Kentucky Orders End to Parenting Column, Says Columnist Not State-Licensed Psychologist

John Rosemond says he is fighting "Kentucky's monopoly on giving advice."

ByGeetika Rudra
July 19, 2013, 1:36 PM
PHOTO: syndicated parenting columnist John Rosemond
This photo provided by the Institute for Justice shows syndicated parenting columnist John Rosemond. A Virginia-based legal institute is filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of Rosemond who says the state of Kentucky is trying to censor him.
Institute for Justice/AP Photo

July 21, 2013— -- A parenting advice columnist is suing the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology, alleging that the board is trying to censor his writing.

"I hold very heretical views when it comes to my profession," John Kirk Rosemond, 65, of Gastonia, N.C., told ABC News. "I think it has caused a lot of problems in child-rearing. But I'm very open about it. I talk about it. That doesn't sit well with some people."

Rosemond is the author of a popular parenting advice column that is syndicated nationwide. A psychologist licensed to practice in North Carolina, Rosemond answers questions about child-rearing from parents who submit their questions online. His column appears in more than 200 newspapers across the country, according to a lawsuit he filed on Tuesday.

On May 7, 2013, the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology sent Rosemond a letter asking him to cease and desist his columns because the advice he gave a parent on how to handle a teenager constituted the "practice of psychology," which he is not licensed to practice in Kentucky.

"The article ... was a psychological service to the general public, which constituted the practice of psychology. ... No person may engage in the practice of psychology unless licensed by the Board…" read the letter, obtained by ABC News.

"If John Rosemond is a criminal for writing his column, than 'Dear Abby,' has been on a 50-year crime spree," Jeff Rowes, a senior attorney at the Institute of Justice who is representing Rosemond, told ABC News, referring to the well-known advice column that runs nationwide, including in Kentucky. "Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, all of them would be crooks."

In his lawsuit, Rosemond contends that the board is trying to protect a "monopoly of advice."

"Through this case I hope to extend the right of the American citizen to seek parenting advice from whoever they choose, whoever they trust," he said.

"The board is saying that you can only call yourself a psychologist in Kentucky if you are licensed to practice psychology in Kentucky," Rowes added. "We are using the first amendment to protect our client's right to express his opinions."

Rosemond is requesting that Kentucky continue to let him publish his column and recoup his legal fees.

The Board of Examiners of Psychology did not return calls for comment.

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