over his privates. I may be paranoid, but for good reason it seems!

  83. Someone on a discussion board I post on said that they had had their bathtub photos of their children deleted from their photobucket account! I haven’t been in to check whether my own photos of my children are in the bath have been removed. I will be cranky if so as that is the only place I have them saved. The children are in a bubble bath so no genitals are visible and the album is set as private.

  84. Maybe we should outlaw bathtubs…or maybe no child should ever be allowed to be naked…EVER!😉

  85. I am inflamed – and maybe a bit paranoid – over this notion that all pictures of kids are porn. I do an organic gardening project with some kids down the street. Their dad takes picture of us – me, my dog and the kids out in the garden – and emails them to me. Then I send them to friends and relatives. I’m fairly sure that none of the folks on my email list are going to get hot and bothered over a picture of a fully-clothed 4 year old with a handful of fresh radishes.

  86. im not saying wal mart was in the right to call the cops. however it is not wal marts job to evaluate the situation. it is the cops job i beleive the cop should sonner lose his job than the dude at wal mart. damn we dont pay taxes for a dipshit cop like that to NOT do his job

  87. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it porn, but IMO bathtub pictures aren’t very respectful toward the child (especially babies who can’t tell you not to take it). Yes, I thought my kids were adorable at that age, but all photos were with clothing on. It’s a “golden rule” thing here – I wouldn’t want anyone taking pictures of me in the bath, even if I was cute, so I don’t do it to others.

    As for the original article, I agree that the state was totally out of line. I can’t say I’m surprised, though.

  88. My entire take of this is “Do Not Do That”. I mean taking those kind of photos into any photo lab where someone can make some judgment involving children. Be aware of State and/or Federal reporting laws can be gray areas of some testing grounds.

    Ignorance of the Law is no excuse, even if the law has some gray areas of interpretation.

  89. I hope they destroy Wallmart, CPS, the police and every single person involved in this injustice. I for one will NEVER shop at Wallmart again. I promise as I stand here today Wallmart is gone.

    What can we do as a people to stop child protective services and overturn these backward and horrible laws that are WAY too restrictive and stupid. Kids are kids, kids are curious, kids run around naked… live with it idiots.

  90. every parents must take action to this problem. control your children. dont let them use the camera untill they need.

  91. It is sad that the people have given the city, state, and federal government so much power that parents are powerless. We live in a country now were people are guilty until proven innocent. Then the individaul being accused has no money or resources has to plead no contest or guilty to make sure they dont get the maximum penalty because the city, state, or federal governement has unlimited money and resources and can drag a case out and hire as many experts as necessary to convict the individual in question. The district attorney which is an elected position I doubt would get elected if there prosecution rate was low. America needs to wake up and start sueing the governement, companies, or individuals who infringes on there rights. If the unlucky individual can even afford one.

  92. This story tells of the money that CPS gets from removing children from their homes, and this is just one of the many I found. A friend of mine had her rights terminated to her 9 month old son, and why? Her sons father bit him. Admitted to biting him, and is in prison. The judge asked her if she loved him still, (remember folks, this is days into the whole process) and she said yes, but she was confused. THAT was the grounds for termination. Because she loved the father of her baby. not because she did ANYTHING that resembled remotely child abuse. I’d give anything in the world to have the resources, education, know how, and backers to take on the entire department of childrens protective services, they abuse their power and steal children in all 50 states.

    Another scary story…the SAME CPS worker that took my friends son, has custody of a family aquaintances grandchildren. Each time his daughter had a child they removed it (with good reason actually) and it was placed with the CPS worker, who eventually adopts each one. HOWEVER. The second of the children that was placed in her care, DIED as a result of her placing him on her bed surrounded by her comforter and he smothered to death. a CPS/Foster Parent.

    Makes you wonder, which one of her friends wanted a healthy happy 9 month old baby boy. My friends son fits the bill. Too bad shes appealing.

    How did we allow CPS to take over all of our parenting rights. We cant have bathtime photos, nursing photos. Whats next? No labor and delivery photos? What about their first birthday when we take off their shirt before handing over their own first birthday chocolate cake that undoubtably ends up in their hair eyes nose ears stomach lap the floor the dogs belly. I know all 3 of my kids had their cake topless in hopes that i would still have that outfit for a different day. And I have pictures of all 3.

    People need to stop laughing at such stupidities, and join together. Im sure if enough people could get together and riot against CPS we might be able to save families like my friends. Her son is almost 1 now, he has learned to crawl and walk, cut teeth, ate his first solid food, and most likely will be talking before she gets her appeal hearing in January 2010. And why? Because she loved the man who fathered her child. Let me ask this….do you love the father of YOUR children?

    This case isnt just about a judgement call of a WM employee, its more proof of the all too real fact that someday a car can pull in your driveway, and leave with your children, with or without proof that anything is wrong, at anytime they want, because they are above the law, and are protected from any suits in which months later they return your children because “oops we were wrong”. Its scary people. Scary.

  93. What are things coming to in this society? Government lacks basic common sense at all levels. They’ll attack innocent parents while real criminals are at large.

  94. The frustrating thing is that while child protective services was investigating this ridiculous charge, real cases were going uninvestigated. This is infuriating to me as someone who has tried repeatedly to report abuse I know is going on (having talked to the children), only to have it brushed off because none of the kids have showed up with broken bones yet. So far, the most children’s services has done is ask the father if he’s been sexually and physically abusing his daughters. He said no, and they accepted this without interviewing the children, their mother, or other witnesses. And, of course, he punished the kids for talking. There just aren’t resources to deal with anything but the most blatant cases, the case worker told me. Abuse is very real, and trivializing it with this sort of frivolous accusation (my god, that baby’s not wearing a shirt!) is a waste of resources.

  95. Alex: Part of the problem is laws that establish anonymous tip lines and require child-services agencies to give top priority to anything that comes in from them. While it’s the sort of thing that sounds like a great idea, and it’s certainly something that helps legislators get re-elected, the reality is that most of the tips from such a source are, to put it politely, crap. A large percentage of investigations instigated by such tips end up with a determination that there was no way to tell if the people and places mentioned in the tip even existed (e.g. tip says child in apartment building is screaming, gives address that turns out to be a car dealer or vacant lot).

    Of course, some tips really do result in prevention of serious harm to children, and we’re going to be stuck with such laws for the near future. But we do have to remember that they have the unintended consequence of focusing attention on the least serious cases.

  96. The police report has been released. The way the pictures are described is quite disturbing. The case wasn’t dismissed because the pictures weren’t pornagraphic so much as because they weren’t pornagraphic enough. Read the report, Walmart and the police did the right thing.

  97. and sorry for forgetting to include the link to the report:

    http://funnybusiness.typepad.com/files/demareesreport-1.pdf

  98. And a quote including description of the worst picture, but not the only ones considered possibly pornographic:

    The next picture was of two girls naked lying face down on a pink towel, on carpeted floor. In that picture the anus and vaginas could be seen. Their knees were positioned to where their buttocks were pushed up and their legs spread. There was another picture done in the same fashion, but with all three girls in the same pose.

  99. That does seem rather…indiscreet, shall we say? For the average family album.

    However, just because we might see something like that as pornographic doesn’t necessarily make it so. Unless they were posed like that deliberately (and I’m strongly hoping they weren’t), pictures like that could actually be seen as anti-pornography, in a way.

    Whereas in porn you have grown women posing in a similar fashion knowing full well exactly what such poses suggest, and the effect it’s going to have upon the viewer, these girls are simply doing what all little girls do; contorting their bodies into a variety of weird and wacky poses, simply for the fun of it. They just happened to have no clothes on while they were doing it. They have no idea that what they’re doing is (or can be seen to be as) of a sexual nature. The only thing sexual in such pictures and poses is what we adults, with our greater knowledge and experience of such things, bring to them.

    Still not really something that needs to be photographed for the family album, though.

  100. keep up the good work i enjoyed reading your blog….

  101. Here’s one that’s even more rediculous; the girl was dressed for God’s sake.

    http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top%20stories/story/Police-issue-warrant-over-halloween-pictures/ehjoTfsaakatXtrG0p7Fgw.cspx

  102. […] * I was going to post a really cute picture of the Hellions playing in the bathtub, then I read this story […]

  103. I like Kodiak bears.

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