Everyone has one. That embarrassing picture of your child running around the house completely naked or a picture of them in the bath tub after a day of playing in the mud. Decades ago these types of snapshots were considered innocent and accepted by society. But as society’s views on indecent photography grew stricter, taking photos like this was no longer seen as cute but as shameful.

Our Missouri readers can see this by looking at several cases from across the nation. In each of the cases, parents thought they were doing something innocent — simply taking photographs of their children. But when investigators stepped in two of the cases, these parents quickly learned that what they thought was innocent now comes with legal consequences.

Some here in Boone may remember hearing about the 2009 case of the Arizona couple who was accused of child pornography after a Walmart employee turned over some family photos to police. The pictures were of the couple’s children at bath time — innocuous snapshots that resulted in serious litigation. After psychological evaluations of the parents and medical examinations of the children, a judge later deemed the photos harmless and the charges were dropped.

A similar nightmare happened in Minnesota in 2012 when a college football coach was arrested and charged with child pornography after university staff discovered images of his children playing in the bath tub on a work-issued cellphone. Like in the case above, he thought they were innocent pictures. But that’s not how police saw it and it wasn’t until after an investigation that the charges were later dismissed.

Just recently in August, similar child pornography accusations were levied against a photographer who took pictures of his daughter while on vacation last year. Unfortunately, some of his photos sparked national scorn when the images were deemed too provocative and even pornographic. Although his case does not appear to have led to a criminal investigation, damage has already been done via statements made by the public who have already labeled him as a pervert and potentially a sex offender as well.

What these cases should highlight for our readers is the fact that taking pictures of your children in the bath tub or running around the house naked is no longer considered innocent in the public eye. And in some cases, these images can even lead to criminal charges as well.

Sources: ABC News, “Couple Sues Walmart for Calling Cops Over Bath Time Photos,” Dan Przygoda, Sept. 20, 2009

ESPN, “Todd Hoffner back at Mankato,” The Associated Press, April 15, 2014

Peta Pixel, “Photographer Accused of Posting ‘Pornographic’ Photos of His 2-Year-Old, Here’s How He Responded,” Gannon Burgett, Aug. 22, 2014