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Therapists argue California child-porn reporting law causes more harm than good




Lt. Mike Baute from Florida's Child Predator CyberCrime Unit talks with a man on instant messenger during the unveiling of a new CyberCrimes office March 7, 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Lt. Mike Baute from Florida's Child Predator CyberCrime Unit talks with a man on instant messenger during the unveiling of a new CyberCrimes office March 7, 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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A group of California psychotherapists is suing the California Attorney General over a law (AB 1775-Melendez) passed last year that requires all therapists to report to law enforcement any patient who has ever seen child pornography online.

Bill Owens, who is also suing LA County over the law, says the bill was well-intended but it means law enforcement resources are being misdirected to innocuous incidents and therefore fewer real cases of child sexual abuse are being investigated. The office of Assemblymember Melissa Melendez says mandatory reporters always have been required to report such incidents, but her bill updated the language to include Internet porn.

In your opinion, should all “mandatory reporters,” such as psychologists, doctors, and teachers, be required to report any and all access to porn with minors? Would it violate therapist-patient privilege? Or is the benefit of targeting child porn worth the cost of patient privacy?

Guest:

Mark Hardiman, Attorney and Partner, Nelson Hardiman; suing the state and LA County over AB 1775

Tim Shannon, Lobbyist of Shannon Government Relations, advocated for AB 1775 on behalf of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists



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