Couple lose custody over bathtime pics

A US couple are suing supermarket chain Walmart after their innocent family snaps were reported as child pornography.

When Lisa and Anthony Demaree dropped photos of their family holiday for development, they had no inkling of the storm that would follow.

Most of the photos showed the usual family holiday antics, but some were of the couple's three young daughters, then 5, 4 and 1 1/2 years old, naked at bath time.

"Some of the photos are [bath] photos," Lisa Demaree told ABC News at the time, "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."

The Walmart employee developing the photos disagreed, and reported them to a manager. They were then passed to the police department, who called in Child Protective Services, and the Demaree's nightmare began in earnest.

The couple lost custody of their three young children for a month, and their names were added to a central registry of sex offenders.

Lisa Demaree was suspended from her job at a local school for a year during an investigation of the matter.

While the couple were eventually cleared of all wrongdoing and the pictures were ruled harmless by a court, they are far from satisfied with the outcome.

"We’ve missed a year of our children’s lives as far as memories go," Lisa Demaree told ABC News.
"As crazy as it may seem, what you may think are the most beautiful innocent pictures of your children may be seen as something completely different and completely perverted."

Lawyers for Walmart told Courthouse News there was no malice intended by Walmart employees.

"I fear that what may happen after this case is [that the] employee will sit there and say, boy, if I turn these over my employer is going to spend millions of dollars in legal fees, and I’m going to get hauled in front of a deposition for eight hours, [so] maybe I’ll just stick them back in the envelope and not worry about them," lawyer Lawrence Kasten said.

The Demarees are awaiting a verdict on their case against the city of Peoria and Walmart.

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