Those who have been charged with viewing or distributing child pornography are vilified in the media. People always ask in the aftermath of an arrest, “Why didn’t they get help?”
One answer to that could be that getting help can result in legal problems. At Okabe & Haushalter, our knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles child pornography defense attorneys are ready to help if you or a loved one are facing these serious charges. Here, we want to discuss mandatory reporting requirements for therapists and how they affect a person’s ability to get help for an addiction.
Most people will agree it is not okay to view or distribute child pornography. Researchers have indicated viewing such material is often an addiction. In general, many people have addictions to porn. For someone who has an addiction to porn that is not “child pornography,” they can seek treatment for the problem and work towards curbing the addiction’s control over their lives.
However, those who have an addiction to child pornography may not be able to seek treatment without the risk of legal trouble.
If this seems counter-intuitive, we understand. We should want to see someone who realizes they are addicted to something illegal get help for the problem. However, a 2014 amendment to the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act Requires therapists to report to law enforcement anyone who “knowingly downloads, streams, or accesses” child porn through digital or electronic media.
Therapists throughout the state sued in February 2015 to block this law. They claim that the amendment discourages people from seeking therapy for a problem they know they have. Therapists also argue that the law violates the “patient-psychotherapist privilege.”
The case was dismissed by the Los Angeles Superior Court, a decision that was affirmed by a California appeals court.
What happens when someone realizes they have a problem and that they are addicted to child pornography? Seeking help from a therapist could end up putting them behind bars. Not seeking help could lead to a worsening of their addiction and an escalation of illegal behavior.
The amendment to the state’s law was intended to protect children. However, this may not be the end result. The amendment may have the unintended consequence of harming children in the long run.
If you or somebody you love is facing child pornography charges, you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of a guilty verdict for these charges are immense and life-altering. At Okabe & Haushalter, we have decades of experience helping clients get through these situations. We will thoroughly investigate your case and work to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. This is not something that should be left in the hands of an overworked public defender. When you need a Los Angeles child pornography defense attorney, you can contact us today by clicking here or calling 310-430-7799 for a free consultation.