A Sequim, Washington, woman has been advised by police that a stranger who was taking pictures of her 3-year-old child was not breaking any law.
Kathy Wolcott was at the local Walmart store last week when she noticed a man with a cell phone, and then saw his camera flash.
When Wolcott confronted the man, she realized that her child had not been the only target.
“I ask him to go to his camera,” Wolcott said, according to Q13. “I hit the gallery button and I see row after row of children in Walmart that day that he was just taking pictures of.”
While the man reacted nervously and ran off, employees were able to get his license plate and called the police.
Police located the man, but Deputy Police Chief Sheri Crain confirmed that no arrest was made.
“Unfortunately it’s not a crime,” Crain said. “People have the ability to take photographs. Nowadays, when everybody has a cellphone, there’s a greater likelihood that photos are being taken.”
The police added that unless photos were pornographic, a stranger was not committing a crime by taking pictures of children.
“This man got away with taking pictures of so many children that day,” Wolcott said, and pointed out that regardless of whether such actions were criminal, taking pictures of children was often not appropriate.
“You have to be a little more vigilant without being afraid of everything,” said Crain, discussing how parents should deal with the problem. “Be a little bit more vigilant about what’s going on around you.”
Wolcott was unhappy with the outcome.
“I feel like I can’t protect my son,” she said. “I feel like there’s nothing I can do to protect them.”