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Old 04-19-2006, 09:27 AM  
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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Teens’ sexual privacy upheld

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.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:37 AM   #2
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Well, that should make pedophiles and child molesters sleep easier.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:45 AM   #3
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Dumb ass law glad to see it struck down. Amazing it could happen in Kansas (common sense that is)

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Old 04-19-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
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.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:08 AM
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laz
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.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:20 PM   #6
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laz
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?

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

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.
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
I guess I just took Kline at his word? You have reason to believe he's lying?

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

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...
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by go bo
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....
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Old 04-19-2006, 04:26 PM   #10
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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?

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Old 04-19-2006, 04:27 PM   #11
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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.

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Old 04-19-2006, 04:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lane
..... they don' HAVE to turn in every underage kid that has had sex.

Dave
Even if it was with a pedophile or child molester...but the child doesn't really understand that....
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
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.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
I guess I just took Kline at his word? You have reason to believe he's lying? .
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.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
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.
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