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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

Rola J. Yamini

Abstract

As society begins to accept the pervasiveness of child sexual abuse in this country, adults have begun to come forward with recently surfaced memories of childhood sexual abuse that occurred decades before. This has led to heated debates centering around the validity of repressed and recovered memories and around the accused abusers' rights against therapists for allegedly planting these memories.

This Note examines both sides of the repressed memory debate. In particular, the author discusses whether the accused should be considered a direct victim of therapists' negligence and allowed a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress under California law. In arguing that such claims should not be permitted, the author emphasizes the importance of insulating the therapist-patient relationship from outside parties. The author proposes an alternative solution of allowing only claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress. This approach strikes a balance between competing interests: it affords protection to the therapist-patient relationship and provides emotionally injured third parties recourse against therapists who employ outrageous therapeutic techniques in aiding their patients to "recover" memories of abuse.

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