Two dads are making headlines this week for two totally different reasons. One dad did something horrific to his kids and got off without impunity, the other did something we all do with our kids and was immediately attacked by social services.
AJ Demaree dropped off some photos of himself and his daughters for developing at his local WalMart. Something dads do all the time, only for Demaree, that simple act would result in this:
The Peoria, Ariz., couple had their home searched by police and worse, their children — then ages 18 months, 4 and 5 — were taken from them for more than month. Their names were placed on a sex offender registry for a time, and Lisa Demaree was suspended from her school job for a year. The couple said they have spent $75,000 on legal bills.
You see, the photos were of kids in the bath, and running around in towels, or their dad posing playfully with his daughters. A WalMart employee developing the photos alerted State authorities after determining the pictures were “child erotica” and “sex exploitation.”
I have very similar photos to these. I have some of my son naked pushing a lawnmower in the backyard, him in the bath. I’ve even got pictures of him and I in the bath together (above). When he was an infant / toddler, we’d have bath time together all the time; either my wife and him or myself him.
Eventually, a judge threw out charges and now the family is suing the state, the city and WalMart for their role in what they call a “nightmare.”
This past summer was the hottest ever on record in British Columbia, so watering holes did a booming business with clientele needing to cool off. On one hot night a 26 year old man attended an Abbotsford Agrifair Beer Garden for a couple of cold ones.
Not so bad, until you hear the part about him leaving his 4 month old and 2 year old locked in his car with the windows rolled up, while Daddy was getting his drink on.
The kids were discovered just past midnight after another patron approached police saying she had overheard a man telling people he had to check on the children.
There was no air flow in the vehicle, and the temperature was in the mid 20s. The children were found to be dehydrated and soiled after the police estimated them to have been left alone for several hours.
The father was facing charges of abuse, assault and neglecting a child, but none of the charges will be laid.
“Integral to making this determination was the timeline involved, especially with regard to the specific amount of time the children were left alone in the vehicle,” said Const. Ian McDonald in a press release Monday.
McDonald added in his statement Monday: “Although this incident did not ultimately meet the threshold of criminal behaviour, it has resulted in on-going intervention on the part of the Ministry for Children and Family Development.”
It’s a tale of two dads. One loving his kids and making memories is chastised as a sex offender. Another, who shows no regard for his children’s well-being has only his children taken away from him.
For Demaree, losing his kids for a month was a crushing sentence. For the as yet named Abbotsford father, having his kids taken away from him only frees up his time to hit the bar.