I hope lawyers with more knowledge than I on issues such as self-incrimination and therapist privilege, will help clarify for us the importance of the 9th Circuit decision in U. S. v. Lawrence Antelope (Jan. 27, 2005) [Law.com/The Recorder, "9th Circuit: No Forcing Therapy on Sex Offender," Warren Lutz, 01-31-2005]. Mr. Antelope refused to participate in "autobiographical" sex-offender therapy.
The panel ruled Antelope had been unjustly denied his Fifth Amendment rights against incriminating himself. The opinion is written by Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown and states:
"Antelope's successful participation in [the therapy program] triggered a real danger of self-incrimination, not simply a remote or speculative threat. We have no doubt that any admissions of past crimes would likely make their way into the hands of prosecutors."
I'm not conversant enough with the issues to offer useful commentary (urging therapy for parents found to have abused several of my child clients, in Family Court proceedings, is my only brush with the topic). Reading in the Law.com article that Antelope had been caught in a sting "after he joined a Web site advertising 'preteen nude sex pics' and began corresponding with an undercover law enforcement agent" did raise one question for me: Just how much of the email and Comment kiddie-sex-spam that we receive is coming from law enforcement folk? Can the Federal Trade Commission, or even Fed84, do anything about it?
A less serious response arose when I read that Montana's offender therapy program is called Sexual Abuse Behavior Evaluation and Recovery, or SABER. It seems, given my immediate urge to purge, that I suffer from CRAP -- Cute-or-Ribald-Acronymo-Phobia. Please, enough of this CRAP. There oughta be a law.