Thursday, February 02, 2006

Kline learns what the law says

Federal judge says Kline trying to redefine rape:
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten said that as he reads the Kansas statute, it is injury that triggers the reporting, not the sex act itself. Kline’s 2003 opinion was a reinterpretation of that statute, he said.

Marten said the attorney general is trying to eliminate a medical determination of injury that the Legislature wrote into the statute. The judge also said Kansas law as written does not limit sex abuse to intercourse.

Kline’s 2003 opinion says the state’s 1982 reporting statute requires health care providers, social workers, school counselors and others to tell law enforcement or SRS about underage sex, even if it is consensual. …

Attorneys for the Center for Reproductive Rights contend the statute, as Kline interprets it, could be used to prosecute professionals for failure to report even minor acts such as lewd fondling between consensual same-age adolescents. …

Marten said the Kansas statute “very clearly” provides that for a professional to suspect child abuse and report it, a child must have been injured as a result of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Attorney General was a lawyer with serious courtroom experience, and not a guy whose law license has lapsed now and then?

A top lawyer who wouldn't get slapped around by a federal judge?
On Wednesday, a top official for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services testified that mandatory reporting of consensual sex between underage adolescents would overwhelm child protective services while doing nothing to better protect Kansas children from sexual abuse.

“That would cause an extreme burden on our staff,” said Jean Hogan, regional director for SRS in Wichita.

SRS now routinely screens out any reports it receives of sex between consenting, underage adolescents, Hogan testified, adding that the workload for social workers at her agency was already at maximum capacity.
So doing things Kline's way would require ignoring the text of the law, and would unnecessarily burden the SRS staff. It's a witch hunt by his office, it doesn't protect children, it just hassles healthcare providers. And that's the mission. He wants to scare doctors away from helping kids, and to scare kids away from seeking help.

Elect Paul Morrison!