An Arizona couple is seeking justice after they were accused of using their three young daughters for child pornography.
The incident occurred in 2008 after A.J. and Lisa Demaree sent a memory stick full of photos to their local Walmart to get them developed. Eight of the 150 photos were of the girls — then ages 5, 4 and 1 ½ — during bath time, which a Walmart worker mistook for child porn and reported to the police. The police, in turn, reported the photos to child services.
“Some of the photos are bathtime photos,” Lisa Demaree told ABC News at the time of the incident, “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.”
Eventually, a Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that the photographs were not intended to be pornographic, and medical exams of the girls concluded there were no signs of sexual abuse.
After what the Demaree’s described as a nightmare - losing custody of their girls for more than a month and having their names added to the central registry of sex offenders - the couple is seeking reparations for slander and the time lost with their daughters.
In 2009, the couple filed charges against the city of Peoria and the State Attorney General’s office for defamation, as well as Walmart for not telling the couple they could get turned over to the police without their knowledge.
A federal judge in Phoenix already sided with Walmart, explaining that employees cannot be punished or held liable for reporting suspected child pornography. The Demarees are now appealing the decision, arguing that not even cops have the authority sometimes to declare a person a sex offender, and neither should a Walmart employee.
It is unknown when the appeals court will make a final ruling on the case.
Source: ABC News