Prosecutors Reduce Charges In Child Photos Case
Posted January 24, 2005 5:45 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Prosecutors are backing off felony charges against a man and questionable pictures involving his children.
Despite charges of statutory sex offense and sexual exploitation, Charbel Hamaty was always met by dozens of supporters when he appeared in court.
Hamaty's attorneys argued police overreacted to Hamaty's display of affection for his firstborn son. In one family photo, attorneys said Hamaty held his infant son in his face with his child's backside facing the camera. Raleigh police determined that and other photos involving his stepdaughter constituted criminal behavior.
Now six months later, prosecutors confirm an expert's child mental health evaluation found no basis to prove the felony.
In a plea deal, Hamaty faces a little-known neglect misdemeanor. Police initially charged Hamaty's wife Teresa with exploitation for taking the pictures. She now faces a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Despite the reduced charges, prosecutors argue police acted appropriately. Charbel Hamaty remains in jail because of questions over his immigration status.
The Hamatys are still trying to win back custody of their children.