Monday, November 12, 2012

California Law Strictly Prohibits Any Sexual Contact Between Physicians and Their Patients

California Business and Professions Code § 726:  Commission of act of sexual abuse or misconduct with patient or client
The commission of any act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or relations with a patient, client, or customer constitutes unprofessional conduct and grounds for disciplinary action for any person licensed under this division.

§ 729.  Sexual exploitation of patient or client by physician and surgeon, or psychotherapist

(a) Any physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, alcohol and drug abuse counselor or any person holding himself or herself out to be a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor, who engages in an act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, or sexual contact with a patient or client, or with a former patient or client when the relationship was terminated primarily for the purpose of engaging in those acts, unless the physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor has referred the patient or client to an independent and objective physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor recommended by a third-party physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor for treatment, is guilty of sexual exploitation by a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

(b) Sexual exploitation by a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor is a public offense:

 (1) An act in violation of subdivision (a) shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

 (2) Multiple acts in violation of subdivision (a) with a single victim, when the offender has no prior conviction for sexual exploitation, shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

 (3) An act or acts in violation of subdivision (a) with two or more victims shall be punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of 16 months, two years, or three years, and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000); or the act or acts shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

 (4) Two or more acts in violation of subdivision (a) with a single victim, when the offender has at least one prior conviction for sexual exploitation, shall be punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of 16 months, two years, or three years, and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000); or the act or acts shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

 (5) An act or acts in violation of subdivision (a) with two or more victims, and the offender has at least one prior conviction for sexual exploitation, shall be punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of 16 months, two years, or three years, and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).


For more information about possible civil claims against health care providers including doctors and nurses for sexual abuse of patients in California, call our statewide toll free hotline: 866-229-0101.