Last fall A.J. and Lisa Demaree took a memory stick with family photos to the printing center at the Wal-Mart store in Peoria, Ariz. Some of the photos showed their three young girls, all under 5 years old, partially nude in the bathtub. The Demarees say these were innocent pictures that all families take. But a Wal-Mart employee felt otherwise and contacted the police who agreed that this was a child pornography situation.
The Demaree's lawyer released this photo to show the pictures of the girls are innocent.
The police report read, "The young girl appeared to be posed in a provocative manner." A report issued by Peoria authorities described the photos as "child erotica" and "sex exploitation."
Child Protective Services searched the Demaree home and took custody of the children for a month while the state investigated. The watched family videotapes and found a few in which the children were playing unclothed. Lisa was suspended from her school job for a year, and both of their names were placed on the sex offender registry. The couple spent $75,000 on legal bills.
The Demarees were eventually cleared of any charges and their daughters returned, but they are now suing the state and Wal-Mart for what they call unfair accusations.
This morning the Demarees appeared on "Good Morning America."
"I don't' understand it at all," A.J. told "GMA."
"Ninety-nine percent of the families in America have these exact same photos."
"It took us a long time to take a picture [again]," Lisa told "GMA."
"I even worry about them in their bathing suits now, if I get a shot of them in their bathing suits and they're tilting their heads a certain way or their hips are sticking out a little bit, all I think of is 'Does someone think that it was posed? Or how is that going to be perceived?'"
"Honestly we've missed a year of our children's lives as far as our memories go," Lisa added, "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."