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Child pornography case illustrates tension between patient confidentiality and mandated reporting

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A child pornography case that was resolved Thursday in New London Superior Court illustrated the tension between patient confidentiality and mandated reporting laws, according to prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman.

Justin T. Martin, 22, of Norwich was at a medical appointment at the United Community & Family Services health center in May of 2019 when a clinician became aware that he may have "concerning material" on his phone and notified police.

Martin admitted he had been viewing child pornography and was charged with third-degree possession of child pornography.

Because of the circumstances, and Martin's lack of a criminal record, he was able to plead guilty to the reduced charge of first-degree obscenity, which is a misdemeanor, and avoid serving prison time. 

Judge Hillary B. Strackbein sentenced Martin to six months in prison, with the prison time fully suspended, followed by two years of probation.

Martin's attorney, Kevin C. Barrs, said Martin, a high school graduate, had been employed but lost his job as a result of the arrest.

"He's been in continuous counseling since this began," Barrs said in court. "We're unlikely to see him again."

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