NBC New York I-Team: Lawmaker Wants Therapist Sex Abuse Loophole Closed

For those of you living in New York, you may want to check out this article and add your voice to this process:

A state assemblyman is drafting legislation that would close a legal loophole, first reported by the I-Team, that keeps statutory rape complaints about psychotherapists from being forwarded to law enforcement by the state authority charged with overseeing them.

Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, of Brooklyn, said he was “shocked” when he found out there was no mandatory reporting requirement.

“We will be introducing the new legislation no later than Monday,” Ortiz said.

Under New York law it is third-degree, or statutory, rape when a mental health provider engages in a sexual relationship with a patient undergoing therapy, regardless of age, and even if the patient is a willing participant.

“The patient is unable to consent and that’s what the criminal statute here in New York recognizes,” said lawyer Audrey Bedolis. “Consent isn’t there because emotions have been manipulated by the therapist.”

But there is a loophole in the reporting of such crimes by the state.

A psychiatrist is a doctor whose license to practice is overseen by the state Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), a division of the Health Department, and that agency is required to report allegations of therapist-patient sex to law enforcement.

But a psychotherapist or state-licensed clinical social worker is not a doctor and that license is overseen by the state Office of Professional Discipline (OPD), a division of the Education Department.

OPD is not required by statute to report allegations of statutory rape pertaining to therapist-patient sex.

Under Ortiz’s proposed change, OPD would have 24 hours to turn over such complaints to law enforcement.

To read the rest of the article, please visit NBCNewYork.com.

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4 Comments

  1. I think this is a good step. About time, right? The acknowledgement that, “The patient is unable to consent and that’s what the criminal statute here in New York recognizes,” said lawyer Audrey Bedolis. “Consent isn’t there because emotions have been manipulated by the therapist.” says it all. I wish every person understood that. I’ve had to remind myself of that fact many times, until it stuck. I wish California would follow New York’s lead.

    • Hi Ellie,
      You’re so right, on all counts. I’m always trying to convince victims that it wasn’t their fault, they didn’t agree to the sex. I was really glad to see that in this article. Maybe people (on all sides of the issue) will start to get it.

  2. When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked
    the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service?
    Kudos!

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