Archive for Friday, February 10, 2006

Kline: Rapists have no right to privacy

Attorney general accused of witch hunt

February 10, 2006

Advertisement

Privacy for those who get an abortion is "certainly important," Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline said Thursday.

"But no one has the right to keep their rape of a child private," Kline said during an online chat on the Journal-World's Web site.

Before coming to Lawrence to participate in the chat, Kline told a group of legislators in Topeka that a ruling last week from the Kansas Supreme Court regarding subpoenas of medical records from two abortion clinics supported his position.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline responds to readers' questions during an online chat Thursday afternoon in the News Center.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline responds to readers' questions during an online chat Thursday afternoon in the News Center.

In dispute was an investigation initiated by Kline. Shawnee County District Court Judge Richard Anderson, at Kline's urging, issued subpoenas for medical records of 90 women and girls. Kline alleged the records could show instances of illegal late-term abortions and child abuse. The clinics said Kline was on a fishing expedition.

A week ago, in a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court said the judge must reconsider whether to continue the investigation and, if so, to ensure that patients' privacy rights are protected. The Supreme Court also scolded Kline for public statements he made in the case.

During the online chat, Kline was challenged about the investigation by several questioners, including one who accused him of being on a "witch hunt."

Kline responded that since serving as attorney general, there have been 700 cases of adults sexually exploiting children that his office and the KBI, which he oversees, have investigated, referred for investigation or prosecuted.

"Evidence of these crimes comes from numerous sources including hospitals, doctor's offices, nurses, SRS and, yes, live birth records. This simply has not been reported in the media as we do not make the particulars public in order to protect the privacy of victims," Kline said. "Furthermore, I want to point out that I wrote the laws that help prevent the publication of sex crime victims."

One questioner said Kline shouldn't have the right to subpoena abortion records.

Kline said his office had medical records in almost every violent crime case prosecuted. He said medical records were critical in the BTK killer's arrest. Privacy is protected for all involved, he said.

"It was a judge that issued these subpoenas, not my office," he said.

For a full transcript of Kline's chat, go to www2.ljworld.com/news/chats/.

- Journal-World writer Scott Rothschild contributed information to this story.

Comments

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

""But no one has the right to keep their rape of a child private," Kline said during an online chat on the Journal-World's Web site."

No on is claiming that a rapists has some sort of privacy interests in the medical records he seeks. This is a strawman argument.

""It was a judge that issued these subpoenas, not my office," he said."

But it was his office that initiated the inquest, established the initial parameteres of the subpeonas and the manner in which they sought information, and argued vehemently for their issuance as they requested.

And it was Kline himself that narrowly missed getting dinged for unprofessional conduct for showing questionable ethics and judgment during the appeal process.

"Kline's initial responses were troubling. ... In essence, Kline has told this court that he did what he did simply because he believed that he knew best how he should behave, regardless of what this court had ordered, and that his priorities should trump whatever priorities this court had set. Furthermore, ... Kline's stated reason for holding the conference -- to combat what he saw as unflattering earlier press coverage -- does not appear to be among the permissible reasons for an attorney in his position to engage in extrajudicial statements under Kansas Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6 (2005 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 473). This too is troubling. "

And he is our top law-enforcement officer?

mcoan 9 years, 4 months ago

Great post, Baille.

Kline refuses to admit he was smacked down by a reasonable (moderate?) Supreme Court. He still insists he's right, which is exactly what one must do to pander to the Right Wing Machine that now runs Kansas. Such arrogance.

The court said the identities of the "victims" of the rapes must be kept secret. Uh, Phil, how do you propose to investigate and prosecute the rapes if you can't ID the victims, and thus can't ID the alleged rapists? Makes absolutely zero sense. But that's how the Right Wing Machine works...appeal to emotion, throw logic out the window.

I still wish Kansas had a governor with backbone who, instead of worrying about re-election, would use her "bully pulpit" to stand up to the Machine, the AG, and the Board of Education. Tell the world that not everyone agrees with these extremists. Tell Kansans what the Machine is doing to the economic future of the state. Point out that 70% of Kansans identify with moderate positions. Attack back when attacked. Etc.

But, then again, I keep waiting for the minority party in Congress to do the same thing.

The March to Fascism continues unabated, and mostly unnoticed by the Masses, all because politicians care more about getting re-elected than leading.

For the 14 Steps To Fascism, which our country now meets all 14, see: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Fascism/14_Characteristics_Fascism.html

craigers 9 years, 4 months ago

So privacy overrides any attempt to find out if these girls were raped and abused? I can't believe people on this forum care more about privacy than having monsters that abuse little girls put behind bars. Like he said it isn't just the abortion records that he is wanting to look at. Some of these girls are victims, at least somebody should look after them.

allateup2 9 years, 4 months ago

Most on this forum would have a different opinion if it was there own child that had been raped or abused. Minds change very quickly when the shoe is on the other foot.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

That is not it, Craigers. That is not the holding of the COurt and it is not an argument I have seen advocated here.

There is a way to conduct a legitimate investigation in to the issue of child rape without compromising the privacy of 90 people by combing through their medical records. If the AG acts with some sense of restraint and follows the Supreme Court's guidance, his office willl have the records of children where specific probable cause has been established to show rape.

His late-term abortion search must meet some foundational requirements, which he apparently misunderstood and failed to establish. Once done, it seems likely he will have access to those records - albeit redacted until specific probable cause can be established.

Monsters can be found without surrendering our right to be from from government intrusion into our personal lives. They can be found through the inquisition process Kline wants to use, and if you would take a moment to read the biref Opinion of the Court, you would see this for yourself.

Check it out:

http://www.kscourts.org/kscases/supct/2006/20060203/93383.htm

optimist 9 years, 4 months ago

I imagine any records reflecting either later term abortions or girls under the legal age of consent will result in identifying the patients, at least to the court. We should expect however that as professionals the courts, the AG's office and the legal representatives of anyone indicted as a result will not disclose this information to the public. It is not relevant to the case.

The women having the late term abortion cannot be and should not be prosecuted so because of that the only party being protected by privilege is the abortion provider violating the law and that is not the intent of doctor/patient privilege.

When children under the age of consent give live birth that information has been provided to the attorney general in order to prosecute statutory rapists; why not the same for abortion records? Abortion should not be regarded any differently than any other medical procedure unless it is something other than a regular medical procedure. If the child can't be prosecuted then the only person who can be prosecuted in this case is not entitled to protection by the doctor/patient privilege of another.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

Yep, Arminius. Paul Morrison all the way.

I don't find your essay on his involvement in the death penalty debate to be compelling. The death penalty can not be justified morally, financially, or practically. Corruption of our public officials is undeniable. Mistakes happen. Innocent people have been placed on death row - and while I believe there must have been an innocent among those we have killed - with people like Brownback advocating for even less post-sentenicng review of these kinds of cases, the probability grows larger every day that we will kill an innocent if we have not already. Check out this link on the case of Joe Amrine and understand teh Missouri argued he should be put to death even if it was irrefutable he was innocent simply because he had a "fair" trial (wav files of t eh oral argument are available online):

http://www.pilc.net/CLIENTS2.html

However, that said, Morrison has never come out against the death penalty, which I think is too bad. On the other hand, he is a practicing attorney who knows the law. He is a reasonable, thoughtful person, and he would be an asset to Kansas rather than an embarrassment.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"We should expect however that as professionals the courts, the AG's office and the legal representatives of anyone indicted as a result will not disclose this information to the public. It is not relevant to the case."

Shouldn't we? However:

"Kline's initial responses were troubling. ... In essence, Kline has told this court that he did what he did simply because he believed that he knew best how he should behave, regardless of what this court had ordered, and that his priorities should trump whatever priorities this court had set. Furthermore, ... Kline's stated reason for holding the conference -- to combat what he saw as unflattering earlier press coverage -- does not appear to be among the permissible reasons for an attorney in his position to engage in extrajudicial statements under Kansas Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6 (2005 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 473). This too is troubling. "

Redacted records are just as useful and can be un-redacted folloiwng an in camera review and teh establishment of probable cause specific to the individual.

craigers 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the link Baille! I didn't have time to read the whole thing but according to what I did read, it is the health insurance company's responsibility to file the paperwork if a child is under the age of 16 and has an abortion, is that right? If that is the case then that shouldn't be a problem to attain and hopefully that paperwork is being filed and will be looked at. I just see people scream privacy with such force that it seems that they are ready to let people continue to be in the guardianship of a monster because they think that Kline is merely out to hunt down those who have had abortions. I don't see him doing that at all.

Bobo Fleming 9 years, 4 months ago

Lets consider an actual case. 13 year old girl made pregnant by good old dad. Dads sister takes girl to an abortion clinic. Aunt tells clinic that girl is 18. Abortion is done. Girls mom doesnt know. Dad knows and aunt knows but they arent talking. Abortion clinic tells no one. Dad molests girl for two more years. Dad is caught when he attempts to molest friend of the girls who is staying over for the weekend. Lets see here. Who has the "privacy" rights? Dad? Aunt? Clinic? Victim? People who oppose Kline need to consider that if the clinic had to supply the records they may very well have notified law enforcement that they had a pregnant 13 year old at the clinic that clearly had been raped.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

On the issue of 11 year-old having abortions, I would agree with you Craigers. But his inquisition isn't limited to that. It includes all ages through adulthood, and is targeting not only cases of forced rape and incest, but also consensual sex between two teenagers and his own unique definition of late-term abortions.

There was no reason to go about the search the way he did, and the Court made that absolutely clear.

craigers 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Baille and even though he was wrong in how he went about it I still think that we error too much on the side of privacy that we overlook younger victims being taken advantage of. Kline's way wasn't right but that doesn't mean that full on privacy is either. I am definitely torn on this.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

Senegal,

No one - absolutely no one - has argued that the dad, the aunt or the clinic has any right of privacy in the records. You are getting sucked into the spin. The clinic will still have to supply the records - only they have to be redacted and, in certain case not involving the kind of situation you describe, additional legal foundation must be laid.

The Court has put in place a procedure that protects patients' privacy righst while still allowing the trial court to establish specific probable cause. It is in the opinion, which I recommend everyone read.

Further, in your case, it sounds like the records would show an adult received an abortion. That case would not be identified as a possible incest by anyone - unless you propose every abortion, every delivery, and in fact every known pregnancy is thoroughly reviewed to insure that all pregnant women are over 18 and that their pregnancy was not caused by an illegal act.

For those who are advocating for Kline, be sure you know for what you are advocating. This isn't a popularity contest. Kline put forward an indefensible legal argument, and in the process escaped being held in contempt of court and being referred to the disciplinary committee by the good sense of Bob Stephan.

Bobo Fleming 9 years, 4 months ago

Further, in your case, it sounds like the records would show an adult received an abortion. That case would not be identified as a possible incest by anyone

What I propose is that the clinic be responsible for having eyes and ears and the ability to use both to know the difference between a 13 year old and an 18 year old and call the cops when it has a 13 year old there with an adult asking for an abortion.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"What I propose is that the clinic be responsible for having eyes and ears and the ability to use both to know the difference between a 13 year old and an 18 year old and call the cops when it has a 13 year old there with an adult asking for an abortion."

Sure. I agree. Such a system is already in place. If they failed in this duty, legal advice should be sought. Such a case would definitely pose a challenge for successful resolution, but Kansas has a pretty liberal statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse, and so any claims the former 13 year-old has may still be viable. But these are fact specific questions that must be analyzed by a lawyer.

However, even though it involves issues of mandated reporting, I don't see how your example intersects with the controversy surrounding Kline's inquisition or his untenable stance on mandated reporters.

badger 9 years, 4 months ago

Here's a case I'd like to see the pro-Kline folks answer:

13-year-old arrives at abortion clinic with mother, advises intake nurse that 14-year-old boyfriend is father. In reality, it was 27-year-old neighbor. Mother hates boyfriend, doesn't question his paternal status. Girl gets abortion, AG Kline gets records. Records show that a 13-year-old girl was impregnated by a 14-year-old boy and received an abortion. He has stated that he does not prosecute consensual sex between minors of similar age.

How, exactly, will her medical records help anyone determine abuse? He can't interview the 14-year-old boy, or the girl's friends or teachers, without violating the girl's right to privacy with regard to her medical records. He doesn't know the neighbor exists. He can't interrogate every pregnant teen in the state of Kansas to be sure she wasn't molested. The intake nurse isn't going to put, "I THINK SHE'S LYING!" in big letters at the top of the intake form.

I would love to hear how AG Kline's access to her records, redacted or not, would put her rapist behind bars.

Cases like this are more frequent than you'd think. Abused and molested girls would rather be thought promiscuous with boys of their own age than admit abuse in many cases.

Don't confuse my opposition to his plan with not wanting to protect kids from being molested.

I'd just like protection that, you know, actually works more often than not, and doesn't give you a false sense of security if you're willing to ignore that it can be gotten around by a frightened lie from a teenaged girl.

Centrist 9 years, 4 months ago

You're all missing the point. Where is the smoking gun? Phill Kline didn't have an immediate case that triggered this investigation. He wants to see ALL the records. I happen to know an adult female who had an abortion and she is scared that once the government looks at her LEGAL abortion records, that information will somehow be directed to an anti-abortion group. Yes, they exist, especially in KS. Once that info is out, she might have protesters at her door, yet she has commited NO crime.

Think about it, people. Kline simply DECIDED he wanted to go on this hunt. Who put him up to it, or what points is he trying to score with the Right??? Why was this INITIATED in the first place? Why a retroactive search, through records of women that include those doing nothing wrong?

Let's not stop there. Let's look back at everything anyone has ever done that there is a record for. Perhaps they can prosecute you for simple mistakes from 20 years ago.

Yes, the 'monsters' need to be caught. But also, the clinics need to ask proof of age when a girl comes in and says she's 18 ... this doesn't excuse the Right from probing into records of women who could possibly vote the other way. Yes, VOTE.

Ask those questions ....

Bobo Fleming 9 years, 4 months ago

Sure. I agree. Such a system is already in place. If they failed in this duty, legal advice should be sought.

Such a system is not in place. The Kansas Clinics do not report instances of abuse notwithstanding Kansas Statutes that require the reporting. This is the basis of Klines complaint. I agree he is a showboat and is mucking around looking for a way to get elected again. But the stance of the clinics is making it easy for him. If they reported Kline wouldnt have an issue. So everbody is spinning. Kline spins because he wants to get elected. The clinics spin because they dont want to report. Meanwhile a few times a year, some poor girl who has been raped by her dad or moms boyfriend doesnt get protected because nobody reports it.

Centrist 9 years, 4 months ago

They don't report because of the doctor-patient privilege. And because of "pro-life" people who KILL in the name of God.

That's why ...

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

I know very little about the law, but my assumption would be these subpoenas set a legal precident in which it will be easier for the AG's office to gain access to medical records in general. This is another step in the process to widdle away citizens right to privacy and yet another encroachment on our civil liberties by the extreme right.

Bobo Fleming 9 years, 4 months ago

hey don't report because of the doctor-patient privilege.

Sorry Wrong. Doctors and hospitals, school nurses ect are required under Kansas law to report and do report. Only the abortion clinics dont report.

Centrist 9 years, 4 months ago

It's more a case of privacy and the anti-abortion groups, but they are forced to use a legal excuse, like doctor-patient privilege.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

Senegal,

If a medical provider has a duty to report and they fail in that duty and harm is caused by the failure, the victim has a recourse to legal remedies.

The point here is that Kline's fishing expedition will not identify the situation you described. If the victim is to seek redress for the wrongs done to her, it will have to be carried out trhough the civil justice system.

If the clinics Alpha and Beta are not complying with the law, the office of the AG can figure this out by following the protocols put forth by the Court and prosecute them. The Court's opinion does not make the inquisition any less effective, and it protects the privacy of all of us. The only thing the Court has compromised is Kline's ability to grandstand and put the fear of his Office into the hearts of every pregnant teenager.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 9 years, 4 months ago

Reading back through the transcript from yesterday's chat, it appears that AG Kline didn't really answer any of the questions. He either said that he "couldn't talk about it" because it was currently under investigation, or he tried to redirect away from the question by pointing out the shortcomings of his predecessor.

Judging by the questions posed to him, Kline is not a very popular guy. Personally, I think he's a little too far to the religious right for my tastes.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

If I take my 12 year old doctor for a sore throat and the doctor notices bruises on her. The doctor suspects child abuse. Is the doctor not obligated to report to the proper authorities? Or does this fall under doctor/patient privilege? If this question has already been asked then my apologies.....i've only read the first 10-15 posts.

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

phooey - I agree. My question was answered with that response; it was in regards to supposition vs. substantiated evidence. He cited rights to privacy but I feel he could have given a more concise answer without jeopardizing confidentiality. He was very elusive.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"If I take my 12 year old doctor for a sore throat and the doctor notices bruises on her. The doctor suspects child abuse. Is the doctor not obligated to report to the proper authorities? Or does this fall under doctor/patient privilege? If this question has already been asked then my apologies.....i've only read the first 10-15 posts."

Yep. doctor is a mandated reporter. As are a host of other people that work with children. If the have a resonable basis to suspect abuse, they must report it to the hotline. One of the questions here is defining abuse.

In your example, it is easy. Doctor calls. Teacher calls. Reporters call it in. In a preganant eleven year-old, I would think a call would be warranted for abuse or neglect. However, Kline goes further and says consensual sex between teenagers is inherently harmful within the meaning of the law so that a mandated reporter, be it a social worker, teacher or doctor, must report knowledge of consensual sex between two fifteen year-olds. Each teenager is a victim as well as a perpetrator under Kline's theory. Kline says he won't prosecute the kids, but that does not change the mandated reporting issue. For years (decades) it has been phsyical abuse or mental or emotional trauma causing ascertainable harm that has triggered the mandated reporting laws. Kline's position is a HUGE departure from the previous criteria, and has caused unnecessary anxiety amongst mandated reporters. it is an intrusion by government into a situation where it does not belong.

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

Baille - First of all, very well put! Second I have limited knowledge of the law and you seem to have some expertise. If two 15 years olds engage in consensual intercourse, and it is reported, are both parties held legally accountable. If so, do they face prosecution?

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

I think this arguement is EXTREMELY hypocritical!!

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

allateup - I thing it is extremely short-sighted of you to make that type of allegation and not back it up...or cowardly. It appears to me from your seven word statement that you are apathetic and could care less your personal medical records could potentially be up for grabs.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"If two 15 years olds engage in consensual intercourse, and it is reported, are both parties held legally accountable. If so, do they face prosecution?"

Under Kline's theory they have both caused inherent harm to the other as well as been victimized by the other. Accordingly, both could be prosecuted as sex offenders. Kline has said that neither he nor any prosecutor with whom he has spoken would prosecute such a "crime," but such promises are of no consolation to mandated reporters who would have a duty to report such conduct to the State.

My understanding is SRS screens these out - but I have no idea whether that is true or not or would remain true in the future. I think Kline should rescind his Opinion on the issue.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"I think this arguement is EXTREMELY hypocritical!!"

Ok. Let's talk about it. How so?

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm an ADULT I have nothing to hide. Remember, it is legal to have an abortion?

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

Baille - Could this create a situation in which a watch-list was created for teens having consensual intercourse? Could they potentially be put on a sex-offender list?

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

Well, Ben, I am not sure.

I don't know about any watch list, but I know that SRS flags calls that they screen out and it plays some part in their criteria for screening in reports of abuse, which would trigger an investigation by SRS.

I suppose the teenagers could be put on the sex-offender list because under Kline's theory they are both sex offenders. One would have to research the law that governs the list to know for sure.

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

Allateup - you have to peal away some layers to realize the actual agenda of Phil Kline. It appears his plan creates a slipperery-slope in which it would affect more than just a person having their medical records cracked open. According to what Baille is stating - and I am guessing Baille is an attorney -this issue will impact the lives and careers of many more people than just those whose files are being subpoenaed.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

it just struck me........Baille and ben ness, do you have something you're trying to hide?

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

If in fact, Baille is an attorney, besides this forum, what is he doing to be proactive about it?

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

Allateup - do you always make personal attacks when you realize you are wrong?

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

I have nothing to hide, allateup, except anonymity allows me to be more free in my speech than I can normally be. Why don't you attack my points and not me as a person?

Fact is that I have spent most of my adult helping children hurt by abuse and neglect, and I continue with that dedication into my current profession. Believe it or not - I do not care, but my arguments speak for themselves.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

what am i wrong about? abortion is legal. child molestation and rape are illegal.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

"Fact is that I have spent most of my adult helping children hurt by abuse and neglect, and I continue with that dedication into my current profession."

And it is my believe that AG Kline is trying to do the same.

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

and allateup, yes I do have something to hide, my personal life which is nobodies business but my own and my families. The only hypocrisy I am detecting at this point is your own as I am sure there are things pertaining to your life you don't want others to know about. i.e. Let's just hypothetically say you go to have an abortion and it turns out you have one of the worst cases of genital herpes the doctor has ever seen and it is put in your file. Later your file is subpoenaed for an investigation and your file passes through the hands of half of the AG's office. The next week you are at a party and you happen to meet this great couple, one of which works at the AG's office, you go to introduce yourself and extend your hand and say your name at the same time and the person refuses to shake your hand, whispers something to his/her significant other and they snicker and walk away....is this making any sense to you?

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

ben-ness.....NO!!! Herpes? or Child mosletation? which is more serious? What a bad scenario. One should not even compare the two. I have neither had herpes or an abortion and I can guarantee you neither will EVER happen.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

Very shallow to compare herpes to child molestation

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"And it is my believe that AG Kline is trying to do the same."

Maybe. I think his primary purpose is self-promotion, but I do not doubt his positions are based on principle. The only problem is that there is seemingly very little thoughtful consideration put into his actions. His legal analysis is crap. And his argument that he can skirt the ethical canons of the legal profession because he knows best is without any support.

Look, read the opinion on the records issue and Kline's nearly-contemptable behavior during the process. Then really think through the consequences of his stance on mandated reporters. These are two separate issues for the most part, but I think you will see that I am right on the mandated reporter issues and the Court was correct in its holding regarding the subpoenas.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

AG Kline is human. I do not believe is purpose to be self-promotion. I believe his position is based on principal. Do you know him personally? To make these allegations, you must. As a parent, AG Kine may speak for my children any day!

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

Allateup...it is rather unfortunate that you have stooped so low as to twist my words and thoughts to agree with your agenda. I am also sorry you are so shallow as to imply I am comparing herpes to child molestation. What I am trying to get across to you is if we continue to acquiesce to the intrusion of our civil liberties we lose our individuality and become part of the greater whole.

On another note, herpes is a very serious condition and I see nothing humerous, nor shallow about using it as an example. It is you who should be ashamed for making a mockery of it.

I have to get back to work now. It has been fun debating with you.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

allateup, I think you are wrong about Kline, but that is an opinion that is not so easily debated. We believe what we believe.

I have met Mr. Kline, spoken with him, and even questioned him on these issues. His answers then were even worse than they are now, if that is possible. But of course he has had more practice in diversion and misdirection since then.

Read the transcript of his "chat" yesterday, and show me where he gave a straight answer. Maybe once? Twice?

As a parent, he does not speak for my children. No government official speaks for my children. I do.

As a citizen, he makes me nervous because he seems to think he can skirt the law and nearly (if not in fact) violate professional canons of ethics to further his personal agenda.

Time for me to get back to work as well.

bettie 9 years, 4 months ago

just trying to clear up some questions raised and accusations made in this forum...

abortion providers and all other mandatory reporters are required to report suspected abuse, which is described more thoroughly in one of baille's posts. kline has interpreted the mandatory reporting law in a way that denotes any illegal sexual activity. consexual sex between two 15-year-olds would fall under this category, as the age of consent in kansas is 16. this descrepancy (whether to report all sexual activity among minors or just that which is deemed to be injurious) is currently being argued in a u.s. district court. a decision is due next week.

when kline came out with this opinion, an injunction was filed that prevented enforcement of such a broad reporting law. in the meantime, mandatory reporters have still been required to report suspected abuse.

kline is the only person who has accused the clinics of failure to report. in fact, when the case was made public, law enforcement in overland park and wichita stated that they had made many convictions based on reports from abortion clinics and that they had no reason to believe the clinics were hiding any cases of abuse. (i apologize, but i don't have time to find those articles right now.) senegal, it appears that you have been sucked into the spin.

so, to recap, abortion clinics are required to report suspected abuse and the clinics in question have complied. furthermore, in the many instances when specific records have been subpoenaed in investigations (as opposed to inquisitions), the clinics have complied.

it's important to remember that mandatory reporters call the srs, not law enforcement, when they suspect abuse. srs decides what happens after that. taking srs out of the screening process is a sizable leap from precedent.

(not that any of this matters, since a small minority of the subpoenaed records belonged to minors.)

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

ben-ness......i never said i found anything humorous about herpes. And i still stand with the shallowness to compare that with child molestation. Fortunately there are types of cures for herpes. And fortunately, AG Kline is our type of cure for molestation. And, I must take my child to the doctor. God forbid, the doctor find a bruise!

Touche.....it has been funNY debating with you.

christie 9 years, 4 months ago

I got a question for Kline...

Whatcha gonna do when you lose the next election?

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

One last thing: There is no cure for herpes. If I had children, Phil Kline wouldn't be allowed to get near them. Additionally, nobody would be allowed to speak for them but myself and their mother.

Very well put Bettie.

allateup 9 years, 4 months ago

I will never sell my children out to an adults civil liberties

Jamesaust 9 years, 4 months ago

christie -- good question. I bet you the answer is not: practice law.

glockenspiel 9 years, 4 months ago

I think its strange that when people lose privacy, people make a fuss about, but that's about it. Now when it involves the "abortion" word, all of a sudden people have to get all up in your face about it.

I bet if this had to do with an investigation into broken arms and links to child abuse, it would hardly create a stir.

Is abortion some kind of religion or something?

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

allateup: how about "I won't sell out my children's civil liberties."

Jamesaust 9 years, 4 months ago

One further perspective that may aid some who haven't read the Court's decision, which I would guess is about 999 out of every 1,000 commenters on it:

At the risk of distorting the Court's full explanation, the point this article is founded upon is -- rapists have no right to privacy to cover up their criminal acts. No one disputes this. However, non-rapists do have a right to privacy. I don't believe anyone disputes this either. The AG's inquisition violated the privacy rights of the "non-rapists" as well as the actual non-victim women (and probably the victim women too). So, this inquisition is unconstitutional. The Court sent the matter back down to the local court to determine if an inquisition could be crafted that would be constitutional.

Our Constitution's protections of liberty do NOT protect criminal wrongdoing. What they do is provide procedural safeguards to protect legal, valid activities. The AG's inquisition attempted to get at the wrongdoing by trampling over these safeguards. Indeed, the Court simply balanced the competing, perfectly valid interests of the varies parties; the AG, in contrast, didn't balance anything - he had a valid purpose that trumped ALL else. A person's privacy interest may be breached only when there is a reasonable basis to believe that the individual's property/records/etc. - evaluated by itself - will reveal evidence of a crime.

The comparision example I have given is that of the BTK serial killer in Wichita. Serial killing is about the most extreme criminal act possible. Its deprivation of its victims' rights is total, there are multiple victims, the nature of the serial killer/victim relationship is often tenuous, the killer is almost guaranteed to keep killing. If the authorities were convinced by some evidence that the killer must live in Sedgwick Co. somewhere, would they be justified in searching every house and building in the county, just because of the probabilities of success and that they were 'good people trying to do good things'? I suspect that our "liberal, criminal-coddling" founding fathers might say "NO!" So much more so in this case.

It has been suggested that there is no valid concern that information will leak out because the legal parties involved are professionals. That is not the point: the patient controls her records absent probable cause; government does not have a valid interest in a patient's records without this. It has also been argued that since there is no criminal liability being attached to the patient that the medical provider privilege should not apply. This misunderstands the nature of the privilege, which is founded not on criminal liability but upon privacy of the patient.

Finally, there seems to be a fundamental matter of categorization. A teenager with broken bones, bruises, etc. are medical conditions of sickness. Pregnancy whether leading to birth or abortion is not a medical sickness (indeed, pregnancy is a sign of health).

Linda Endicott 9 years, 4 months ago

There is no cure for herpes...once you have it, you have it for the rest of your life. There are treatments for herpes, to alleviate the symptoms, but the science community recently published that even someone who is not currently having a flare-up of herpes can pass it along to others. There apparently is no medicine that will stop its transmission. And people who have herpes are more susceptible to things like genital warts, which have been linked to cancer, which is a serious thing.

usaschools 9 years, 4 months ago

Once again the unqualified Phill Kline loses in court but, politician that he is, tries to spin it as though he were just a bystander in this drama, not the central instigator.

Kline is not qualified to be the AG. He has been an embarrassment to the state. He is unethical and violates open meeting laws, but since the fox is guarding the hen house he can temporarily claim otherwise. There is no debate about the spirit of the law being broken. Kline's extremist right-wing agenda is defeated in court time again. The exasperating thing is that we DID have another choice when Kline was elected. We could have voted for a well-qualified candidate who was experienced in law enforement, Chris Biggs. Biggs lost because voters did NOT vote based on qualifications, but voted along party lines. NO ONE can reasonably claim that they looked at the qualifications of both candidates and determined Kline was more qualified. He had virtually NO court experience. He barely made it through law school.

I know Biggs personally. I went to high school with him in Manhattan, KS. He is a very moderate person who has the values of KS, where he was raised. He was much more qualified than Kline.

I am glad to see that some who voted for him now realize how poorly he has represented this state.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"GO PHIL KLINE! shut down the meat market abortion clinics."

No one is sticking up for the abortion clinics, gradstudent. Abortion is a terribly harmful medical procedure. The issue is the competence of our AG.

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

That is a fairly stupid comment to come from a grad student.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

A Public Man Must Live in the Present President Harry Truman White House http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4555422

I believe in a moral code based on the Ten Commandments found in the 20th chapter of Exodus, and in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which is the Sermon on the Mount. I believe a man ought to live by those precepts, which, if followed, will enable a man to do right. I don't know whether I have or not, but I have tried.

I believe that the fundamental basis for a happy life with family and friends is to treat others as you would like to be treated, speak truthfully, act honorably and keep commitments to the letter.

In public life I have always believed that right will prevail. It has been my policy to obtain the facts -- all the facts possible -- then to make the decision in the public interest and to carry it out. If the facts justify the decision at the time it is made, it will always be right. A public man should not worry constantly about the verdict of history or what future generations will say about him. He must live in the present; make his decisions for the right on the facts as he sees them and history will take care of itself.

I believe a public man must know the history and background of his state and his nation to enable him to come more nearly to a proper decision in the public interest. In my opinion, a man in public life must think always of the public welfare. He must be careful not to mix his private and personal interests with his public actions.

The ethics of a public man must be unimpeachable. He must learn to reject unwise or imprudent requests from friends and associates without losing their friendship or loyalty. I believe that our Bill of Rights must be implemented in fact; that it is the duty of every government -- state, local or federal -- to preserve the rights of the individual.

I believe that a civil rights program, as we must practice it today, involves not so much the protection of the people against the government, but the protection of the people by the government. And for this reason we must make the federal government a friendly, vigilant defender of the rights and equalities of all Americans; and that every man should be free to live his life as he wishes. He should be limited only by his responsibility to his fellow man.

I believe that we should remove the last barriers which stand between millions of our people and their birthright. There can be no justifiable reason for discrimination because of ancestry, or religion, or race, or color.

I believe that to inspire the people of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy, and to restore hope to those who have already lost their civil liberties, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our own democracy.

We know the way -- we only need the will.

ben_ness 9 years, 4 months ago

just the facts: and your point is? This could be interpreted to be biased towards either side of the argument.

wheremyshoes 9 years, 4 months ago

A 34 year old woman walks into a clinic for an abortion. She sites a one night stand as the cause for her pregnancy (does a woman even have to reveal her suiter?) and gets an abortion. In reality, she was impregnated by a 14 year old boy. The boy next door. Considering this possibility, would the AG then have to look at every abortion medical record regardless of the woman's age? Also, if Roe v Wade is overturned, what will happen at that point to AG investigative powers over medical records? Will the AG then look at all pregnancy medical records for evidence of rape? What then? Where does justice go at that point? This may all sound outlandish, and perhaps my ideas are poorly presented. I guess my point is that Kline seems to be taking a shoehorn approach to justice. Lets just round em up and take care of the problem once-and-for-all. Isn't this how the North Koreans do things? Stalin did this. So did Hitler. Summary justice is un-American.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

That is precisely the point.

Just as this lovely quote can be taken to - out of context - as support for any side that wants to co-opt it, so can the few actual facts known or believed by people be turned into support for whatever views they have already decided upon.

The number of errors in factual statements - not opinions - boggles the mind. And no one seems to notice or care.

So few situations are really understood to their fullest or in depth. And so few people really want to take the time it takes to discover and understand enough information to form opinions based upon sound evidence.

Rather, short attention spans, preconcieved outcomes, and personal bias combine to create an atmosphere where civil dialogue becomes increasingly rare and hate and paranoia become the norm.

Just as Truman and other before and after him learned (or knew), few human beings are always perfect or correct. There will always be people who are in power, who want power, or who criticize thoe perceived to have power. And there will always be plenty of people who like to criticize, but will do nothing more to bring about the changes they want to see made.

At its core, the two (yes TWO) cases that are being confused/combined into one, could be solved and resolved quite simply by those who object to the current AG's position in them: For those who so object, whether you understand all the nuances of the two cases or not - it is simple - Go to your state lawmakers. Ask them to change current laws relating to the prohibtions concerning sex with children and/or the mandatory reporting of child abuse (by doctors, teachers, etc). One or both of those changes would take away any grey room for argument and make clear the black and white outcomes you desire.

wheremyshoes 9 years, 4 months ago

justthefacts-- We all make assumptions and have bias, even the AG. Yes, we can try to change the law, but what happens when the power elite are no longer subject to it? Power is so good.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"For those who so object, whether you understand all the nuances of the two cases or not - it is simple - Go to your state lawmakers. Ask them to change current laws relating to the prohibtions concerning sex with children and/or the mandatory reporting of child abuse (by doctors, teachers, etc). One or both of those changes would take away any grey room for argument and make clear the black and white outcomes you desire."

The law for mandated reporters was and is fine the way it is. So is the law regarding sex between minors so long as "harm" is defined as physical harm and/or psychological trauma. There is an element of intent under that interpretation, which was the way the law was regarded until Kline came along. Now Kline has this new theory and interpretation of harm that is ridiculous and it is screwing up a system that was working.

Kline's position seeks to take away the flexibility and teh room for thoughtful discretion, and in its place impose the black-and-white, draconian view you seemingly attribute to those who do not agree with his position. Lobbying the legislature for change is not the answer. Booting Kline is.

Applied_Logic 9 years, 4 months ago

First, when did abortion clinics quit requiring ID? These 'hypothetical situations' have a major flaw. If no ID is required than there is no proof the name on the paperwork stored is valid. If a female doesn't have to provide proof of age/name etc then why would they use the truth, especially if it is a child getting an illegal abortion.

Second, young girls especially, get in depth questioning because Family Planning clinics are looking out for them. Parents have a great deal of sway on their children and family planning pushes alternatives to abortion because they know the emotional damage.

Third, whenever anything produces a 'broad range' law it can be twisted and interpreted for uses it wasn't originally intended for.

Finally, molestation is wrong, no one disagrees with that. Why doesn't the victim tell a school nurse, counselor anybody? That is the ultimate question. Kline's inquisition, good name for it, should be stopped. He's the AG, above all else he should uphold the law or use his position to change it before he attempts to enact the changes he seeks.

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

"Why doesn't the victim tell a school nurse, counselor anybody?"

Children who are being abused are confused about what is right and what is wrong, who is their friend or their foe. They are afraid. They may think that they are the ones who have done something wrong. And they may even think that what is happening to them is normal.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

The current laws make it mandatory for specific professionals (teachers, doctors, nurses, etc) to report suspected child abuse.

The current laws make it against the law to have sex with a child - especially serious if the child is under the age of 16.

Ergo - a pregnant child is de facto evidence of child abuse by someone. If the someone is another child, or the result of truly consensual sex (which begs the question - can a 14 year old girl ever give informed consent to such relationships?) - the child welfare investigators usually call it a day.

Most doctors, teachers and nurses know about these two laws, and their intersection, and have been reporting the pregnancies to the child welfare authorities so some degree of investigation can be done to make sure that the pregnancy is not the result of incest, rape, etc. If the child welfare authorities believe there was no child abuse, that is the end of it usually. The prosecutor doesn't even hear about the situation.

If anyone believes that a doctor should not be required to report child pregnancies so that the child welfare authorities can determine the circumstances leading to that situation, then get the laws changed. Make the reporting laws not apply to such situations or persons. Allow doctors to take the word of a scared 13 year old who says her boyfriend did it - without doing a home study and finding out about mom's scarey new boyfriend....

If the currrent Kansas laws require reports of child abuse by doctors, etc., and if the laws say that having sex with a child is against the law, what law is Kline not upholding?

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

You are confusing the two issues and their intersection.

The old interpretation was that mandated reporters had discretion over what to report. If they knew of consensual sex between two fisteen year-olds, they could handle it in a variety of ways. Under Kline's view, they have to turn it over to SRS and/or law enforcement. Under both the former, reasonable interpretation and Kline's unreasonable interpretation, a mandtaed reporter (including doctors) must turn in cases of suspected abuse where there is physical harm and/or emotional trauma. Your example of "If anyone believes that a doctor should not be required to report child pregnancies so that the child welfare authorities can determine the circumstances leading to that situation..." is a nonsensical strawman argument and has no bearing on the issues raised.

A pregnant child is NOT evidence of abuse by someone unless the someone is unreasonably older or the conception was done without the consent of one of the parties. Certainly a 14 year-old can consent to have sex. They do it all the time with other 14 and 15 year-olds. Sometimes they consent with even older kids or even adults, and where statutory rape comes into play. There may be consent in a statutory rape case, but consent is NOT a legal defense and cannot be used to shield the older party.

Most mandated reporters know about these laws and their interpretation, that is why there is so much concern. Where before a mandated reporter was not "required" to report knowledge of consensual sex between minors to SRS except when physical harm or emotional trauma resulted (or, in other words, when the reporter had reason to suspect abuse) now the reporters must report ALL such cases. Under Kline's theory the children having sex are both offender and victim. He says he won't prosecute the children, but the concern is that in his zeal to further his personal agenda and raise his political profile he will prosecute the REPORTER who uses discretion and actually counsels the children rather than turning them over to the authorities.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

"Your example of "If anyone believes that a doctor should not be required to report child pregnancies so that the child welfare authorities can determine the circumstances leading to that situation..." is a nonsensical strawman argument and has no bearing on the issues raised.

A pregnant child is NOT evidence of abuse by someone unless the someone is unreasonably older or the conception was done without the consent of one of the parties."

Ah- now we get to it -

So, a doctor, teacher, nurse etc. KNOWS who the father is - whether it's a 14 year old boy or a 38 year old neighbor -.... How? Because the pregnant CHILD told them? And we know they tell the truth, right? A pregnant 14 year old by the 38 year old neighbor will not have been told to lie. Will not be scared to tell the truth. Right?

Who is better able to determine if abuse has taken place - a teacher, nurse, doctor trained to do other things, or a social worker or law enforcement officer or both - who have been trained to dectect abuse and lies?

The mandatory reporting law requires reports of suspected abuse.

The child sex laws criminalize having sex with children.

If those required to report suspected child abuse think they are in a better position to know the truth of who got the girl pregnant, then by all means, let them take the lead and make the call. And we can fire a lot of social workers who were trained to look into such things. And if the interpretation by Kline (and by Nola Fulston, the Democrat DA in Sedgwick county) are wrong - then let the lawmakers fix it so it is clear they are wrong.

Simple enough.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

Now we get to what? My points were made clear long before this, and you still don't seem to get it.

Under Kline's view, mandated reporters are required to report to 15 year-olds having sex. Not just when the girl gets pregnant. A Lewinsky will get you turned over to SRS under his theory. This assumption of inherent harm rising to the level requiring SRS and/or law enforcement intervention is Big Brother gone bad. These issues are inherently personal and best taken up by the child's family and the responsible adults (one of which must be a mandated reporter to even bring this hypethetical kid into the discussion). Of course, this is not true if one of the adults is the Lewinskyee. But then that wouldn't fit the example I have given, would it?

I know what the mandated reporting laws require, but there are two questions that Kline's position raises: (1) What is harm? and (2) What is a reasonable basis on which a reporter can base a suspicion?

The first is where he fails. He says "any" sex between our 15 year-olds is harmful, and therefore each child is a sex offender. This hamstrings the second question since it never gets asked. EVERYTHING is reported to SRS. There is no professional discretion. There is no judgment. There is only authoritarian inflexibility and a lot of betrayed kids who no longer have a professional adult in which they can confide.

On the other hand, if the mandated reporter knows of a pregnant 14 year-old, the reporter may have a duty to inquire into the origin of the pregnancy. But that depends. If the child is receiving family therapy and the therapist has no reason to think that the child is a victim of abuse (old style definition) then why should she betray the family's trust to intitiate an investigation? On the other hand, maybe an ob/gyns and abortion provider would have such a duty, but there must also be a basis to suspect abuse has occured. Indiscriminate reporting of all pregnant minors absent a good faith basis on which to believe abuse has occurred (not the Kline abuse since that is "inherent" in these situations) is the rule, then we will see a lot less minors getting prenatal care. Which is great! One can't have too many dead or premature babies, huh?

Look, if the medical provider develops a suspicion of abuse, whether it be based on a sketchy answer to an outright question or some other clanging fact, then so be it. Mandated reporters enjoy a degree of civil immunity to reports, and such reports should be made. As a matter of fact they are being made now and were being made before Kline ever turned his nearly-legal reasoning to the issue. But requiring Reporters to report minors who engage in consensual sex without such a basis is nonsense.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

And I do not know where you get this idea that law enforcement officers are "trained to detect lies and abuse." That is simply not true. There may be advanced training in these areas, but it is certainly not part of their required training and I have never encountered any leo who has received such training.

Same with social workers. Outside of clinical social workers, including MSWs, and trained SRS investigators, there is no special training that BSWs undergo to teach them to "detect abuse and lies."

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

He says "any" sex between our 15 year-olds is harmful, and therefore each child is a sex offender.

The state legislature said sex with a 15 year old is harmful, when they passed laws prohibiting it. The state legislature is therefore who has said, en masse, that sex with teens is harmful to them and to society. Else why this law?

LEO's detect liars better then most people do - and are better at digging out the true story, despite attempts to hide it. That is why they call them detectives in some cases. As good as a specific individual nurse, teacher or doctor may be in detecting lies told by teens, the skill sets needed to detect abuse are not part of their core curriculum, as it is with social workers and/or officers of the law. If social workers are not trained to spot child abuse, then why in the name of all that is right, are they vested with the duty to do such investigations...

I believe that is their job - to investigate whether abuse is going on. Is that not correct? And if it is, then why not let them do it!? And if it isn't, then why are they holding themselves out as the agency that looks into homes in order to determine if a child should be removed or not?

Theory versus experience may explain some of it. As much as I may know the theory of a topic, I will not always know how to do the thing, unless I have had to do it before (and often).

Medical providers provide medical care. That is what they are trained and expected to do. How much training do they get, in between all the medical lessons, on how to tell when a 13 year old is having sex with another 13 year old versus a grown man? Who are we protecting, the teen or her grown lover, in not looking into the situation just to make sure that when she says "Oh it's my boyfriend, he's 15" she is not covering up for the 38 year old step-dad? How much harm is going to be done to her by doing that? Yes, it may mean that some kids will not see a doctor at all, if they know their abuser is likely to be caught. But since they're already living in hell, should we condemn all girls to the same hell because we don't want to put a stop to the abuse when we can?

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

As anyone who has dealt with such girls can tell you, they are good at hiding the true story, even from themselves, let alone a parent or other adults.

Look, those who think that doctors should not be required to alert child abuse authorities of pregnant teens may be right. However, until/unless the laws of the state get changed - with or without Kline in office - there will be those (like Nola Fulston) who agree with his stance and insist upon it. So change the darn laws and/or quit complaining with the top law enforcement official of the state enforces the law in a way you do not like or agree with!

If you think he is wrong, and the courts do not agree with you (we will all know soon), then the only new approach to policy issues like this will be to go through the policy makers. Because until the laws get changed, any county/district attorney who sees things the way Kline does can and will enforce these laws in the same way.

So..... If the people of Kansas believe that doctors and other mandated reporters are in the best/better position to determine if child abuse is going on (rather than social workers or LEO - for the uninitiated that is Law Enforcement Officers), then the once and for all answer is to get current laws changed to reflect that policy.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

"The state legislature said sex with a 15 year old is harmful, when they passed laws prohibiting it. The state legislature is therefore who has said, en masse, that sex with teens is harmful to them and to society. "

No it didn't. That has never been "the law" until Kline came in and reinterpreted harm. Have you read the statute and his written opinion? It is his "interpretation" of the law that is the problem, not the law itself.

I know he is wrong on the mandated reporter issue, but it won't be decided by the courts anytime soon. As far as I know there is no current case or controversy - just a lot of fear and needless anxiety. This issue is different - albeit related - to Kline's latest slap-down by the Court.

By the way mandated reporters don't determine wheter abuse has occurred. They simply must determine whether they suspect it. If they suspect it, they must report it. The primary issue raised by Kline's opinion is the defininition of harm - as has been pointed out ad nauseum.

SRS is well equipped to investigate suspected abuse, but that begs the question of when one has a reasonable basis to suspect abuse. Kline has done away with discretion by re-interpreting law.

You keep raising the spectre of the abused teen and the abusive step-father. The teen keeps getting younger and the hypotheticals more graphic - but each time you miss the point. The issue is not one of concealed abuse or lying teens. It is one of a mandated reporter having to report KNOWN consensual sex between teenagers - as in one of the teens told, the reporter caught them red-handed if you will, or something more. If there is a case where a mandated reporter has reason to believe abuse is occuring they must report. In each of the hypotheticals you raise, we do not have enough facts to make a determination on whether there exists enough facts to support such a basis. This issue is necessarily fact specific and must be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Kline look sto impose a T/F switch for where learned discretion and common sense should be applied, but such mindless simplicity is not the law. Nor should it be.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

Having sex with a child under the age of 14 is rape, in every case, as Kansas law now stands - see K.S.A. 21-3502 at www.kslegislature.org Thus, the Kansas legislature HAS declared it against the law to have sex with children (there is a similar statute for under the age of 16, but as most prosecutors will tell you, that is not enforced nearly as much because of the number of teens engaging in sex by that age). So, does KSA 21-3502 not mean what it says? Was it not passed by the Kansas law makers?

The issues are fact specific, as you say. But who does or should investigates possible rapes of children, a doctor or a social worker or a cop ? When is it KNOWN consensual sex between teenagers - when she says so? When her parents agree? How many times do you think the parents know the whole story? How many times do you think a pregnant teen is into denial mode? Especically the very young ones?

As you point out "By the way mandated reporters don't determine wheter abuse has occurred. They simply must determine whether they suspect it. If they suspect it, they must report it. The primary issue raised by Kline's opinion is the defininition of harm - as has been pointed out ad nauseum...."

Kline's definition of harm..... Harm as in a pregnant teenager? What about the laws on the books now that say it is against the law to have sex with underage children? Is that not the lawmakers of the state saying that it is harmful? How can you ignore the policy statements already present in state law? The policies that declared having sex with children is harmful to them?

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

So follow the logic here - (and yes, I have read both AG opinions and the court opinion)

  1. State lawmakers pass a law 21-3205 (in 1969) that says having sex with girls/boys under the age of 14 is against the law - it is rape. And there are similar laws for minors older then that.

  2. State lawmakers require suspected abuse to be reported by specific professionals (among them doctors).

  3. 14 year old turns up pregnant.

  4. By law someone has committed statutory rape. Could be another 14 year old, could be that 38 year old step dad. Doctor is told it is the 14 year old boyfriend.

  5. Should doctor suspect rape? Of course he should - by law having sex with someone that age is rape. So it is per se rape to have sex with a child of that age.

  6. Is rape harmful to a child? The lawmakers sure thought so when they passed that law.

In your interpretation, rape is not harmful? Or we leave it up to the doctor to decide if the rape harmed the child?

If we do not like the statutory rape laws, or the mandatory reporting of suspected abuse laws, I say one more time - get the laws changed.

AS you note, the Kansas courts are not often called upon to pass judgement on an opinion - no case in controversy. That does not mean the ACLU and doctors in question will not persuade one district court judge to the contrary. However, as you appear to also know, one district court judge's ruling is not binding on the other district courts in the state.

Thus, one more time (sing it with me chorus) if you do not like the two laws - separately or together - and/or how they are being read - TALK TO YOUR LAWMAKERS and ask them to change the laws. The lawmakers have the power to make it all go away.

Or you may find that the majority of Kansas lawmakers ike the way Kline and Fulston are interpretting and applying the laws. In that case, your next step is to replace not only the AG but the state lawmakers.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

http://www.kscourts.org/kscases/supct/2006/20060203/93383.htm For those who want to actually read the case

http://www.kscourts.org/ksag/opinions/2003/2003-017.htm is the link the AG opinion at issue

Read both of them all the way through and then decide for yourselves.... Just the Facts

bettie 9 years, 4 months ago

baille - just wanted to say i'm happy you're here.

Baille 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks.

I think I am giving up on justthefacts, though. She keeps arguing a different hypothetical from the one I am most interested in.

For the record, someone turns up pregnant under 14 and there are additional facts to support a reasonable suspicion of abuse, then a mandated a reporter must report it.

On the other hand, if a mandated reporter knows of two kids having sex, they should have discretion. Just because Ben and Sally are fooling around too young doesn't mean there is inherent harm and doesn't mean we call in the long arm of Phill Kline to pay counselor. Or SRS. Or Officer Khattib. Or anyone else. Kline disagrees. He is wrong.

If Ben is 8 and Sally is 6. Then we have a basis and duty to report. However, in the case of my two 15 year-olds, I don't think Sally raped Ben because they pulled a Lewinski behind Free State. I don't care if Ben and Sally get pregnant. That is not justification for a mandated report. That was never the interpretation of the law since its inception - until Kline.

The man has an agenda, and he is not afraid to abandon common sense to see it through.

Well you are at the internet research, jtf, look at Stephan's opinion on the same issue.

Linda Endicott 9 years, 4 months ago

Here's one for you all to think about...

I work with developmentally disabled adults...I am a mandated reporter of abuse...I have definitely been trained to report abuse...but I have never been trained as to what, exactly, constitutes abuse. I have, however, discovered on my own some of the things that the state considers abuse...and while it may be a little off-topic, if a DD adult asks for a PB and jelly sandwich, and you forget the jelly, they can claim you abused them...and the state will take their report...you get a reprimand.

Of course, I don't usually have to deal with underage sex...but the possibility is there, since DD adults don't often pay much attention to age. Since I work with DD adults...if a DD adult is found to have had sex with a person under 16, would they be held liable?

I really doubt they would...

There is biological age, and then there is psychological age...and you don't have to be DD in order for this to apply. I have seen 12-year-olds with the maturity of a 30-year-old...and vice versa...

And we all know about cases where a teenage girl was mad at her teacher, or doctor or whomever, because she had a crush and her advances were rebuked...and so she claimed the teacher, doctor, whomever, had had sex with her...and then later recanted.

Teenagers are always believed when they claim sexual abuse has occurred...and later, when it's discovered that they lied, how do you rebuild the lives of those that were unjustly accused?

Yes, rape of children under a certain age occurs...physical abuse occurs...physical abuse is easier to distinguish. I defy any doctor or teacher, in a 15 minute visit, to determine whether psychological abuse has happened.

There is no black and white with this issue, which I believe is what most of the posters have been trying to say.

Laws always try to put black and white constraints on issues, and it can't be done. You should go on a case by case basis.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.