College may learn of Pa. teen's child porn

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A provision in the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act requiring disclosure of juveniles' court records to their "school" includes colleges, the state Superior Court has ruled.

The split panel's decision could be bad news for "S.D.," a minor who was adjudicated for sexual abuse of children just months before he left for college, after authorities found hundreds of images of child pornography on his home computer. The decision is also, according to the defendant's attorney, an unprecedented extension of the school-notification provision to a college or university.

But the panel said the Lehigh County juvenile court that adjudicated the teenager did not exceed its authority by ruling to notify Temple University, because the provision in the law is to be construed liberally.

S.D., now 19 years old, presented a number of arguments to distinguish colleges and universities from primary and secondary schools, but they ultimately fell short before the panel that ruled against him 2-1.

"We believe it would be a counterintuitive result for this court to conclude that the Legislature only wished to protect students in primary or secondary schools from those juveniles who had been adjudicated delinquent but not those attending institutions of higher education," Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy said in the ruling opinion.

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Ben Present: bpresent@alm.com or 215-557-2315. To read more articles like this, visit www.thelegalintelligencer.com.


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