Massachusetts bill could put medical professionals in prison for sexual assault

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP)-We trust our doctors to care for us on a wide range of issues, including some procedures that can be private or uncomfortable. But what can you do if you think a doctor or medical specialist is being inappropriate during an examination?

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said under current law, she cannot prosecute a medical professional when a patient believes touching is inappropriate if that patient consents. Ryan testified in support of a bill that would criminalize sexual assault by a medical professional.

“This would close that loophole because it would say that we would not be required as we typically are in a sexual assault case, to prove the lack of consent or the use of force, because neither one of those is obviously present here,” Ryan said.

You might not think a doctor would be a sex offender, but an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report revealed last year that more than 2,000 doctors have sexually abused patients.

Under the bill, a health care professional who commits an indecent assault and battery on a patient during the course of diagnosis or treatment could receive up to 5 years in state prison.

“A medical professional should not be able to sexually assault a patient under the guise of medical care and authorities should have the legal tools necessary to prosecute those that do,” State Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow) said.

Medical professionals who rape patients could receive up to 20 years in state prison under the bill.

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