The latest bold-faced LIE from the Tea Party suggests that the Attorney General from the Commonwealth of Virginia, “Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring,” has “issued a repulsive statement … protecting child rapists and pedophiles from justice.” Nothing could be further from the truth, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from repeating the lie.
Sometime overnight the LINK to the original statement from the Attorney General’s office has been REMOVED from the Tea Party News Network story, which accuses A.G. Herring of advising healthcare professionals to ignore instances of child abuse or rape. Here it is (again), if you’d like to read it yourself. The truth, evidently, was too much for TPNN. Fair warning: it’s a legal ruling, so it’s kind of dry reading.
It’s difficult to defend at lot of what lawyers do at times, only because it’s difficult to explain. The Attorney General’s office was asked for a ruling on a VERY NARROW set of criteria involving licensing inspectors for the Virginia Department of Health. With me so far?
These employees are charged with examining compliance issues for healthcare providers in the state, and a routine part of the job involves reviewing medical records of the patients receiving care at these facilities. Every healthcare employee (including those working at women’s and/or community clinics), pursuant to Virginia Code§ 63.2-1509, is required to make a report of child abuse and neglect if suspected. The law additionally states “if any person carnally knows, without the use of force, a child thirteen years of age or older but under fifteen years of age, such person shall be guilty of a class 4 felony.” (Virginia Code §18.2-63).
The Attorney General’s office ONLY addresses the highly-specific question it was asked; Mark Herring outlined the responsibilities of the “licensing inspector,” who may find records which might suggest a violation during their examination. Since the inspectors have NO contact with the child, they would be unable to legally determine if there was “reason to suspect that a parent or other person responsible for the child’s care committed, or allowed to be committed, the unlawful sexual act upon the child,” which is what the statue alleges.
It’s tiresome to have to document each and every case of the TEA party’s willingness to lie and misrepresent reality. It’s also frustrating to know the people TPNN lies to on a daily basis, willingly accept their twaddle. It is incumbent on us, therefore, to explain these complex issues to the misinformed without getting angry. Ignorance of the truth isn’t a crime. If you want to change the world: teach.