March 10, 2011

Framing Innocence Author to Speak at CWRU March 31

Lynn Powell
Lynn Powell

Oberlin author Lynn Powell turned to nonfiction for her latest work, Framing Innocence. The book tells the story of Oberlin resident Cynthia Stewart, who fought for her innocence after being accused of taking obscene photographs of her daughter Nora, 8, bathing.

Powell will read from her book, published last fall, during a reading and discussion sponsored by the Department of English and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. The free, public event will take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31 in the Guilford House parlor.

Stewart’s story made national headlines in 1999 as the mother, who had taken photographs throughout her daughter’s life, became embroiled in a battle with Lorain County’s legal system. The photographs came to the attention of the police when a Discount Drug Mart employee alerted police to four bathtub images among 11 rolls of film submitted for processing.

Powell chronicles how Oberlin’s residents rallied to support Stewart in her struggle by providing a host of free services to help the family through its struggles. She will elaborate on her methods of research and reporting the story.

Stewart’s plight raises issues of privacy, the psychology and dynamics of the family, first amendment rights, the troubling nature of the  “male gaze” and the struggles of an individual vs. the legal bureaucracy, said Mary Grimm, chair of the English department.

For information, email Susan Grimm at

Posted by: Emily Mayock, March 10, 2011 09:17 AM | News Topics: College of Arts and Sciences

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.