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Mr. Laz
04-19-2006, 10:27 AM
Teens’ sexual privacy upheld

Kline had sought mandatory reporting of minors’ activity as child abuse
By RON SYLVESTER, The Wichita Eagle
BENITA Y. WILLIAMS and MELODEE HALL BLOBAUM
The Kansas City Star


WICHITA — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline overstepped the intent of lawmakers in a legal opinion concerning the sexual privacy of teenagers.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled that health-care providers should have more discretion in what they are required to report to state law enforcement and social workers concerning the sexual activity of their patients under the age of 16.

As a result, Marten’s ruling prevents law officers and prosecutors from enforcing such a strict interpretation of the law.

Kline and prosecutors such as Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston sought to narrow the discretion of health professionals, fighting a lawsuit filed by a group that included doctors, nurses, social workers and psychologists from the Kansas City and Wichita areas.

The judge, who heard evidence at a two-week trial in January and February, said a 2003 legal opinion by Kline went beyond what legislators intended when they passed a 1982 child abuse reporting law. Kline’s opinion, the health-care providers said, would require reporting of most sexual activity of children under age 16 as child abuse.

“The court holds that a plain reading of the statute vests mandatory reporters, such as health-care providers, with discretion to determine when there is ‘reason to suspect a child has been injured’ as a result of sexual abuse,” Marten wrote in his ruling.

Simon Heller, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York advocacy group that filed the lawsuit, called the ruling an important victory for young people in Kansas and across the United States.

“It is the first ruling recognizing the United States Constitution gives protection — constitutional protection — to the informational privacy rights of young people in health care,” Heller said.

Kline said he had not had a chance to read the opinion and had not decided whether to appeal it to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

But Kline said of Marten’s ruling, “It’s not unexpected. It’s what we’ve been predicting.”

Area prosecutors offered mixed reactions to Marten’s ruling.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman, who gave a deposition in the case supporting Kline’s position, said the discretion to pursue abuse cases should lie with prosecutors.

He said Kline’s interpretation of the law would have increased the number of cases reported to authorities. However, Gorman said, he doubted the number of criminal cases pursued would have risen greatly because prosecutors would still decide whether to pursue charges.

“The prosecutor who deals with these matters day in and day out is more equipped to deal with this type of situation,” Gorman said. “Health-care providers might not deal with it on a regular basis or they might have biases, like an abortion provider.”

Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison, who is running for attorney general in the Democratic primary, said Kline’s position was “an overly simplistic interpretation” of the mandatory reporter law and would be difficult to enforce.

“Kline’s interpretation of the statute has, in most people’s views, been outside the conventional wisdom of the framers of that law,” Morrison said.

Morrison said there is no dispute that sex involving younger children must be reported, but he said underage sex between consenting older youths should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

“We’re talking about a 15-year-old who a health-care provider finds out engaged in fondling,” Morrison said.

Kline said he’s never sought to prosecute children who have consensual sex, only children who are victimized by adults. Without mandatory reporting, he said, law enforcement officials do not get the information they need to pursue cases.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, wasn’t surprised by the ruling, which she expects will be appealed. Her main interest is in requiring clinics that provide abortions to report teen pregnancies.

But area physicians, school counselors and nurses worried that a different ruling would have had a lasting, negative effect on their relationship with teenagers who come to them for help.

Officials from the Olathe and Blue Valley school districts said now they can continue with their current practice. Nancy Keith, Olathe’s executive director of general administration who supervises student services, said when a mandated reporter learns information that indicates that a child’s mental or physical health is in jeopardy, “then we have to report that.”


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 10:37 AM
Well, that should make pedophiles and child molesters sleep easier.

Dave Lane
04-19-2006, 10:45 AM
Dumb ass law glad to see it struck down. Amazing it could happen in Kansas (common sense that is)

Dave

Mr. Laz
04-19-2006, 12:02 PM
Well, that should make pedophiles and child molesters sleep easier.
if you actually believe that Kline intended to use it JUST for child abuse.

it was just gonna be another way to control sex for a republican party obsessed with the subject.

patteeu
04-19-2006, 12:37 PM
if you actually believe that Kline intended to use it JUST for child abuse.

it was just gonna be another way to control sex for a republican party obsessed with the subject.

I don't think it was a Republican who started this thread.

vailpass
04-19-2006, 01:20 PM
TTIWWP

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 03:53 PM
if you actually believe that Kline intended to use it JUST for child abuse.

it was just gonna be another way to control sex for a republican party obsessed with the subject.
I guess I just took Kline at his word? You have reason to believe he's lying? :shrug:

Control sex? No. Imposition on the privacy of teens? Maybe. Is the cost worth the sacrifice? :shrug:

Could this decision lead to fewer convictions of pedophiles and child molestors? Probably. Guess we'll see. I guess, for some, protecting the rights of pedophiles and child molestors is more important.

go bowe
04-19-2006, 04:31 PM
I guess I just took Kline at his word? You have reason to believe he's lying? :shrug:

Control sex? No. Imposition on the privacy of teens? Maybe. Is the cost worth the sacrifice? :shrug:

Could this decision lead to fewer convictions of pedophiles and child molestors? Probably. Guess we'll see. I guess, for some, protecting the rights of pedophiles and child molestors is more important.it's the rights of doctors and patients to be able to communicate about health matters candidly and effectively that are at issue here...

the common law has long protected communications between doctor and patient, and there is a reason for that...

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 04:49 PM
it's the rights of doctors and patients to be able to communicate about health matters candidly and effectively that are at issue here...

the common law has long protected communications between doctor and patient, and there is a reason for that...
Sure.

But age of consent laws, age of the "patient/victim," and parental rights also enter into the equation....

banyon
04-19-2006, 05:26 PM
But what wedge issue will Phil Kline's Crimesquad follow now to drum up the support of the religious righties to build up his campaign contributions?

:shrug:

Dave Lane
04-19-2006, 05:27 PM
They are always free to turn in molestation cases for pedophiles and child molestors. This just means they don' HAVE to turn in every underage kid that has had sex.

Dave

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 05:42 PM
..... they don' HAVE to turn in every underage kid that has had sex.

DaveEven if it was with a pedophile or child molester...but the child doesn't really understand that....

Logical
04-19-2006, 06:50 PM
Even if it was with a pedophile or child molester...but the child doesn't really understand that....

Unless I am misreading your post I think you are missing the point. There are 14 year olds having sex with other 14 year olds, there is no reason they should be turned in (at least IMO). I don't think there are any 14 year old pedophiles but you never know. I think the point is there is some discretion as to who is turned in based on circumstances. I doubt if a person victimizing children being protected is the intent of this ruling.

Mr. Laz
04-19-2006, 07:34 PM
I guess I just took Kline at his word? You have reason to believe he's lying? :shrug: .
well since there is already something that says they should tell if the person is "hurt because of sexual abuse" ... this expansion says that he is looking for more reports from more reasons.

much like reports about pr0n searches from google,yahoo etc ......... the potiential for abuse is huge.


and the current government as already shown they don't give a crap about abuse ..... as long as it's them doing the abusing.

unlurking
04-19-2006, 07:50 PM
Even if it was with a pedophile or child molester...but the child doesn't really understand that....
Ummm, I thought all health care professionals were required by law to report crimes of child abuse (including molestation), when encountered. If that is the case, there is absolutely no need for a law like this.

What gets me is that, most people that support rights for the fetus, support taking rights away from children.

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 08:15 PM
...I think the point is there is some discretion as to who is turned in based on circumstances. I doubt if a person victimizing children being protected is the intent of this ruling.

I could be misreading the case, and the law here--but I don't see how. While not the intent of the decision, I think that protecting abusers could be the result of this ruling.....as I explain to "unlurking" below....

well since there is already something that says they should tell if the person is "hurt because of sexual abuse" ... this expansion says that he is looking for more reports from more reasons....

Prosectuors can be fired/voted out of office if they abuse their power. I'd rather err on the side of chasing down pedophiles and abusers .... than protecting what is, IMO, an overly broad idea of privacy for teens (who still are not full-fledged adults, with full-fledged rights.) As a parent, that's just the way I think it should be, and I guess you disagree. I guess we shouldn't be surprised.




Ummm, I thought all health care professionals were required by law to report crimes of child abuse (including molestation), when encountered. If that is the case, there is absolutely no need for a law like this.

What gets me is that, most people that support rights for the fetus, support taking rights away from children.

You are right about reporting abuse.......However, if I'm reading this correctly, when a child/teen comes to a health care professional but refuses to identify their "partner" (who, quite possibly, could be a pedophile or molester) that would be the end of it. No investigation. No follow-up. No notification of parents. What about parental rights?

To me, that process shields abusers from investigation, arrest, and prosecution simply on the basis of a kid not wanting to identify their partners. It protects the abusers, in my mind. The rights of society and parents to protect their children, even if the teen may not view it that way, outweighs the "privacy" rights of teen who is not yet, legally, entitled to the full-fledged rights of adults.

JMHO :shrug:

go bowe
04-19-2006, 08:17 PM
Sure.

But age of consent laws, age of the "patient/victim," and parental rights also enter into the equation....personally, i think communications between a patient and doctor should be virtually sacrosanct, even more so than attorney client communications, and regardless of the age of the patient...

total honesty between the doctor and the patient is absolutely vital in making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment...

and, fwiw, i think i may have read a different article or something...

seems like what is being protected is the existing practice of reporting instances of any injury to children or adult-child abuse to the proper authorities...

not the rights of pedophiles... :shake: :shake: :shake:

WilliamTheIrish
04-19-2006, 08:28 PM
I guess I just took Kline at his word? You have reason to believe he's lying? :shrug:

Control sex? No. Imposition on the privacy of teens? Maybe. Is the cost worth the sacrifice? :shrug:

Could this decision lead to fewer convictions of pedophiles and child molestors? Probably. Guess we'll see. I guess, for some, protecting the rights of pedophiles and child molestors is more important.

You have no idea who/what Phill Kline is all about, eh?

This is all about Kline ( a guy who let his license lapse 3 f'ing times) diggin into the medical privacy of teens only to find out if they are having abortions.

How do I know this? Because Kline and his useless minions in the sate AG's officice declined to prosecute a 19 year old male (w/ a prior drug conviction) for having sex with a 14 year old girl.

The child was my niece.

So you can get off the Kline bandwagon before he klowns you any more.

WilliamTheIrish
04-19-2006, 08:29 PM
personally, i think communications between a patient and doctor should be virtually sacrosanct, even more so than attorney client communications, and regardless of the age of the patient...
total honesty between the doctor and the patient is absolutely vital in making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment...

and, fwiw, i think i may have read a different article or something...

seems like what is being protected is the existing practice of reporting instances of any injury to children or adult-child abuse to the proper authorities...

not the rights of pedophiles... :shake: :shake: :shake:

Absolutely.

WoodDraw
04-19-2006, 10:17 PM
You are right about reporting abuse.......However, if I'm reading this correctly, when a child/teen comes to a health care professional but refuses to identify their "partner" (who, quite possibly, could be a pedophile or molester) that would be the end of it. No investigation. No follow-up. No notification of parents. What about parental rights?

To me, that process shields abusers from investigation, arrest, and prosecution simply on the basis of a kid not wanting to identify their partners. It protects the abusers, in my mind. The rights of society and parents to protect their children, even if the teen may not view it that way, outweighs the "privacy" rights of teen who is not yet, legally, entitled to the full-fledged rights of adults.

JMHO :shrug:

I think you are misreading it. Kline wanted to force all health care professionals to turn over the names of a teen patients any time they admit to having sex or seek treatment for something resulting from sexual activity (STDs, etc.), whether it was consensual or not. The current law is that health care professionals must report all cases of sexual abuse, including those where there is just a strong suspicion on the part of the doctor. So in your case, the doctor would still be able to report the case to be investigated if s/he felt something wasn't right.


I agree completely with go bo though. Everyone - teens and adults alike - should be able to talk to a doctor about STDs, pregnancy, birth control, and whatever issue they are facing without the fear of an investigation team tracking them down. That obviously needs to be weighed with the serious issue of underage sexual abuse, but I haven't seen anything that shows the current laws are inadequate. And with Kline's history as AG, he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to privacy issues.

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 10:37 PM
You have no idea who/what Phill Kline is all about, eh?

This is all about Kline ( a guy who let his license lapse 3 f'ing times) diggin into the medical privacy of teens only to find out if they are having abortions.

How do I know this? Because Kline and his useless minions in the sate AG's officice declined to prosecute a 19 year old male (w/ a prior drug conviction) for having sex with a 14 year old girl.

The child was my niece.

So you can get off the Kline bandwagon before he klowns you any more.Thanks for your insights. The guys sounds like a loon. I still think there are parental rights that should be more of a part of this than you or John seem willing to concede. However, that's a reasonable difference of opinion.

EDIT: Forgive me WTI....I'm sorry to hear about your niece. That's the sort of incident that makes one yearn for the justice of "In Broad Daylight (vigilante justice)." :shake:

Mr. Kotter
04-19-2006, 10:56 PM
I think you are misreading it. Kline wanted to force all health care professionals to turn over the names of a teen patients any time they admit to having sex or seek treatment for something resulting from sexual activity (STDs, etc.), whether it was consensual or not. The current law is that health care professionals must report all cases of sexual abuse, including those where there is just a strong suspicion on the part of the doctor. So in your case, the doctor would still be able to report the case to be investigated if s/he felt something wasn't right.


I agree completely with go bo though. Everyone - teens and adults alike - should be able to talk to a doctor about STDs, pregnancy, birth control, and whatever issue they are facing without the fear of an investigation team tracking them down. That obviously needs to be weighed with the serious issue of underage sexual abuse, but I haven't seen anything that shows the current laws are inadequate. And with Kline's history as AG, he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to privacy issues.

Fair enough, then. I'll defer to your understanding of the laws here.

patteeu
04-20-2006, 01:39 AM
it's the rights of doctors and patients to be able to communicate about health matters candidly and effectively that are at issue here...

the common law has long protected communications between doctor and patient, and there is a reason for that...

It seems to me that this is the way it should be for all circumstances. Doctors should be allowed to report but shouldn't be legally obligated to report knife wounds, gun shot wounds, possible abuse, etc. We should leave these decisions up to the doctor, IMO.

Mr. Kotter
04-20-2006, 07:41 AM
It seems to me that this is the way it should be for all circumstances. Doctors should be allowed to report but shouldn't be legally obligated to report knife wounds, gun shot wounds, possible abuse, etc. We should leave these decisions up to the doctor, IMO.

I would have to disagree.....but I love the cognitive dissonance this hypothetical double standard creates.....Heh. :)

:fire:

WoodDraw
04-20-2006, 11:19 PM
I see an obvious distinction between the violent acts of gun and knife wounds and teens having sex. I can't think of a situation where a person could come it with a gun shot wound without some serious questions needing to be asked, while there are plenty of situations where teen sexual activity is harmless - at least to the extent that the AG should be concerned.

WilliamTheIrish
04-21-2006, 04:45 PM
Thanks for your insights. The guys sounds like a loon. I still think there are parental rights that should be more of a part of this than you or John seem willing to concede. However, that's a reasonable difference of opinion.

EDIT: Forgive me WTI....I'm sorry to hear about your niece. That's the sort of incident that makes one yearn for the justice of "In Broad Daylight (vigilante justice)." :shake:

No harm done, Mr. K.

The niece is no angel. She was a willing participant. She went from being a great kid to a great pain in the ass almost overnight. Ended pregnant, and now my brother is (essentially) a father to a new born.

It's a friggin mess...

the Talking Can
04-21-2006, 05:54 PM
You have no idea who/what Phill Kline is all about, eh?

This is all about Kline ( a guy who let his license lapse 3 f'ing times) diggin into the medical privacy of teens only to find out if they are having abortions.

How do I know this? Because Kline and his useless minions in the sate AG's officice declined to prosecute a 19 year old male (w/ a prior drug conviction) for having sex with a 14 year old girl.

The child was my niece.

So you can get off the Kline bandwagon before he klowns you any more.

Kline has never done an honest deed in his life.

Hydrae
04-21-2006, 06:47 PM
You are right about reporting abuse.......However, if I'm reading this correctly, when a child/teen comes to a health care professional but refuses to identify their "partner" (who, quite possibly, could be a pedophile or molester) that would be the end of it. No investigation. No follow-up. No notification of parents. What about parental rights?

I would hope the parents of any child under the age of 16 has a pretty good idea of what their child is up to and who they are up to it with. We are not talking teens with drivers licenses here. It is not the states responsibility to be the parent.