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Therapists Are Mandated To Report Users Of Child Porn

Posted by Seth Chazin | Apr 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

New law requires therapists to report patients who view child pornography online, or in other digital ways.

The Second District Court of Appeal of California said that protecting children is in the best interest of society compared to that of the privacy rights of patients who watch child porn. Therapists must report anyone who viewed child pornography via digital or electronic media, under the Child Abuse Neglect and Reporting Act, the court added. The sexual exploitation of children includes the act of streaming, accessing, or downloading child porn the court said.   

“The scales must be tipped in favor of sexually exploited children, who cannot protect themselves”, the justices said while weighing children's rights against patient's rights. The argument that “virtual images” aren't exploitative of “real” children was also upbraided by justices. "The claim that CANRA cannot be expanded to include Internet child pornography victims because they are "virtual" and therefore are not harmed is patently absurd," the court said.

"Not only is it illegal, the conduct is reprehensible, shameful, and abhorred by any decent and normal standards of society," the unanimous panel said.

The court rejected claims of licensed therapists, to keep patients' disclosure of viewing child pornography confidential. The plaintiffs added, The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) discourages patients from seeking mental health counseling, and will make them fear criminal prosecution for their behavior, the therapist added.

The plaintiffs' argument that the “law shouldn't apply to images texted from minors” was repelled by the court. “Minors do not have a fundamental right to produce or possess child pornography”, and the court added that there will be no exceptions.

A person is guilty of possession of child pornography if she or he knowingly “exchanges any representation of image, data, or information” that “depicts a person under the age of eighteen years engaged in an act of sexual conduct”. That's considered a felony under the law and requires registration as a sex offender. (See Penal Code Section 311.11 and Penal Code section 290)

Related Resources:

Los Angeles Times: Appeals Court Upholds Law Requiring Therapists to Report Patients Who View Child Porn

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 25 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.

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