Innocent Pics of Your Naked Children or Child Pornography

From Salon:

When we returned on Sunday, I forgot the throwaway camera and Rusty found it in his car. He gave it to his wife, whom I’ll call Janet, to get developed, and she dropped it off the next day with two other rolls of film at a local Eckerd drugstore. On Tuesday, when she returned to pick up the film, she was approached by two officers from the Savannah Police Department. They told her they had been called by Eckerd due to “questionable photos.”

One officer told Janet “there were pictures of little kids running around with no clothes on, pictures of minors drinking alcohol,” she recounted for me in an e-mail. “I asked to see the pictures and was told I couldn’t. I explained there must be a mistake. I was kind of laughing, you know, ‘Come on guys. There must be an explanation. This is crazy. Let me see the pictures.’ The officer told me that he personally did not find [the photos] offensive and that he had camped himself as a kid and knows what goes on.” But the officer also told Janet that “because Eckerd’s had called them and that because there were pictures of children naked, genitalia and alcohol, they would have to investigate.”

Janet asked the photo lab clerk what was on the photos and the clerk “replied very seriously that they were bad, that there was one that looked like a child’s head had been cut off, one with children drinking beer and pictures of naked kids.” As she drove to her house, Janet said, “I was in shock and felt sick to the pit of my stomach and was trying to process all of it.” She called my wife, who was driving home, and explained what had happened. Sensing how bad this might become, my wife pulled her car to the side of the road and fought the urge to throw up.

Comments

30 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Protip: Never have a local drugstore develop pictures of your naked kids. Not only could you get a call from the local authorities, but some asshole might sell or trade those pics to pedophiles online.

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    • Inti,

      some asshole might sell or trade those pics to pedophiles online

      Isn’t that totally paranoid or are the USA that fucked up?

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      • Laura,

        How else do you think people like this (http://news.therecord.com/article/722898) manage to get 170 000+ images of child nudity/pornography? From absolutely everywhere, that’s how. Forget selling them… there are a lot of other ways they could leave the photo lab. It’s hardly a secure facility.

        Furthermore, if a pedophile (with no record, for example) happens to work at your photo lab, do you really want them to come across naked pictures of your children as they go through and adjust the photos they’re developing? (For example, http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=5530728)

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      • Inti,

        Funny, you gave me mental images of photo labs surrounded by barbed wire and watchtowers.
        170,000 pictures, that’s indeed a big collection. However, I have a feeling that those don’t come from the photo-clerk-stumbling-upon-child-porn industry.
        Let’s keep sane here. If you become scared someone could wank on a picture like this: http://i30.tinypic.com/spixvm.jpg
        you might as well worry about people wanking to pictures of your cat or your garden. Hell, you might as well think of your whole life being cum material.

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      • they can wack off to pictures of me all they want, it the kids I’m worried about. Let me guess, you don’t have children? I gather from your comment that you do not live in the US.

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      • Inti,

        I live in Belgium, land of Marc Dutroux so I’ve seen my share of paedophobia as well.
        I don’t have children but what I was trying to say is, if you are worried someone might wank to perfectly innocent pictures of children, isn’t that gratuitously tormenting yourself? There’s every kind of weirdo around, from those who wank to a furry on a bike, to those who are aroused by corpses.
        So what will you do? Will you live your life thinking of every kind of potential danger that might befall you and your family? Will you stop taking pictures of your kids altogether? Why not ward yourself off in a bunker? Even then, you wouldn’t be safe from earthquakes.
        When it comes to children, I think everybody needs to take a deep breath and calm the fuck down.
        The family being investigated will have their lives ruined by a stupid chain of overreactions.

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      • Laura,

        Not taking naked photos of your children to a public photo lab = warding yourself off in a bunker? You think the cops were overreacting in this case, but your response is hardly less ridiculous.

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      • Inti,

        People have been taking their family pics to the lab for decades, and for decades those have included pics of their kids running around naked. Now you’re saying that’s a dangerous practice because some perv might stumble upon it and wet his pants. If I sounded ridiculous, it was only to match.

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  2. Debbe,

    I have a picture my late husband took of his two boys when they were about 5 & 9, in the shower together, and it’s adorable. However, I don’t dare show ANYONE that photo anymore. We’ve become a totally paranoid, suspicious culture, seeing evil where there may not be.

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  3. Okram,

    My wife and I have a 3-year-old girl. Whenever I photograph or videotape bathtime, backyard pool, etc. (all digital–never going to a store for processing) I find myself being careful to not capture anything that could lead to this sort of thing. It’s BS that my parents never had to worry about.

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  4. Rampage_Rick,

    Scenarios like this are a result of the association of nudity and sex, often purveyed by the Religious Right. To them, the human body is still “obscene,” “indecent,” or “immoral.”

    One needs only to compare the attitudes towards nudity in America and Europe. In Europe, topless sunbathing is common, as are nude beaches. There’s a flip side though, as someone in England suggested that those new full-body scanners at airports breach child protection laws by creating indecent images of children…

    It doesn’t matter to some pervert whether a child is clothed or not, they’re going to get their jollies either way.

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  5. Mike K,

    Clearly this is a lack of common sense paired with people at the DCP making job security for themselves. In the end, it’s a waste of time and the taxpayers’ money, not to mention the stress and and embarrassment the family had to endure.

    When my sister was 14 she snuck out of her window to go to a party. My parents caught her mid-window and tried to stop her but she jumped and ran into the darkness anyway. My parents called the cops, but they said they couldn’t do anything for 24 hours. The next morning my sister came back, safe and sound (and grounded forever). Then a few hours later Child Services came by to grill my parents about what is so terrible about the home that their daughter would want to run away. The silly part was that my parents were the ones that called the cops (immediately) to report it and wound up being the accused. Nothing ever came of it, but it was still frustrating for my parents.

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  6. Laura,

    While this particular case was clearly an overreaction, I appreciate the policy responsible. If some person got photos developed which featured my children not wearing any clothes, you’d better believe I’d want to at least be informed and discover the context of the situation. If they investigate 100 frivolous incidents for every pedophile they catch, I’d still consider this worth it (as long as they’re able to distinguish over the course of their investigation the difference between innocent photos and lewd ones, and as long as their investigation is polite and reasonable).

    Furthermore, imagine the horror of the photo clerk at discovering photos of naked children (not in this case, obviously, but in general).

    Finally, we have entered a much less innocent age…. but remember that it’s because there are (a surprisingly large number of) sickos out there who engage in child prostitution and pornography, not because we’re a paranoid society.

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    • Inti,

      The horror? I figure photo clerks must be seeing family pics with naked kids all the time and not give it a second thought. It takes a truly deranged mind to even think ill of that. And they want to go after the parents?
      If I was the cops I’d lock up the photo clerk.

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      • Laura,

        I’m referring to cases in which photo workers actually come across real child pornography (which has happened, unfortunately more than once -http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1258459/Boots-lab-technicians-kept-naked-photos-customers-children-12-years.html#ixzz0iQze18ax, http://realchoice.0catch.com/library/weekly/aa120407a.htm, http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2010/06/30/20100630Fountain-Hills-cvs-sexual-exploitation-abrk0630.html, – not only at photo labs, but even in ridiculous places like public libraries http://www.kfsm.com/kfsm-fayettevillemanchargedwith-9506935,0,2298514.story), not innocent pictures mistaken for lewd ones. I’m just saying it would be easy to become jaded…. not to mention the risk of getting in trouble for NOT reporting this kind of thing if your employer requires you to report all cases without exception.

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      • Inti,

        Laura: Taking child porn to be developed at the photo lab is so stupid and so rare an occurence that it indeed makes the headlines whenever it happens. It’s sensational and touches at every sensitive string, but seriously, if the child porn trade relied primarily on that, it would be long gone.

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      • Laura,

        Obviously pedophiles do use public photo labs in general (whether or not they’re getting their own sick photos developed), which means that there is a chance they could access other people’s pictures if they were so inclined and smart enough to avoid getting caught. I’m just saying that putting naked photos of anyone – child or adult – in a public place exposes them to everyone, including people who would use those photos for nefarious purposes. A parent’s most important responsibility is to protect their child – whether from the sex trade or from traffic – and this is just another forum in which a child could get hurt. I’m just preaching caution, not saying it was appropriate for the cops to demonize and harrass people who obviously weren’t engaging in anything beyond innocent family photography.

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    • Rampage_Rick,

      The problem isn’t the unfounded allegations, it’s the fact that “innocent until proven guilty” goes right out the window. One can draw several parallels with McCarthyism.

      A good read: http://www.thehumanaught.com/blog/general/shamed-to-suicide-the-lesser-known-victims-of-kiddie-porn/

      Oh, and another thought: It’s been shown that an increase in internet access (and therefore adult porn) reduces the occurrence of rape. Following that logic, a crackdown on child porn could in fact cause in increase in child molestation, whereby some of these perverts whom otherwise would be fulfilled behind their keyboards take it to the next level.
      http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/06/rape-porn-and-criminality-political.php

      Another statistic showed that given the harsh penalties and retribution towards child molesters nowadays, there’s a greater chance the victim will be killed in order to cover up the event. Uncle Badtouch might diddle a few girls back in the 60′s. Today that same person might break into a neighbors house, kidnap a girl, molest, murder and bury her. Law of unintended consequences?

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      • Inti,

        Good article. You also have a point about the inverse correlation between porn and internet access.
        Now, there’s an issue in that child porn has to be produced somehow. And the only way it can be made (I mean real child porn, not cartoons or such) is by abusing children. Keeping pedophiles fulfilled behind their keyboard doesn’t sound like a solvable problem.

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      • Rampage_Rick,

        Also true on your part. I think we should bring back the Iron Maiden especially for those people who perform and/or photograph child rape.

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  7. jenbrooke,

    I understand the motive – “just in case” – of the employee, but did it really have to go as far as it did? A simple background/record check could reveal these people did nothing before ever in their life, and interviews with friends/family (though unpleasant) should have sealed the issue.

    Now – how about those “cute” naked baby baptism pictures. I think there is more case there for child abuse & exploitation. Besides the whole forcing religion on children without their input, there’s the whole creepy priests aspect. I say turn those parents over now!!

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  8. Jitterie,

    Unfortunately, I can totally understand why DPS was upset, and why the police were involved.

    We all have ideas on what’s acceptable and what’s not. . .and pictures of nude nine year olds just isn’t cute. That’s really too old for innocent nudity in this day and age.

    I can understand the writer’s feelings of outrage, but in this case, the actions of the photo store employee were warranted.

    We live in a world of digital child pornography. Sad but true. No nude pictures of kids. . .you just don’t know where they’ll show up again and what they’ll be used for.

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    • Inti,

      Search ‘naked child’ on any stock photo website like Getty images and you’ll get loads of so-called digital kiddie “porn”.
      Seriously stop the paranoia.

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  9. Joey Chickenskin,

    In all of these anecdotes, the key to the anxiety comes from the Police handling at the point of contact.

    It’s sensible for the lab to report anything that they are unhappy with.

    It’s sensible for the police to then follow up the complaint.

    But with the liklihood being that photos dropped off at a shop-lab are innocent, the Police should approach the interview with a view to quickly and politely exclude any illegal activity or look for early triggers if the story doesn’t add up. Most people can explain/prove who the children are and who their parents are to contact them for any permissions.

    From then on it should be a case of contacting the parties concerned with a view to returning the material and explaining the need to check as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Letting people go home frightened of consequences when they haven’t done anything wrong and denying them access to their own photos is just far too heavy handed.

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  10. Jenny Bliss,

    certainly does seem as if this particular issue is almost always (at least nowdays) aproached in a very hostile way regardless of whether the accused is guilty of anything or not which i think is mostly the media’s fault, dont get me wrong people who are indeed guilty of such things do deserve to be punished but the way its handled at the moment is a case of if you even accused your life is pretty much over as you’ll be stigmitised for the rest of your life for some reason, good example of somthing like that in the UK is somthing the government at the time wanted to impliment (im not sure if they ever did mind you) but basicly it was that anyone who works with children would have to have a normal criminal record check but also a more indepth backround check if they indeed have any convictions but more importantly if they’ve ever been accused of any crimes against children (thats where guilty before proven innocent breaks down here at least heh)

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  11. mark fell,

    why are people so paranoide people go barmy these days if u see kids with swimming costumes on or swimming trunks in the street and start stressing they are half naked

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  12. mark fell,

    its nature if kids want to be that way let them it aint a crime

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