Photo of Sick Son in Shower With Dad Is Causing Legal Issues for Mom Who Posted It


The photo above was shared on Facebook tens of thousands of times.

Via IJ Review: It shows a father sitting in the shower with his sick little boy, trying to help him feel better. His wife, a photographer, snapped a picture of the moment to show the special bond between a father and his son.

Heather Whitten wrote on Facebook in May 2016, that she was taken aback by the harsh criticism the picture she cherished so much received:

“There is nothing sexual or exploitative about this image. I was taken aback by how many people missed the story or didn’t even look past the nudity to find the story.”

At one point the photo was removed by Facebook, but a spokeswoman for the social media site said that removing the picture was an error and that the photo “has since been reinstated.”

The photographer says she is committed to “finding a creative voice that speaks to the celebration of the struggles and triumphs, big and small, of motherhood.”

But now, because of the photo, Heather is in trouble with the law.

According to the GoFundMe account she set up to help her pay legal fees, 9 million people to date have viewed the viral picture. And of those millions of people, “a single individual sent in a complaint to the local authorities.”

Heather writes:

Thomas and I were investigated by Arizona’s Department of Child Safety and the Sahuarita Police Department for a number of claims that the person made in their letter.

The police right away stated that they were not going to take any action against us and that their case would be closed immediately. The investigator from DCS, however[,] spent the next few months generally trying to have me seen as an immodest, neglectful and abusive mother based on the single interview she had with me.

Eventually, the Department of Child Safety investigator claims, “[Heather] neglected to supervise her children by allowing their images to be online and so put them at an unreasonable risk of harm.”

Heather writes that if this claim is justified then she will be put on Arizona’s Central Registry for 25 years. This means that the mom of four will no longer be allowed to foster or to adopt children, and she will no longer be allowed to hold a position working with children or vulnerable adults anywhere in the country.

The administrative hearing will take place on February 3,2017.

She writes to her supporters,“you’ve heard this story and you’ve lent your comfort and support through these last eight months in a variety of ways,” and for that she is “nothing short of thankful.”

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