Dull Tools: Prosecutors Says They Were Right to Charge Grandmother With Pornography For Taking Pictures of Kids in Tub

img_srebertThe arrest of Donna Dull, 59, in Pennsylvania for developing pictures of her 2-year-old getting out of the bath has been the subject of national criticism and a lawsuit against the prosecutors. However, officials added to the controversy by appearing to defend the decision to charge the grandmother despite the fact that the charges were later dropped by Stan “The Man” Rebert after a public outcry.

Christopher Moore, a special prosecutor in the York County District Attorney’s Office insisted this week that the pictures (which were brought to the attention of police by a photo lab worker at Wal-Mart) fell into “a gray area.” Stan Rebert, York County district attorney, insisted that “What made them offensive was their graphic nature. A little girl with her bare butt showing, kind of looking over her shoulder. . . . It’s a difficult distinction to make. What’s a cute butt and what’s pornographic? . . . I think what she (Dull) did was stupid and in very poor judgment. It was an interesting case and I think we did the right thing.”

What is interesting is the complete lack of an objective standard coupled with a complete failure of prosecutors to use common sense. It is hardly comforting for local prosecutors to insist that the law is meant to be used against “perverts, not parents.” Moore explained that parents do not have to worry about arrest at the same time that prosecutors were saying that they acted correctly. Moore assured that such pictures do not fall within the undefined standard: “They’re keepsakes. They remind us of the way they were when they were young before they became a pain in the ass. It’s not what the (child protection) law was designed for. Your rights are not restricted in any form by the law.”

It took 15 months for District Attorney Stan Rebert to dismiss the charges after looking at the case “very closely.” Roughly a year and half for Rebert to determine that a grandmother taking a picture of a child after a bath is not pornography. Parents, however, should not be concerned because the prosecutors know pornography when they see it.

For the full story, click here.

17 thoughts on “Dull Tools: Prosecutors Says They Were Right to Charge Grandmother With Pornography For Taking Pictures of Kids in Tub”

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  2. Maggie Knowles,

    Generally we are not speaking of the top thinker that work these machines. It goes from the intake(order) to processing (development) to review and sale.

    In the review process as I understand it, they are to report any nudity involving children, some areas have stricter standards depending on what locality. They also are supposed to not look at the content, which is disambiguous at best. They are supposed to look for color quality. If they see anything “outrageous” then they are supposed to report it to a manager and a decision is made from there to call the police.

    Once the Police are called its the developers “15 mins of fame.” The Police take it and they take it to the detective and they take it to the prosecutor to review. At this stage is where the charges are either issued or not. This is where the monkey got out of the cage.

    I suspect that they had a beef with somebody and wanted to have a closer look.

    I had one case where a nut ball took pictures of crack production and all of the chemicals. The dummy was included in the photo op. The clown was even so clever that he gave his name, address and phone number. Easy enough to get a valid search warrant when someone gives you reasonable suspicion to believe a crime had been committed.

    This is an actual case that I had. Guess what he was found guilty.
    It should never have been issued by the Prosecutor.

  3. “Parents, however, should not be concerned because the prosecutors know pornography when they see it.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As do the people who develop the film and call the police. Shouldn’t they be charging the person who turned the grandmother in? In this case, pornography seems to be in the eye/mind of the beholder, not the grandmother.

  4. If defense of employees of photographic services. They are unfortunately one of the best friends that Law Enforcement can have. I have seen in my years as a Defense Attorney some pretty incredible stupid people. Some of them have been so stupid to take pictures of Meth Labs, Homicides, Beatings, Fights etc. Once these stupid people take them to be developed they have no expectation of privacy.

    But the people that work in these shops are instructed to cooperate with and to turn over questionable pictures. Yep, they already in most cases have the names and telephone numbers of these individuals.

  5. “What Dull did was stupid and in poor judgement” – Oh the chutzpah.

    No, what Dull did was ‘human’ and ‘sweet’ in normal eyes, but I guess after a few years of prosecuting, everything starts looking like a crime. Morons.

  6. What I want to know is just what kind of mentally unbalanced clerks is Wal-Mart hiring these days?

    I’m thinking the general acceptance of the absurdity in “zero tolerance” rules has a large part to play in this story, from the store clerk to the nitwit prosecutor.

    Self-righteousness is a terrible thing.

  7. Quick !! Hide the Baby Books!!
    Could there possibly be something that is a greater waste of our time and legal process?

    I have similar pictures taken of me when I was an infant/toddler but somehow my parents stopped taking picture of me in the bath when I was around two because at that point all you have are pictures of naked children and their film was better spent taking pics of me and my sib at the park, at the beach, at birthday parties and the first days of school.
    Same with me and my kid.

    Of course there is intrinsic value of naked baby in bath pictures if only as instruments or embarrassment to our grown children when they bring home prospective mates.
    And as I’ve often thought our kids should have just enough trauma in their lives so that when they go to therapy they have something interesting to talk about. Just enough. LIke naked baby picture. Not abuse.

  8. The problem with a really stupid exercise of discretion is that there is no graceful way out of it. If the prosecutor apologizes, he is openly acknowledging competency issues. If he defends his initial decision, he is confirming that he backed down only as a consequence of political pressure, but still doesn’t have a clue. In this instance, I doubt that Stan “the Man” Rebert will ever get it.

  9. Mike,

    I have one photo of me in my underware coming out of the water at Padre Island, TX circa 1951. Kids back then simply wore their underwear as swiwsuits. After swimming, my brother, sisters and I would swing on the public beach swing-set in the same undergarments. Little girls also did not wear tops.

    To think how times have changed!

    Okay, I am finished with my exposé, except that I did win a cutest baby contest. My mom and sisters still kid me about that and they still have the photo…how do kids lose their good looks when becoming adults…however, I do still have a face for radio.

  10. FFLEO,
    Most were shot from behind, but there is one full frontal of me coming out of a kiddie pool when I was 3 and yes you could tell I was Jewish. How many of us at family gatherings, when the old photos were taking out to be passed around, blushed with embarrassment as they were. That wasn’t a sexually related embarrassment either. As for the creepiness of the photo let’s just say I wouldn’t want to leave my grandkids alone with someone who looks like that. Of course my wife and I were always rather protective parents.

  11. Hey Mike, Were those photos taken as evidence that you and your sibs were Jewish?

    All of my family/relatives, who are Bible Belt Christians, have many photos of their kids ‘awh’ naturale’ and such photos were common in the 1950s-60s.

    I know you cannot–or you are supposed not to–tell a book by its cover; however, follow the link in the main article and take a gander at Mr. R’s photo. He looks pretty creepy to my old, and experienced, eyes.

  12. My mother had pictures of both my brother and myself as babies bare ass naked. My 16 Aunts/Uncles and almost 50 first cousins also had similar pictures. When they were viewed at certain family gatherings anyone claiming that they were pornographic would have had their head handed to them. This was a parental tradition of long standing and I’m just as sure true in fundamentalist homes as in others. I’ve actually worked in Child Abuse and have had a hand in sending molesters to jail.
    As a therapist I’ve treated adults who were molested as children. The reality is so far from this that how any semi-intelligent person can not make a distinction is unfathomable.

    I personally hate anyone who would abuse a child sexually or otherwise and I believe they should be stiffly penalized when caught. However, it seems Prosecutors and LEO’s have gone overboard in dealing with this issue and people’s lives are being stupidly impacted.

  13. Okay, I want a round-up of the millions upon millions of people who ever saw the Coppertone lass’ a** that is, bare bottom. Authorities must question each person under oath with a Child Protective Service official present, give the perps a polygraph, and if they were aroused–no *not* by the polygraph, the billboard ‘bottom’s view–they get the death penalty.

    I mean, we caint have such depravity.

    I need an attorney’s advice (pro bono, please) Should I call my 85-year-old mother to tell her she is in danger of arrest by the Gestapo for those naked photos of my sister and me in a 1952 bathtub—there *were* lots of bubble bath suds, though–and that she should burn that pornography? Our rubber ducky saw everything!

  14. Okay . . . why are the AIPAC spies getting a walk again while you morons in government pursue these types of non-cases?

    What’s that?

    You’re stupid and have no sense of proportion?

    Just as I suspected . . .

  15. por·nog·ra·phy noun

    Greek pornographos, adjective, writing about prostitutes, from pornē prostitute + graphein to write; akin to Greek pernanai to sell, poros journey — more at fare, carve
    Date: 1858

    1 : the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
    2 : material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
    3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

    I am missing the link to the definition of Porn in either story, was Granny getting off to these pictures? If so then, charge her with Kiddie Porn which is illegal to possess.

    I think that this prosecutor should have his conscience examined and go through a through mental health evaluation as he may still be embarrassed by pictures as a child, which should never be brought into this decision making process.

    How do you spell Reper[t]bait?

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