Parents Lose Custody Over Bath-Time Photos

Jennifer Deutschmann - Author

Dec. 21 2017, Updated 4:23 a.m. ET

Parents who lost custody over bath-time photos, submitted to Wal-Mart for processing, are back in court. A.J. and Lisa Demaree have appealed a Phoenix, Arizona court’s decision that Wal-Mart was not liable for consumer fraud.

The Demarees were stunned when Arizona Child Protective Service officials showed up at their home to take custody of their children. The couple was accused of taking pornographic pictures of their daughters ages 5, 4, and, 18 months. The parents denied the charges, asserting that they were simply taking pictures of their daughters after a bath.

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Employees of a Wal-Mart photo lab were concerned about the nature of the photographs and contacted the Peoria Police Department. Police turned the case over to the Arizona CPS, who eventually removed the children from the Demaree home.

CPS officials investigated the parents for over a month before determining that the pictures were not pornographic. The three girls were eventually returned to their parents when a medical examination concluded that the girls were not abused.

As reported by Courthouse News Services, Mr. and Mrs. Demaree were devastated by the situation and blame Wal-Mart for failing to disclose an “unsuitable print policy.”

In 2009, the parents filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, claiming that, by failing to disclose the policy, Wal-Mart was responsible for causing them to lose custody over innocent bath-time photos.

As reported by ABC News, a Phoenix judge decided in favor of Wal-Mart, citing Arizona law which protects employees who report suspected child abuse or child pornography.

The Demaree’s and their attorney contend that the Wal-Mart employees working in the photo lab were not properly trained to identify possible cases of child pornography. They stated that the negligence of Wal-Mart employees nearly destroyed their lives.

An appeal of the court’s decision was filed in the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The parents testified before a panel of three judges last week and are awaiting their decision.

Their attorney contends that Wal-Mart should be held responsible for causing the parents to lose custody over innocent bath-time photos.

[Image via fotopedia]


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