Evanston Public Library's Reviews > Framing Innocence: A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and a Small Town's Response

Framing Innocence by Lynn Powell
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Jul 30, 2011

bookshelves: nonfiction

The photo on the cover tells much of the story. To me it looks like a sweet picture of a young girl in a meadow. But to others, with a different squint of imagination, it might appear more suggestive than that.

Eleven years ago, Cynthia Stewart dropped off several rolls of film at a drugstore in Ohio. Most of the pictures were of her eight-year-old daughter, Nora. In several pictures Nora was naked. Someone at the photo lab suspected child abuse and alerted the police. Prior to any investigation, Stewart was charged with crimes carrying the possibility of sixteen years in prison.

Ultimately the case never went to trial: a storm of publicity, combined with Stewart's reluctant approval of the destruction of two photos, persuaded the zealous prosecutor to drop charges. (Because the photos were destroyed we don't get to see and judge them for ourselves.)

Jeff B.
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