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California

CA: State court revives psychotherapist challenge to law on patients who reveal child porn activity

[sfchronicle.com – 12/26/19]

The California Supreme Court revived a challenge by psychotherapists Thursday to a state law requiring them to notify the government about any patient who has viewed child pornography.

The law, passed in 2014, expanded statutes from the 1980s that required therapists to report to police or child welfare offices — or face loss of their licenses and criminal prosecution — when a patient has produced, distributed or duplicated images of juveniles engaged in sexual activity. The new law extended the requirement to patients who downloaded or viewed those images.

While viewing child pornography is a crime, under a state law not challenged in Thursday’s case, the therapists argued that mandatory reporting would invade their patients’ privacy and thwart efforts to counsel and treat them.

Lower courts dismissed their suit, saying California’s constitutional right to privacy does not protect either the viewing of child pornography or discussing such illegal conduct with therapists. But a closely divided state Supreme Court reinstated the suit and said the therapists could try to prove the reporting requirement would interfere with the patients’ treatment.

The law affects a “legally protected privacy interest,” the right to make statements during therapy without fear of public disclosure, Justice Goodwin Liu said in the 4-3 decision. Therapists must report communications that reveal threats or dangers to the public, he said, but privacy can still protect “voluntary psychotherapy to treat sexual disorders,” even when the patient admits criminal conduct.

The patients’ revelations “concern the most intimate aspects of human thought and behavior however noxious or depraved,” Liu said. If the therapists can show, for example, that the reporting requirement does little to protect children from sexual abuse, and may even undermine it by preventing treatment, the law must be ruled unconstitutional, he said.

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  1. Steve D

    Pathetically, the Chief Justice is still quoting the “Children depicted in child pornography are re-victimized every time the content is accessed” nonsense. That belongs in the same bin with “frightening and high.”

    • Re-victimization

      No, it isn’t nonsense, and I totally get what they’re saying. In fact, it DOES re-victimize them. I say this because I have severe PTSD from what happened in my case especially since it was in the news. I’m not on the public registry and I have an expunged misdemeanor, but that doesn’t really matter. The news articles are still on the internet.

      Now here is where I find the ridiculousness. Why do the authorities have to tell these victims that someone viewed the content? It’s their informing them that is causing the re-victimization not the pictures themselves. I know the articles about me are out there, but I don’t go looking for them and I function just fine. However, whenever someone mentions it or says they’ve seen those articles , I am brought right back to that point in my life 10 years ago when I felt suicidal. I get severe anxiety that I’m unable to function. So I believe it when a victim says they feel re-victimized by it. But it’s the authorities and victim advocates that need to stop ripping off that scab.

      • Steve D

        Really? Does watching the video of airplanes flying into the Towers revictimize those killed, injured, or otherwise disabled by the 9-11 attacks? Those victimized by the attacks have no way of knowing if I watch the video or not. How are victims of any crime magically re-injured by someone they don’t know, who never will know them, viewing the evidence at a distance?

        • SR

          You glossed over his explanation. It’s the victims finding out about the viewing that re-victimizes them. And they find out about it when the government sends them a notice that someone was arrested and their images was among the findings (one prominent victim had to sue to the government to stop them from sending her these notices, which were constant). So yeah, if you watch the 9/11 videos and then tell a 9/11 victim about it, you are re-victimizing them.

        • R M

          I think maybe the confusion between victim and offender is confused.

          ” I say this because I have severe PTSD from what happened in my case especially since it was in the news. I’m not on the public registry and I have an expunged misdemeanor, but that doesn’t really matter. The news articles are still on the internet.” I’m not on the public registry refers to a offender.

          “In fact, it DOES re-victimize them.”

          Which is it? Yes, I know PTSD affects offenders too. I am one.

        • R M

          The past and, I specifically mention Vietnam as my dad was there, have no way of knowing if I watch the videos or not. I also have put my life in jeopardy for this country (look up Operation Ivy Bells). Why? Young and ignorant comes to mind.
          “How are victims of any crime magically re-injured by someone they don’t know, who never will know them, viewing the evidence at a distance?” Those people CHOOSE to be re-victimized (not victimized… ). No one forces them to look to google, etc. Did their offender knock on their door, email them, contact them in any manner?

        • @RM

          Which is it? It’s both. I was factually the victim, but OC charged me as the offender since they believe 17 year olds don’t violate adults.

        • @Steve D

          You completely missed the point. Your argument is now moot. And I will have to agree with Matthew; that you find excuses to dismiss how these victims feel.

          I’ve been reading this site since it was CA-RSOL and there are certainly some registrants who post here who really are that bad and justify why the U.S. thinks it needs a list. Steve D is among them.

        • R M

          Apparently there are two R M ‘s posting.

      • Bo

        Tell me, how many times, exactly, have people viewed your articles?

      • AJ

        @Re-victimization
        “It’s their informing them that is causing the re-victimization not the pictures themselves.”
        —–
        Bingo! It’s being TOLD about it, not the act itself, that causes the problem for you and others. The act introduces the potential.

        • R M

          @AJ: Agreed. I’m guessing all people have skeletons in their closet. I do. As humans we tend to live for today. We tend to not worry about tomorrow. We also tend to not care about 100 years from now as we will all die within that period.

          We humans have to live. Those who have committed crimes have to live. Anyone’s thoughts should not be criminal for them or those disclosed too. Thoughts aren’t offenses.

          My brain, not AI yet, encompasses my entire body (just as most people’s do).

    • Matthew

      Yes, they are re victimized each time. What kind of nonsense and excuses do you come up with that they aren’t?
      Kids are literally being harmed and you think its nonsense that they aren’t being victimized each time? You need to seek help asap

      • Don’t tread on me

        Horse shit! Revictimized my butt. I worked in emergency medicine for 25 years. We used photos of crime victims for case studies. Nobody ever said or believed we were revictimizing anyone. It is an extreme hypothetical idea. The point was made that until the government notified the victims, no harm was done and that is a fact. Police use crime scene photos and videos to teach police officers. Once again…no revictimization. It’s nothing but an excuse to load the registry with individuals that don’t meet the delusional puritanical standards set by a bunch of hypocrites. Cops pass photos of crime scenes around via text for their own personal amusement. They all can kiss my fat azz

        • David

          What if big brother decided to notify us each day of how many people had viewed our profile on the Registry that day? I certainly WOULDN’T want to know! That would simply be re-punishing us every day and destroying any attempt we may make to get on with our lives. What if, for whatever bizarre reason, the authorities were to notify every victim of domestic violence every time another such an incident occurred in their region? Wouldn’t that be clearly subjecting them to repeated trauma by reminding them of the incident they had themselves suffered? What justification could there be for that? So why, in God’s name, would you repeatedly notify and remind a child pornography victim of the incident they had once suffered?
          That seems intentional cruelty to me.

          (I am sincerely curious what the intention of such notification would be.)

        • R M

          @David: “What if big brother decided to notify us each day of how many people had viewed our profile on the Registry that day?” You might not want to know but you could find out.

          Back to victimization… they only know if they’re informed.

      • Joe123

        Relax, not every 13 year old engaging in sex with someone the same age or older is a “victim”. You’ve been living in the United States a bit too long buddy. Let’s not Completely lose Common Sense.

        People from outside of the US laugh at these asinine laws. Not everything in this country is about a “Victim” and a “Offender”. Putting the videos out there or images and receiving government notices, THAT is the real harassment, which is why some victims have Sued the Govt to stop the notices.

        Think for Yourself. The world isn’t as Black and White as American US propoganda would have you always believe.

      • ab

        As someone who was actually convicted of possession of child pornography and thus has seen it, I can tell you the question of revictimization is far more complicated than law enforcement or victim advocates will admit. Firstly everyone needs to understand that under federal law and I believe the laws in each state treat anyone under eighteen as a child where pornography is concerned. There’s a massive difference between two seventeen year olds sharing overly suggestive or sexual explicit content (defined legally in the broadest sense possible) and a video showing the violent rape of a five year old. Under the law both are child pornography and all the minors are automatically victims regardless of if the seventeen year olds can consent to have sex with each other. Let’s not forget the ages of consent in other countries and what may or may not be defined as child pornography in those places. Two fourteen year olds might legally be able to share images and videos of themselves with each other in a European country, let’s say one of them sends a picture to a sixteen year old in the United States. That sixteen year old just broke federal law for receiving child pornography and if the picture is downloaded that adds on a possession charge. Say the sixteen year old takes a picture and sends it to the fourteen year old in Europe. The possible charges at minimum are production of child pornography, possession of child pornography (yes minors under eighteen can be prosecuted for possessing content of themselves making them both the “victim” and “perpetrator” simultaneously), and distribution of child pornography. Additionally a lot of material exists that was produced and sold completely legally in other countries at various times. Generally it does not involve sexual activity, but simply full nudity. Today much of these materials are considered child pornography despite that during production and for decades thereafter no one involved was categorized as or called themselves a victim. So before anyone attempts to cast this as a black or white issue think again because the entire spectrum of possibilities makes things more nuanced .

      • R M

        Matthew, the “victims” could go on and live their lives anonymously and without reminders IF they chose to. “[T]hey are NOT re victimized each time”.

        • Matthew

          You guys are sick if you do not think like that. You guys more treatment and your examples show why you are on this site in the first place. These are kids regardless.
          Comparing crime scene photos to porn is stupid. One is a lesson on what one can expect to improve their skills and the other is so they can get off. This thinking is why we have a registry. Yet you guys cry about the registry and someone using it against you, what if you as a kid were victim. Wouldnt you wonder how people see you, think of you, and wonder why thoughts wont go away? Yet again selfish thinking. Go back to therapy and talk to victims, you need it

      • wonderin

        @Matthew
        I imagine the insensitive officials who justify their reasons to notify ‘victims’ are the ones who need therapy, ASAP. Believe it or not some of these victims suffer from guilt and it’s cruel to remind them of those feelings.
        Even young children can be stimulated and feel they did something wrong. They need the time and the distance to mature into a flourishing survivors.

  2. Harry

    It’s been said, “That confession is good for the soul” and if a person goes to a professional and tells them “That he/she needs help with sexual attraction of children” that would provide a great protection of children and it would seem, that the LE and victims advocates would encourage it and by asking for help should come perks like, not going to jail because of the confession?

    • norman

      then you would deny the arresting officer and d.a. of an easy felony conviction..(which we all know is good for their career)

      • Harry

        Sadly true and well said, Norman.

        • Jim

          Dont they have a special website for VICTIM ADVOCACY !
          WHATS BEING TALKED ABOUT HERE …HAS CULTURE AND LAWS AND RULERS…!
          ITS wise to focus on HELPING YOUR FELLOW MAN…STOP WORRYING ABOUT VICTIMS AND START FOCUSING ON PROTECTING YOUR FELLOW MAN WHO IS OPPRESSED AND NEEDS SUPPORT LIKE ALLLLL THE WOMEN HAVE !!!
          Alllllll the Victims and all the Crimes are not THE ANSWER TO OUR PROBLEMS and getting into alllll THAT ….is not going to HELP US HERE !!!
          THE PROBLEM IS CARRING about your brothers and the answers you are LOOKING FOR ….Well…Honestly many of you are not Ready to hear !!
          Enjoy your day and take care of each other !

  3. David

    Charity begins at home.

    • R

      @David: “Charity begins at home.” That comment in itself envelopes 90% of new sex crimes. Yes, the legal definition of charity doesn’t equal a sex offense. The concept of charity at home does… 90+% of new sex crimes occur at home.

  4. David

    ACSOL is primarily focused on protecting the rights of those individuals (and the family members and friends) of those previously convicted a sexual offences. And by fighting for those rights there’s a good chance that we are protecting future generations of our fellow human beings.
    To paraphrase the politicians, if we can keep just one other country from instituting public sex offender registries, we will have made a difference.

    • R M

      @David: “To paraphrase the politicians, if we can keep just one other country from instituting public sex offender registries, we will have made a difference.” Which country said that?

  5. Jojo

    Remember this saying …
    One is only poor if they choose to be !!!
    Its hard to say things like this when people go through abuses, but never the less ..
    ONE IS A VICTIM, OR CONTINUES TO BE A VICTIM ONLY IF ONE CHOOSES TO BE !
    OF COURSE THAT DOES NOT MEAN STAY WHERE ABUSE IS OCCURING ! BUT, WE LIVE IN A VICTIM HOOD, TUUSHEE WHIPPED SOCIETY !
    Have a great day !

  6. AERO1

    I dont care if your a doctor/psychologists or therapist if a grown ass man or woman tells you some crazy shiit like they watch child porn you should notify law enforcement ASAP and I don’t care if it’s a professional setting and there trying to seek help
    Anybody who watched or watches child porn got some serious issues and should be removed from society immediately and to anyone who’s in a group counseling session and someone confesses something crazy like that I think every adult in the room should notify law enforcement of that person’s Behavior immediately

    • Joe123

      I am curious, why are you not as outraged between two homosexuals engaging in sex acts, yet you are “so outraged” at teenagers having sex? Are you OK? Have you ever been younger than 18, or did you just discover what sex means after age 18?

      So let me get this ‘straight’: Society has driven into your head that two guys having sex with each other is GREAT and Natural, but someone under age 18 engaging in sex is “worse than murder”? If that is any indication of how you think then you are a contributor to the reason the United States is so screwed up with its laws and why so much damage is done to families. You should refrain from Voting while you’re at it.

      The point of this question above ^ is to show you how you think. Apparently, viewing one thing is OK and is strongly encouraged (homosexuality, gay sex etc, while viewing another is never OK under any circumstances whatsoever even if no harm was actually caused. GOT IT.

      Also, consider to permanently stop viewing anything related to 9/11 scenes of the buildings because you are re-murdering the people who had been murdered, which is worse than any sex act. This is according to your own logic of course.

    • Will Allen

      Nope. LE and the criminal regimes that employ them have proven beyond any doubt that they cannot be trusted to be moral or do what is right. So they should never be informed of anything. As long as Registries exist, there will be harm.

      Only corrupt, criminal regimes have $EX Offender Registries.

  7. Travis

    Well, your wrong and God knows your wrong, you do not destroy peoples lives based off whats Not your business…!
    The Boss doesnt need to know everything…
    The Gov doesnt need to know everything…
    The Law doesnt need to know everything…
    In your mind it always leads to more bad things/crimes etc.
    Thats why PROPER AVENUES !
    ARE AFFORDED TO PEOPLE TO RESOLVE, DEAL WITH AND OVER COME THEIR ISSUES WITHOUT PUNISHMENT OR RETALIATION, DICTATORSHIP ..You are bordering on Extreamism, Tyranny and Do Not Understand Having Faith in Mans Ways Is Not The Answer to All Our Problems !
    There are a Hell of alot more Disturbing things to Worry about !
    REMEMBER,,,, WE DO NOT HAVE A PRE-CRIME UNIT IN THE U.S.
    IT IS MORRALY, ETHICALLY WRONG AND A DANGEROUS GAME TO PLAY WITH PEOPLES LIVES ..
    When you act out a Crime you are in Trouble NOT BEFORE !!!
    GET IT !!!
    NO IF, AND, BUT ….etc….

  8. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    It’s sad to see that even the “educated” three Justices in this case, the ones who voted against more protections for patients, could not see further than their arguments. The fact is that if people are not deterred from seeking help, and if the greatest protections are afforded for patients seeking psychotherapy, then logically, there would be less victimization.

  9. Mike

    As far as revictomizing an such, how about law enforcement take down any child pornography off the internet and for law enforcement to stop using real child pornography in sting operations because they are doing the same as the people there arresting, and as far as static-99 what about the fact the federal government knew in 1994 the truth because the government did a study on recidivism in 1994 and the results were 9% and the government has done a study every year since and results were below 5% but they enacted the registry anyways, all of this information is on the Doj & Smart.gov website.

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