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Columnist Says KY Censoring His Freedom of Speech

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 7/17/2013 6:20 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

Is a syndicated columnist published in the Herald-Leader breaking the law?  The state thinks so.  The Board of Examiners of Psychology says John Rosemond practices unlicensed psychology in Kentucky, because he writes a parenting advice column.

Rosemond is suing the state, and thinks the Board is trying to censor him.

The Board of Examiners of Psychology sent Rosemond a cease and desist order to immediately stop publishing his column in Kentucky.

Rosemond says this is a clear violation of his 1st amendment rights.  He says the Board is violating his right to free speech, and also the freedom of the press.

"I refused to sign the cease and desist order, and I refused on a constitutional basis," said Rosemond.

The Board doesn't see this as a first amendment issue at all.  The Board wants Rosemond to stop calling himself a psychologist. 

Rosemond says he's licensed to practice psychology in North Carolina.  He does not have a license in Kentucky.

"He can write whatever he wants.  He just cannot call himself a psychologist," said Dr. Eva Markham, Board Chair.

Rosemond admits his column falls under the state's definition of the practice of psychology, but he says if he's breaking the law, then Dear Abby is on a 50-year crime spree.

"It is vital for me to take a stand to protect the right of the consumer to seek parenting advice from whomever they choose, whomever they trust, whether it be me, or anybody else," said Rosemond.

A first amendment expert from UK thinks the state is overstepping its bounds.

"It is a violation of the first amendment, because the Herald-Leader gets to decide what columnist to run, what advice they're going to give, whether those columnists have the proper education, experience, and credentials to get be able to offer that advice, and it is not something that government should be interfering with," said UK Professor Richard Labunski.

The Herald-Leader's editor says the newspaper will continue to publish Rosemond's column.

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