ACLU Supports Ohio Mother Prosecuted For Nude Photos of Her Daughter

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
January 3, 2000 12:00 am

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COLUMBUS, OH — Saying that parents across the state could be arrested for taking innocent photographs of their children, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today filed court papers supporting a mother who is being prosecuted for photos of her eight-year-old daughter.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the criminal case of State of Ohio v. Stewart, currently pending in the Court of Common Pleas for Lorain County, the ACLU said that the law being used to prosecute the mother is so vague and overbroad as applied that parents across the state are at risk of prosecution for taking innocent photos of their children.

The case involves the prosecution of an Oberlin mother for taking various nude photos of her 8-year-old daughter. Among the photographs taken are several that feature the daughter innocently posing in the shower. When the mother took the film to a local store to have them developed, a clerk responsible for developing the film notified police about the photos.

The Lorain Prosecutors Office then prosecuted the mother for illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance as well as pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. The mother maintains that the photos are nothing more than innocent shots of her daughter. However, if convicted of the charges, the mother could face up to 16 years in prison.

“What prosecutors in Lorain have done is to pass judgment on a family and prosecute them under laws that are meant to protect children, not destroy families, for photos that, when viewed objectively, are not sexual in any way,” said Christine Link, Executive Director of the ACLU of Ohio.

“Regrettably, prosecutions of this type breed tragic consequences and do nothing to help children who are actually at risk or are being abused by adults,” Link added.

The ACLU’s brief was written by cooperating attorney Bradley Greene.

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