Friday, October 31, 2008

Female Harasser (Parnelli?) Today

Today at work, a couple of women came in, who, I think, knew who I was and whose sole reason for being there was to harass me.

One of them spoke up and complained the whole time, and the other was quiet, but both tried to stiff the check. The thing is, these women were very well-groomed, attractive/pretty, and had nice upper-end clothing on with black wool coats/trenches. Dark brown hair.

Both ordered turkey burgers. I served them and the one said loudly, so everyone could hear: "Is this a turkey burger? Because this doesn't taste like a turkey burger." I told her it was and that wasn't good enough. She continued to claim it wasn't or didn't taste like one. Then, I left and was helping others and she complains, so everyone can hear: "I ordered a diet and you gave me regular." I told her it was diet. I knew it was. She still complained.

And this sort of thing can be typical, but it was like she was getting a kick out of it, and then would feign a sweet tone and expression.

I told her I'd give her another, and I took it upon myself--the blame, even though I knew I was right. Instead of embarrassing her, I allowed the embarrassment to fall upon me and I said, "Perhaps I mixed it up." I tried to employ "the customer is always right" even though I knew she was wrong. So I took it away, and then I tasted it myself, and it WAS diet, and I was pissed by her condescending attitude, so I filled up a new one and let her know Diet Pepsi is sweeter than Diet Coke and perhaps this was why she had been mistaken.

At the end, I took their cards and I noted their names. I figured they were signing for it so I didn't memorize their names. But when I went back to their table to pick up the signed copies (which have their names printed at the bottom), they weren't there. I said I didn't have their signed copies and they both looked at me and insisted I had already taken them away. I had NOT and I knew so, because the only place I put the receipts is in the apron pocket. I've never lost a receipt, to date. Ever. And they had two of them, and I hadn't rung in their charges. I knew I had given them a pen and that was the last of it.

So they sat there, lying to me and I said I'd have to run it again and the one woman complained loudly again. I said then, to just give me their customer copies and sign those and I'd give them another duplicate. The customer copies, which they wanted me to take instead of the originals, didn't have their names on them. So they gave them to me, and the one who was always complaining didn't even sign her name.

The woman still didn't quit. After I said they could sign the copies and not the originals, the one woman said loudly, "Well you're going to give me a COPY of that, right?!" and claimed she wouldn't have a copy if I didn't when she would, because she and her friend had pocketed the receipts. I said yes I would and she asked again and I said yes. Then, I was leaving the room, and she says loudly, over her shoulder, "You're getting a copy, right?!" AGAIN. I looked at her and finally said in an even tone: "I TOLD you I WOULD."

However, I remembered she'd been the one with the Visa and the other had the Amex, and since I couldn't remember their names, I wrote down their credit card numbers and expiration dates, for identification purposes, should any agency ever be interested.

I am tempted to post them online. The one woman, who was harassing me, had a last name to the effect of: Parnelli or Parinelli or Peranelli. It was clearly Italian, and I just figured these women knew who I was and were probably pissed about what I'd been writing, and decided to mess around with me.

I've taken all kinds of complaints about food before, and it's no big deal. You get that in customer service and it doesn't bother me. But I had a worse feeling about these women, that they were there intentionally, to screw with me, and I didn't like it. The fact they didn't want me to have their names, indicates they might know I have a blog.

I just might publish their card numbers. Of course no one would use them, because we all know, if anything, these women might even have husbands who work in the FBI or DOJ and could get in trouble.

These women are, I'll bet, Catholic, both of them, and they or their husbands are in some sort of government position, or just in with another hate group that doesn't like me.

The one who harassed the most was very tall, about 5'10 at least. She had shoulder-length dark brown hair and was white.

If the name was Parnelli, I've noted there are several in the race car business, and I do know Abbey attorney Dick Whittemore was a major supporter and had NASCAR as one of his favorite hobbies and interests. But I just don't know for sure. I might have to publish those credit card numbers so someone else can track their ID down for me, and draw the connections.

I really don't think it's Parnelli though, because that's too close to "Parnell" and I would've noticed. It was longer than that. I may end up posting at least her credit card info, even if I don't post her friends (who was as much in on it). Her hair was straight too, not curly.

TTSOML #154: Dr. Said In Ephrata & State Insurance Issues

I went to Dr. Said for myself, not my son, but I also talked about my son with Said. Said said something about he thought if my son was hyperactive, he could put him on Adderal. I said no, he was not hyperactive, he was just highly active and highly intelligent. I didn't want my son's brain drugged up. So I said no way.

I did try Adderal myself though, because the Dr. thought it might help with focus and helping me to get things done when I was so stressed. Once, my mother thought I had ADD, so I told him I'd give it a try. I have good and bad things to say about it.

He also gave me a prescription for narcotics, which I did need, because I was in a lot of pain and I couldn't even sit at all, at that time, without it. All my bones were still broken and healing, and then I started having the bizarre pangs too from an external source (which I'll get into later).

I had 800 mgs Advil, 5 or 10 mg. Vicodin (to use for migraine and daily pain), and Adderal.

I also hoped the Adderal would sort of counteract the sleepy side effects of the Vicodin.

What I did think was a little strange, was that when I first went, I paid a doctor's fee upfront and then after that it was supposed to be a lower rate for consecutive visits. I think they asked for the higher rate the second time, and I had to point out I'd already paid it. In a way, I felt some of the people there probably just "paid" a price for the prescription really, and were drug-seeking, or addicted, but I was not.

I was asked by Dr. Said, at one point, if I wanted to go to higher levels and I said no. I went from 5 mg. to 10 mg. on the narcotics with him, but I didn't want to go higher. I told him instead, a few extra of the 10 mg.s would be okay. With narcotics too, people don't understand you have to titrate. The effects are lost fairly quickly, and for someone with genuine pain, it takes more to have the same effect and the body can handle it. You have to have someone experienced. Which is why some people sound like they're on doses which could kill most, but they've needed them forever.

So I turned down offers to raise the mgs, which no "drug seeking" or "drug dealing" person would do, and I also refused to have my son medicated.

My goal, for myself, was to get actual diagnostics which would better show what my damages from childbirth were, and to have the surgeries to FIX the problem. I wasn't interested in medicating the problem, but in finding a solution.

However, Wenatchee doctors, I believe, and they're lawyers, knew I had a viable claim against them and could sue, and to minimize damages, they wanted to limit my access to narcotics so I couldn't use this "need" for managing pain, as proof for pain and suffering damages, and they never wanted me to be able to get diagnostics of what really happened either.

Some bizarre things I noticed though, was that after Wenatchee knew where I was going, to Ephrata, I noticed being harassed and followed a few times. People in cars, who would slow down, watching me, and park and watch, or, once, a guy who laughed and mocked as he stared at me out the window. It was quite bizarre and it was not my "imagination". Believe me, if these people would go to lengths to slander me to medical professionals throughout the state and have my son and I kicked out, they'd do more. A lot of terrible things happened to me and my son, by people who simply got a kick out of it and wanted to minimize damages.

After 6 months, and once I was on regular medications, I was suddenly cut off. I wasn't "tapered" down and I was still in pain besides.

I was cut off by the state insurance company, who gave me ZERO notice first. I believe it was Molina. I took my prescription to the pharmacy (which reminds me to write about the weird thing one of the pharmacists there did once) and I was told the insurance wouldn't pay for it. They are required, by law, to give a 30 day notice so it may be contested or insurance can be changed. But they didn't.

(to be continued later tonight, or if not tonight, tomorrow morning)

Persecution For Free Speech

I was thinking, last night, I'm not a professional writer by any means. But I've been tortured and punished, harassed and threatened, because of things I write.

I've met some people from the APA recently, photographers and others, and of course newspapers too, but these foreign correspondents especially...some of them have been killed over what they write. Tortured too. Same thing with anyone who writes something of a political or religious or otherwise "disturbing" (to others) nature.

It made me think how important free speech is. Not defamation and the right to defame others, and write propoganda, but true free speech--to write the truth or opinions and call them, rightly, opinions.

The pen has always been mightier than the sword, until the sword cuts the hand with the pen. Ideas and knowledge are so threatening, and sometimes, so is the plain truth about others and what they've done. "If word gets out..."

More can be done through the dissemination of ideas (Luther, Darwin, Smith) than can ever be accomplished through violence. When people accept the truth, or an idea, voluntarily, it's more threatening because it's voluntary. Wars, and violence, is often started to stop the free expression of speech or disturb acceptance of ideas.

People have said, of me, over and over, that I am "potentially dangerous", and "unstable", and that I "threatened" them.

I have been dangerous because I haven't been afraid to speak the truth. I've been classified as "unstable" because I upset their equillibrium and they can no longer see straight; when they look at me, they are shaking. I have "threatened" them because I have said I would file a lawsuit and they have known I have a viable claim, or because I've said I would expose what they've done.

Some of the most "dangerous" people are the writers and activists who are peaceful and would never harm a fly. And then it is those who feel "threatened" who engage in violence, harassment, and criminal activity, to conspire against a voice which disturbs them, when it will not quit speaking. They fight with their hands and tools, like cavemen, because they have not yet evolved to begin using their brain and conscience. They are insecure about the truth and do not embrace it. Instead of countering speech with speech, honestly, they lie and pervert the truth, and attempt to obstruct justice. If they cannot cover the truth with lies, there are some who will use violence.

I think it must be the most cowardly thing any human being can do. When it's an entire group, in a way, I suppose one should feel honored to have acheived such recognition. It is almost a badge of honor to be made a martyr and survivor by peons. I think of that one Oscar awards night acceptance speech by Sally Field: "You like me! You really like me!"

So, last night, I was thinking about all the missing journalists, and tortured ones, and dead writers and those persecuted simply because they had something to say who were not afraid to say it. You don't have to be a professional writer to be a threat, it seems. You're a threat if it's believed you may have a forum. You don't even have to be a writer. You can be someone who represents a cause and who speaks about it publicly as well.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TTSOML #153: Blacklisted In Washington State & ADA Violation

I've had some people, including some in my family, ask why I cannot move to Washington state, as if the problems were confined to Wenatchee. They were not. For proof, I will go through the list of things that were done to me, by Wenatchee doctors and their lawyers, but which affected my standing anywhere I tried to go in Washington, for medical care, legal help, or following through on reports.

I already detailed how the police and law enforcement ignored my reports, throughout the area.

The Wenatchee doctors and their lawyers did not just try to force me and my son out of the state, by collaborating with Wenatchee CPS ("We'll give you a one-way bus ticket for you and your son to leave the state). They called and wrote every insurance handler or medical clinic I ever tried to go to, throughout the entire state, and smeared me so we were kicked out and could not receive care.

I first went to University of Washington for care. The state didn't pay for independent doctors and would only cover those from this medical center, or through a Catholic medical center, Swedish. Swedish has a bunch of nuns for nurses, because they were bought out and merged with a Catholic insurance company. This information is online and I had to bring it to Dr. Freed's attention when he tried to disagree with me.

Some of these medical facilities don't sound like they're run by Catholic corporations on the surface, but if you did a little, you find they're managed by Catholic insurance companies, mergered with a Catholic hospital and all staff, or other things. I never checked on these things until I started having problems with this group.

I found out Central Washington Hospital, the only hospital in Wenatchee, was the result of a merger between a Methodist hospital and a private Catholic hospital, and there were even 3 or 4 priests on an advisory board. I also found out CWH is not a public hospital, run by non-profit or public funds. It is actually a "private" hospital and run this way. I tried, several times, to get copies of the information which would show who exactly owned it, and they refused to give me this information. I've never heard, to this day, or seen the paperwork which shows what group of people actually own, run, and insure that hospital in Wenatchee, where I had so many problems.

I found out most of the HMOs that the state purchased, in Washington state at least, for welfare recipients, were run by Catholic companies. Molina is a Catholic insurance-healthcare management group. I don't know about Columbia Valley Community Health, who owns it and runs it or if there is any affiliation with the Catholic church.

I discovered Washington state has one of the highest percentages of Catholics, among the states. This ended up affecting my medical care, because so many clinics were run by Catholic groups where there would be conflict of interest, and I also could not get any legal assistance in that state. I found out almost all of the volunteer legal aid organizations were either Catholic run, or made up of, predominantly, members of the Catholic church. I didn't look into the Catholicism until I was turned down by every single group, and then I wondered why.

Gonzaga is one of the only law schools in the area, and the state employs a lot of their graduates, as I discovered when I found so many of the Fair Hearings judges were from Gonzaga. But I'll get into how I was blacklisted within the legal community, after I go through what they did to me and my son in the medical sphere, to deprive us of objective treatment and care.

I tried to go to University of Washington, and everything was fine until the manager for the Family clinic there, must have been contacted by Wenatchee doctors.

It was easy for Wenatchee people to look up who I was going to, and where I was going, because as long as I was on state aid and taking state health coverage, my name was in a giant database any of them could access. All they had to do was type in my name and/or social security number, which was everywhere, and it would pull up who my Primary Care Provider was. I was only able to go, for 6 whole months, to Dr. Said in Ephrata, because it was private pay and I didn't tell any of them where I was going until about 6 months later. As soon as they found out, they sent him a letter about me, which I'll detail in a moment.

So I and my son were going to U of W, and I started to get harassed by a medical office manager for the Family clinic. I had no direct problems with any of the doctors there--it was the manager, whom, I discovered later, was Catholic.

From the first, she was so rude to me, it didn't make sense. I had never been rude to her and I didn't know her. I had a secretary tell me I had been marked down as missing an appointment, and that if I missed 3 without giving a 24 hour notice to cancel, they were going to kick us out. So I called the manager, because no one had said anything about this policy to me, and she acted like she already knew who I was.

Then, I did have one not-very-nice doctor intern see my son for a pediatric check-up. I found out later she was also Catholic and she was so rude to me from the first, I also wondered why. She tried to minimize my son's acheivements, despite the other doctors astonishment at his development, and told me I should be going to a Wenatchee doctor and that I should be taking my son to a Wenatchee doctor. I told her there were reasons not to, and I didn't wish to discuss it. She then scoffed when I said my son's teeth enamel had been ruined by traumatic childbirth, according to a Wenatchee pediatric dentist, and I told her to check with her own pediatric dentist there to see if I was making it up or it sounded weird. So she did, and when she came back, she admitted to me that their dentist had said this was a probable cause for enamel dysplasia so young. She was still rude and I was going to try to transfer my son's care to Children's, especially after he quit speaking, and spoke only gibberish instead of his words.

But first, the office manager called me and told me I and my son were kicked out. She didn't send us a letter. She just told us we couldn't be seen at the University of Washington anymore, and this was before I was going to be scheduled to see a bone specialist for my pelvis and tailbone, and a pain specialist for the pain. And yes, I was asking for narcotics then, because the pain was severe, and OTCs didn't work. I had a broken lower back, tailbone, and fractured sacrum, on top of prolapse and nerve compression. The office manager, I can't remember her name, said we were kicked out for missing "3 appointments without 24 hour notice". I had only missed one other appointment, and one of them was for migraine, and I told her I couldn't GIVE "24 hour notice" when I got the migraines. I got one in the middle of the night, and it didn't give ME "24 hour notice" and when I got it, I couldn't drive or go anywhere. I called to cancel, and I let them know, but it wasn't 24 hour notice. It was that morning, when they were open, before my appointment.

I also had not missed THREE appointments, but only TWO. Not only that, I hadn't missed any appointments for my son and just for me, and yet she was kicking us both out. I called a "Board" and left several messages, but no one got back to me or returned my calls. I found out later that this office manager should have given us a letter, and she didn't. Months later, when pressed, she finally submitted a letter, which proves we were kicked out by her. When she wouldn't give us a letter, it prevented me from getting a new doctor. To switch doctors and have transportation covered, you have to have a reason why you're having to switch to go to someone else out of area. She wouldn't give this to anyone until the last minute and by that time, I and my grandparents decided it was better to do private pay, after I called almost every single medical clinic on the state list, in the state of Washington, and was turned down from being seen, and in several cases, harassed and told THEY "knew" who I was. I suspected I was being blacklisted after having so many clinics say they were taking new patients and then change their minds when I gave them my name. So I started calling clinics, and setting up appointments under different names, and then telling them last minute what my real name was, and they'd cancel me. I called several clinics in the Seattle, Everett, and Olympia area, and I also called clinics in Ephrata, Quincy, and Moses Lake. None of them would take me or my son.

I kept a list of all the people and clinics I called, and at one of them, in Ephrata, I was strung along for an hour, and harassed. First told they could help me if I gave them one thing, and then I would, and then they'd say I really couldn't "afford them", and when I said I would have the money, they'd come up with another excuse. I even tried calling a few private pay places, but found I'd been slandered ahead. At this time, I do believe I was telling Christa where I was trying to go. If she was telling the Abbey lawyers, who I know worked with the Wenatchee lawyers against me, this could be how the information was disseminated.

So finally, I think I either gave a different name, or the same name but they didn't know who I was...I found out about a doctor named Dr. Muhammed Said in Ephrata who specialized in pain control, and was willing to work with me about the migraines, and he took private pay and got us in. So I went there, for 6 months without a problem, and I tried other remedies besides just narcotics for the migraine. But then the Wenatchee hospital found out, because I showed up at ER and, under Said's orders, I was to be given "oxygen" through an oxygen tank, for what he thought were "clusters" instead of, possibly, migraine. The first time I went to CWH for this, instead of putting me on high levels of oxygen as prescribed, Dr. Parnell came in and I guess didn't want it to work and prove I had bad headaches, because he just put little nostril things in my nose and turned it up light. The order was for wearing an actual oxygen mask which is fitted over the face, and a tank of oxygen is brought in and it's turned up at high levels of PURE oxygen (if you read up about clusters, and oxygen treatment, it works for some). So Dr. Parnell chose not to follow orders, and it didn't work, and I asked for someone to do it right. So I believe the next time I went in, they did it correctly and it seemed to help, but it wasn't lasting. It didn't just abort the migraine (or cluster, which is more severe than migraine).

One thing I've found strange, is that at one point, a NURSE who I remember, who was very nice to me, at the hospital, advocated for me to be given something ergotamine at one point, and she asked about Cafergot or something and the doctor refused. She thought it might work but the doctor wouldn't give it to me. Another time, she asked if I could be given something for the muscle fasciculations and the doctor (Crane) said no to that as well. But at least she was trying to help. She was blond and a little plump and worked in ER. One of the very few decent ones on staff there. If Wenatchee had tried any form of ergotamine, it may have worked, and I wouldn't have had to wait until trying IV ergotamine in Canada, to find a "cure" for abortion of my migraines. Not only was it a cure, it quickly proved I did, indeed, have true migraines. They are severe enough to be classified with clusters, but they respond to classic migraine treatment of a particular variety.

Dr. Said was the last doctor I went to, before getting kicked out again, because this time, a Wenatchee doctor called him and even wrote a letter to him which Dr. Said refused to show me.

Because my son had been kicked out of University of Washington, I was stuck with having to take him to the walk-in clinic if he needed anything.

It wasn't my fault he didn't have one stable "PCP". I tried, and we kept getting blacklisted and booted. So that was not my fault. I had to take him to walk-in again, and was trying to get him another PCP and then a bunch of other things happened to prevent this.

For one thing, Wenatchee refused to reimburse my medical transportation and I couldn't afford to drive to Seattle anymore because "the department" still owed me about $1,000 for gas and mileage for previous visits they'd told me I HAD to go to, to keep benefits. And I already knew my son would not get good care with a Wenatchee PCP because I was telling them, by then, that he'd quit talking, and they were ignoring my concerns. And again, when I've said "quit talking" I don't mean he quit trying to talk but that he could no longer say anything intelligible. My son could have had a cerebral hemmorhage or any other number of things, and these doctors didn't give a fuck. They left my son out in the cold.

I'll write about Dr. Said in the next post, and then move onto the slander I discovered was made about me to insurance companies as well, and then what was going on with Wenatchee medical attorneys for the clinics and hospital I was planning to sue.

Nonetheless, I already CALLED all of the "surrounding area" clinics and no one would see us. After Wenatchee knew I was trying to get further diagnostics to prove traumatic childbirth and other problems, they wanted to force me back to Wenatchee so they could fabricate and control all the medical records. And what followed was just disaster.

They did this, through the instruction of their lawyers who worked with Abbey lawyers. Most of the lawyers I had to deal with, as well, for the doctors in Wenatchee, were Catholic. The few others were just brainwashed by the Catholics who hated me, to believe I was the problem.

What I'll write next is what happened when I tried to get general care from Wenatchee walk-ins after Wenatchee saw to it we were kicked out of Dr. Said's offices.

No one can tell me I can get normal care in Washington. Because down the road, in this timeline, I will also write what happened later to my medical care in Whatcom county, where I tried to go after my son was taken from me. Blacklisted again, and I have very good details to prove it.

Finally, as an end note to this post, the fact that I was kicked out for missing 2 out of 3 visits without giving "24 hour notice" was wrong to begin with. I'd only missed 2 and not 3. Secondly, it was discrimination of a disability they KNEW I had. It was known and documented that I had migraines and could not control when I had them. To refuse to accomodate for this disability and give allowances was violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I should not have been kicked out of any clinic for my inability to give "24 hour notice" for a disabiling condition that didn't give ME "24 hour notice", which I had medical documentation for. That a medical facility would discriminate, is a little bizarre, which goes to show I was blacklisted. My disability was used against me as leverage by Wentachee lawyers and I can prove more of this later as well.

I should add, Christa asked me where I was planning to go. I said I didn't know and she would say, after I was kicked out of U of Washington, "Which area?" and I told her the surrounding Seattle area or maybe Everett or Olympia. She'd ask which part and I just said I didn't know because I didn't know Seattle.

I was able to get in with Dr. Said, I believe, because I wasn't slandered in Ephrata yet. He was the first one I called and went to, and I didn't tell Christa I was going to him. The Wenatchee hospital found out, and then Wenatchee Valley Medical Center. I was fine with him until I asked Said if he'd give me a referral to see another doctor about diagnostics for my pelvis and then all of a sudden, Wenatchee maybe I told Christa this, and then Wenatchee doctors started pressuring him to dump me. But, after they all knew I was going to him, and that I couldn't get help in the Seattle area, when I tried going to others in the Ephrata area, or Moses Lake, I had already been blacklisted. Also, several clinics in Ephrata and Moses Lake are connected to Wenachee clinics.

It's safe to say that the denial of my and my son's medical care was a joint effort between Wenatchee doctors and lawyers, and the lawyers of Bullivant Houser (aka Abbey attorneys) through Christa Schneider.

Professional Exploitation Site: AdvocateWeb

This is one of the best sites I've found, regarding professional exploitation, which includes abuse of adults by clergy (from all faiths). It helped me to understand why the dynamics were wrong and why I was vulnerable from the first. I was also able to relate to others and acknowledge it wasn't something I encouraged, but something which was a serious ethical, moral, and legal violation.

The cover up was worse, and the harassment I've experienced since I decided to be vocal about what happened, was the worst part. Hopefully, this will shed light on the problem, for some, and be a comfort for others, that they are not alone. I guess I should add, this article is about sexual exploitation, but there are a lot of articles about other forms of abuse, or exploitation, which are damaging, and the symptoms they cause, even if it does not amount to actual sexual contact but is of a more emotional/romantic nature (such as the next post concerns, where a Catholic man wrote to me about improper conduct between a Benedictine priest and his ex-wife):

Sexual Exploitation
Historical Overview
by Gary Richard Schoener
Gary Schoener is a licensed psychologist and Executive Director of the Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, MN. He is the senior author of "Psychotherapists' Sexual Involvement with Clients: Intervention and Prevention", co-author of "Assisting Impaired Psychologists", and has written many articles on this topic. Schoener has consulted in more than 3000 cases of sexual misconduct by professionals and was a member of the Task Force on Sexual Impropriety of the American Psychological Association and its Advisory Committee on the Impaired Psychologist. The Walk-In Counseling Center was the recipient of the 1977 Gold Achievement Award in Hospital and Community Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association.

This article has been reproduced with permission from the Walk-In Counseling Center. Copyright © 1998 WICC.

This is text of a presentation by Gary R. Schoener at the opening of the 2nd International Conference on Sexual Exploitation by Professionals, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in October 1992. These were later edited and rewritten and published in the book "Breach of Trust" (Thousand Oaks Calif.: Sage Press, 1994) which was edited by John C. Gonsiorek.

Before examining the history of sexual misconduct by professionals it is important to remind ourselves about how uneasy the relationship is between the helping professions and the law. There is an old joke in which three passengers on a sinking ship--an attorney, a health care professional, and a bishop--find themselves in the same liferaft. Unfortunately, the liferaft is not very seaworthy and begins taking on water, and it becomes clear that it will not make it to an island visible in the distance. The attorney, noting that the raft could handle two, but not three of them, suggests that they draw straws and that the one who gets the short straw has to swim to shore. They do so and the attorney gets the short straw. She is preparing to dive in and swim for the island when suddenly dorsal fins are everywhere--the raft is surrounded by sharks.

The attorney surveys the situation and grimly says, "Better one than three," and dives in and swims frantically. The sharks pull back and form a corridor to the island. The bishop says, "Heaven be praised, it's a miracle." The health care professional says, "Miracle my eye! That's professional courtesy."

This joke can serve as a useful metaphor. Those of us in the helping professions are the crew of the ship. We are the captain, the navigator, and the other crew members. The passengers are our clients and parishioners. It is our job to check the charts before we sail, to make sure where the hidden reefs lie. It is our job to check the weather before sailing so as to avoid, or at least be prepared for storms. It is our job to make sure we have enough life jackets and life rafts, and that they are seaworthy, in case trouble happens. It is our job to make sure that we have procedures for emergencies and that all of the crew understand them. It is when we fail in these duties that the ship goes down, the passengers are endangered, and the sharks come around. The sharks are not the problem...they simply clean up the mess.

This metaphor can be further extended to examine how we may respond when a complaint is made against a professional...that is, a member of the crew. First of all, even if the crew member who is accused of dereliction of duty works in another part of the ship, he/she is one of "us." As such, when a complaint is made we may choose to minimize it or attack the complainant, feeling ourselves attacked as a member of the crew and believing that the crew is a fine crew. Or, we may take the "bad apple" approach, deny any group responsibility, and attack the "bad" crew member as a "bad apple."

The problem with the "bad apple" approach is that it prevents us from looking at community and institutional problems. Furthermore, to judge from the research data which will be discussed throughout this conference, we've got quite a few thousand "rotten apples" to deal with each year.

As a prelude to the examination of our current knowledge and understanding of sexual misconduct by professionals which will comprise the conference, a brief recapitulation of some history seems in order. Beyond the normal wish to learn from history so as to avoid reliving it, we may now be in a position to understand it in a new light. T.S. Elliot wrote, in "Little Gidding":

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

(Gardner, 1987, p.897)

Historical Background
Although there are earlier medical codes and texts, such as the Code of Hammurabi, which was compiled around 2000 B.C., the first concerns about physician-patient sex in a written text are to be found in the Corpus Hippocratum. This was a body of about 70 medical texts compiled by the Library of Alexandria during the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. (Lloyd, 1983).

It is not known how many of these works can actually be attributed to Hippocrates, who lived from 460 to 370 B.C., although it is quite likely that he did not write the most famous item in the Corpus, the Oath which is usually attributed to him (Lloyd, 1983). In both the "Oath" and "The Physician," doctor-patient sexual intimacy is discussed. In "The Physician," the intimacy of the physician-patient relationship is described thus:

The intimacy also between physician and patient is close. Patients in fact put themselves into the hands of their physicians, and at every moment he meets women, maidens and possessions very precious indeed. So towards all these self-control must be used. Such then should the physician be, both in body and in soul. (Trans. by W.H.S. Jones, cited in Reiser, Dyck, & Curran, 1977, p. 5)

The original Greek version of the "Oath," usually referred to as the Hippocratic Oath, states in part:

". . . and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm, especially from abusing the bodies of man or woman, bond or free." (Trans. by W.H.S. Jones, cited in Reiser, Dyck, & Curran, 1977, p. 5)

When the "Oath" was rewritten for Christian physicians some centuries later, this section read as follows:

. . . with purity and holiness I will practice my art . . . . Into whatever house I enter I will go into them for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of Mischief and Corruption and further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. . . . (Braceland, 1969, p. 236)

During the Middle Ages, the treatise "De Cautelis Medicorum," thought to have been written by Arnald of Villanova, read in part:

Let me give you one more warning: Do not look at a maid, a daughter, or a wife with an improper or a covetous eye and do not let yourself be entangled in woman affairs for there are medical operations that excite the helper's mind; otherwise your judgment is affected, you become harmful to the patient and people will expect less from you. And so be pleasant in your speech, diligent and careful in your medical dealings, eager to help. And adhere to this without fallacy. (Braceland, 1969, p. 236)

During the Middle Ages sexual contact between clergy and counselees or parishioners was known but not widely reported. A recent review of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests notes:

Child sexual abuse involving priests is not a new phenomenon within the Catholic Church. Renaissance history reveals evidence of an awareness of this problem within the Church. During that period the Church took a traditional stance that clerics were the responsibility of the Church and, in theory, were not subject to secular law. The prosecutions that took place were tried in ecclesiastical courts under Cannon Law. (Stark, 1989, p. 793)

The issues of professional-patient sex again emerges in the literature near the end of the 18th Century. Concern about physicians taking sexual advantage of their patients through the misuse of mesmerism (hypnosis) was voiced in 1784 by a Commission of Inquiry headed by Benjamin Franklin, which, in a secret report to the French King, Louis XVI, stated:

. . . the danger exists. . . since the physician can, if he will, take advantage of his patient. . . . Even if we ascribe to him superhuman virtue, since he is exposed to emotions which awaken such desires, the imperious law of nature will affect his patient, and he is responsible, not merely for his own wrong-doing, but for that he may have excited in another. (Franklin, de Bory, Lavoisier, Bailly, Majault, Sallin, d'Arcet, Guillotin, & Le Roy, 1965, p. 6)

Perry (1979) notes that at ". . . the time the report was written. . . medical doctors enjoyed a bad reputation in the eyes of a significant segment of the lay public." (p. 188) It would be well for all of us in the helping professions, who today enjoy considerable public respect, that such has not always been the case...and, if we don't police ourselves more effectively it can easily cease to be the case.

A book widely thought to be America's first psychological novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published in 1850. It described the shame of a young woman who was required to wear the scarlet letter "A" (for adulteress) after having been made pregnant by a clergyman, Arthur Dimmesdale, who escaped public disgrace, but not emotional consequences. In a meeting with Hester in the forest, Rev. Dimmesdale tells Hester, when asked if he's found any peace in the preceding seven years,that he has found "None! Nothing but despair." (Hawthorne,1991) When Hester inquires as to whether the good works he has done in the church among those who revere him has brought comfort, Dimmesdale replies:

As concerns the good which I may appear to do, I have no faith in it. It must needs be a delusion. What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?--or a polluted soul, towards their purification? And as for the people's reverence, would that it were turned to scorn and hatred! Canst thou deem it, Hester, a consolation, that I must stand up in my pulpit, and meet so many eyes turned upward to my face, as if the light of heaven were beaming from it!--and then look inward, and discern the black reality of what they idolize? I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am! And Satan laughs at it!
(Hawthorne, 1991, p.134)

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), son of famous clergyman Lyman Beecher and brother of the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, was "one of the premier preachers in the late nineteenth century," according to the Dictionary of Christianity in America (Reid, Linder, Shelley, Stout, 1990). A short summary of his career is presented thus:

Under his preaching (1847-1887) Plymouth church became one of the first large middle class suburban churches in America. As editor of two well-read journals, the Independent (1861-1863) and the Christian Union (1870-1881) Beecher's influence reached well beyond the confines of his own church's membership. Yale University invited him to deliver the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures for three years straight (1872-1874) (Reid, Linder, Shelley, & Stout, 1990, p.123).

Though omitted from many summaries of church history, at the height of his distinguished career and pastoral influence, Beecher undertook pastoral counseling of Elizabeth Tilton, the wife of a friend, who was grieving the death of her infant. Beecher reportedly convinced her to engage in an intimate relationship with him, cautioning her not to tell anyone about it (Morey, Oct. 5, 1988). In 1872 journalist Victoria Woodhull published the story of the relationship and was jailed, but subsequently released (Fortune, 1989, p.120). Theodore Tilton sued Beecher. A congregational investigating committee, ignoring "almost irrefutable evidence," not only exonerated Beecher but expressed towards him "sympathy more tender and trust more unbounded" than before (Morey, Oct.5, 1988, p.868). Elizabeth Tilton was excommunicated in 1878. Beecher's career was not significantly affected (Waller,1982).

Romance novels of the late 19th and 20th century often portrayed ministers as boyish and innocent men, pursued by women who sought to seduce them, but whose clutches they managed to escape (Morey, 1988). For example, Corra Harris' A Circuit Rider's Wife, published in 1910 (and serialized in the Saturday Evening Post the same year), includes the following narration by Mary, wife of a Methodist minister:

...when we hear of a minister who has disgraced himself with some female member of his flock, my sympathies are all with the preacher. I know exactly what has happened. Some sad-faced lady who has been "awakened" from a silent, cold, backslidden state by his sermons goes to see him in his church study.(They who build studies for their preachers in the back part of the church surround him with four walls of moral destruction and invite it for him. The place for a minister's study is in his own home, with his wife passing in and out, if he has female spiritual invalids calling on him.)

This lady is perfectly innocent in that she has not considered her moral responsibility to the preacher she is about to victimize. She is very modest, really and truly modest. He is a little on his guard till he discovers this. First, she tells him that she is unhappy at home...

...He sees her reduced to tears over her would-be transgressions, and before he considers what he is about he has kissed the "dear child." That is the way it happens nine times out of ten, a good man damned and lost by some frail angel of the church. (Harris, 1988, pp. 81-83)

Mary nipped one such potential relationship--that between a parishioner and her minister husband William--in the bud by privately confronting the woman, after having watched with chagrin that:

...William was always cheered and invigorated by her visits. He would come out of his study for tea after her departure, rubbing his hands and praising the beautiful, spiritual clearness of her mind, which he considered very remarkable in a woman. (Harris, 1988, pp. 83-84)

Mary proposes a solution to this problem:

Someone who understands real moral values ought to make a new set of civil laws that would apply to the worst class of criminals in society--not the poor, hungry, simple-minded rogues, the primitive murderers, but the real rotters of honor and destroyers of salvation. Then we should have a very different class of people in the penitentiaries, and not the least numerous among them would be the women who make a religion of sneaking up on the blind male side of good men without a thought of the consequences. (Harris, 1988, p. 85)

So, we know what the problem is women. In case one is tempted to relegate this account of the 1880's published in 1910 to the past it should be noted that it was reissued as The Circuit Rider's Wife (Harris, 1988) in 1988 and had a second printing in 1990. Furthermore, The Bishop's Mantle, written by Agnes Turnbull in 1948, contained similar sentiments, describing the struggles of Hilary Laurens, a young minister, who was barely able to escape the clever plotting of predatory women in his congregation:

In spite of himself he thought of the ministers, from Beecher down, who had had trouble with women. Every city clergyman had to recognize this menace. A few to his own knowledge through the years, in spite of their utter innocence, had yet escaped by a hair's breadth. A few here and there had not even escaped. There were always the neurotic women who flocked not only to the psychiatrists but also in almost equal numbers to ministers, pouring out their heart confessions and their fancied ills; there were those pitiable ones in whose minds religion and sex had become confused and intermingled; there were those who quite starkly fell in love with a clergyman and wanted love from him in return. Yes, a man of God had to be constantly on his guard in connection with this problem of women [emphasis mine] (Turnbull, 1948, p.235).

Erotic feelings between therapist and client also are found in the earliest reported cases of psychotherapy--the "talking cure." Anna O. was treated using hypnosis by Joseph Breuer in 1880; subsequently, the case became one of Freud's most widely discussed models of psychotherapeutic treatment. Ernest Jones (1953), Freud's first biographer, reported, on the basis of Freud's account of the case:

...that Breuer had developed what we should nowadays call a strong counter-transference to his interesting patient....his wife became bored at listening to no other topic,...jealous....unhappy and morose. It was a long time before Breuer...divined the meaning of her state of mind. It provoked a violent reaction in him, perhaps compounded of love and guilt, and he...[brought] the treatment to an end....that evening he was fetched back to find [Anna O.] in the throes of an hysterical childbirth...the logical termination of a phantom pregnancy...he managed to calm her down...and then fled the house in a cold sweat. The next day he and his wife left for Venice to spend a second honeymoon... (pp. 224-25)

Although this experience deterred Breuer from further experiments with hypnosis to treat hysterical symptoms, Freud went on to experiment with the "talking cure" and, eventually, to develop psychoanalysis. In his classic Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis, published in 1917, Freud noted the romantic and erotic feelings his female patients exhibited toward him, labeling it transference. In writing on this topic, Freud (1958) clearly indicated that the therapist should not take advantage of the patient's "longing for love" and should abstain from sexual involvement. Freud also noted that the therapist had to struggle with his own countertransference love feelings.

Despite Freud's warnings of the potentially erotic atmosphere of the psychoanalytic relationship, some of his followers experimented with physical contact with clients. When Freud learned that Ferenczi, one of his followers, had engaged in kissing and other physical contact with clients, he wrote a challenging letter on December 13, 1931, warning Ferenczi about this practice (Grosskurth, 1991, p.206).

Wilhelm Reich (1945, pp. 126-7) believed that the therapist should allow the client's overt sexual feelings to develop until they are "concentrated, without ambivalence, in the transference." Although he never advocated sexual relationships between therapist and client, at times "[he] physically manipulated... [some clients] to 'appropriate' responses" (Marmor, 1970, p. 12). Reich (1945, p. 133) cited two measures of whether sensual genital striving was freed from repression: "Phantasies of incest without guilt feeling" and "genital excitation during analysis...." While explaining Reich's theories and behavior as, in part, symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, Marmor (1970, p. 12) accused Reich's students and followers of using "the prestige of this unfortunate psychoanalytic pioneer to act out their own countertransference needs."

In recent years it has come to light that psychoanalyst Carl Jung had a romantic affair with Sabina Spielrein, whom he treated from 1905 to 1909. She had been 19 years old when she began her analysis. Subsequently she became a physician and in 1912 joined the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (Carotenuto, 1984). Gay (1988, p. 396), in his biography of Freud, described Spielrein as:

"one of the most extraordinary among the younger analysts," who " had gone to Zurich to study medicine and in desperate mental distress, went into psychoanalytic treatment with Jung." "She fell in love with her analyst, and Jung, taking advantage of her dependency, made her his mistress. After painful struggle in which Freud played a minor but not admirable part, she freed herself from her involvement and became an analyst."

Her relationship with Jung was discussed in letters between Freud, Jung, and herself and later was reprinted in a book by Aldo Carotenuto, first published in Italy in 1980, and then appeared in English translation (Carotenuto, 1982) as A Secret Symmetry: Spielrein Between Jung and Freud. The book generated reviews such as Bettelheim's (1983) "Scandal in the Family." In terms of physical contact the romantic involvement may have gone no further than kissing and talk of love, but Spielrein has been referred to as Jung's "mistress," implying greater sexual involvement. The rumors it generated and the subsequent interchanges between Freud, Jung, Spielrein, and others are discussed by Masson (1988, pp. 170-77) Grosskurth (1991) and others.

In a letter to Freud dated 4 June 1909, Jung mentions the relationship and indicates that Spielrein was "systematically planning [his] seduction" (McGuire, 1988, p.228). Freud's response, dated 7 June 1909, was supportive and noted that while Freud himself had "never been taken in quite so badly," he had "...come very close to it a number of times and had a narrow escape" (McGuire, 1988, p.230). Freud focused all blame on Spielrein:

The way these women manage to charm us with every conceivable psychic perfection until they have attained their purpose is one of nature's greatest spectacles (McGuire, 1988, p.231).

On 21 June 1909 Jung wrote to Freud that he had met with Spielrein and discovered that she had not been the source of the rumors about their relationship and indicates remorse about "the sins" he had committed:

When the situation had become so tense that the continued preservation of the relationship could be rounded out only by sexual acts, I defended myself in a manner that cannot be justified morally. Caught in my delusion that I was the victim of the sexual wiles of my patient, I wrote to her mother that I was not the gratifier of her daughter's sexual desires but merely her doctor, and that she should free me from her. In view of the fact that the patient had shortly before been my friend and enjoyed my full confidence, my action was a piece of knavery which I very reluctantly confess to you as my father (McGuire, 1988, p.236).

Jung had written to Sabina Spielrein's mother, indicating that he had moved from doctor to friend "the more easily" because he had not charged a fee, and then made a proposition that he would come to regret--that if she wished him "to adhere strictly to [his] role as doctor," she should pay him "a fee as suitable recompense for [his] trouble" (Donn, 1990, p.93).

In his letter of 30 June 1909 Freud reports that he has written to Sabina Spielrein's mother, as Jung asked him to, and that "the matter has ended in a manner satisfactory to all. He asks Jung to not fault himself for drawing Freud into the situation, asserting that "it was not your doing but hers" (McGuire, 1988, p.238). Again we can see what the problem is--it is seductive women. As for the harmful impact of such behavior on the client, Bettelheim wrote:

Whatever may be one's judgment of Jung's behavior toward must not disregard its most important consequence: he cured her...

In retrospect we ought to ask ourselves: what convincing evidence do we have that the same result would have been achieved if Jung had behaved toward her in the way we must expect a conscientious therapist to behave toward his patient? However questionable Jung's behavior was from a moral point of view--however unorthodox, even disreputable, it may have been--somehow it met the prime obligation of the therapist toward his patient: to cure her. True, Spielrein paid a very high price in unhappiness, confusion, and disillusion for the particular way in which she got cured, but then this is often true for mental patients who are as sick as she was. (Carotenuto, 1984, p. 38)

A disturbing footnote was added to this seemingly incongruous defense of Jung after Bettelheim's suicide when former patients, trainees, and staff from his famed Orthogenic School came forward with stories of emotional and psychological abuse by Bettelheim (Angres, Oct. 1990; Schoener, Sept. 1991; Schoener, March 1992).

In 1913 Ernest Jones, one of Freud's inner circle, had become the subject of a complaint by a former patient to the President of the University of Toronto where he was a faculty member. This patient, who alleged sexual advances by Jones, had come forward with the help and support of her general practitioner. Jones claimed that the general practitioner, a woman, had a lesbian relationship with the complainant, but the credibility of his defense was undermined by his admission that he had paid money to the patient in an attempt to buy her silence (Grosskurth, 1991, p.56).

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel Tender is the Night, published in 1933, dealt with a psychiatrist, Dr. Diver, who became romantically involved with a woman who was a patient. In one scene she asks Dr. Diver if he found her attractive:

He was in for it now, possessed by a vast irrationality. She was so near that he felt his breathing change but again his training came to his aid in a boy's laugh and a trite remark. (Fitzgerald, 1933, p.174)

During the next fifty years a number of novels and movies would include plots involving sexual and/or romantic involvement between professional and client. Most involved male professionals and female clients.

Despite the fact that the ranks of physicians and clergy were overwhelming male, such transgressions were not limited to male professionals, even in the early days. Karen Horney, one of the leading figures in psychoanalysis, was quoted as saying:

As a rule it is better not to have social relationships with a patient, but I am not terribly rigid about it. Generally, I have none or a restricted relationship. (Wolff, 1956, p. 87)

However, in her biography of Horney, A Mind of Her Own, Susan Quinn notes that in her later years Horney had a romantic relationship with a young man who was in treatment with her, something Quinn (1988, p. 378) attributed to "old impulsive ways [which] survived into middle age." Quinn claims that this relationship, begun during the second half of the 1940s, lasted until the end of Horney's life in 1952.

During the 1960's the human potential movement blurred some of the distinctions between traditional psychotherapy and new methods such as encounter groups. The taboo against touch in psychoanalysis was questioned, with for example, one female analyst arguing: seems absurd that any qualified psychoanalyst should be so carried away by contact with a patient, however attractive, that he (or she) could not refrain from complete gratification...(Mintz, 1969, p.371)

Despite experimentation with nudity in sensitivity groups (see for example Maslow, 1965, p. 160 or Bindrum, 1972), only one author argued for sexual contact with clients. J.L. McCartney, a psychoanalyst, claimed to have experienced "overt transference" with 30% of his female patients, including undressing, genital touch, or sexual intercourse with 10% (McCartney, 1966). Although no clients complained, McCartney was widely attacked within the profession and was expelled from membership in the American Psychiatric Association.

The next decade opened with the publication of Masters and Johnson's classic Human Sexual Inadequacy in 1970, inaugurating the development of the new field of sex therapy. Ironically, these authors reported that a sizeable number of their clients had reported sexual contact with a previous therapist and labeled such conduct "rape" in a widely reported address to the American Psychiatric Association convention in 1975 (Masters & Johnson, 1975). However, media accounts of "sex therapy" and the use of sexual contact in research and "sexual surrogates" in therapy left many consumers less clear about what might constitute acceptable in therapy.

Martin Shepard's (1971) book The Love Treatment, based on interviews with eleven clients who reported sexual relationships with their therapists. fueled major controversy when popular articles such as "Should you sleep with your therapist? The raging controversy in American psychiatry" in Vogue (Weber, Jan. 1972). Shepard's (1972) second book, A Psychiatrist's Head, which described an orgy during a group therapy session, resulted in the revocation of Shepard's medical license, despite the absence of client complaints (Simon, 1988).

A feminist counter-offensive began with the publication of Phyllis Chesler's Women and Madness in 1972. One of its chapters discussed sex between male therapists and female clients based on interviews with ten women who reported such an experience. This was followed by two widely discussed Ph.D. dissertations involving case studies of women who reported sex with their therapists (Belote, 1974; D'Addario, 1977).

The 1970's also saw the advent of the self-report survey of professional groups with the publication of Kardener, Fuller, & Mensh's (1973) study of a sample of 1,000

physicians in Los Angeles County. Their finding that 10% of psychiatrists and other physicians acknowledged erotic contact with clients, and that 5% acknowledged sexual intercourse, established the seriousness of the scope of the problem and presaged the ensuing professional debate not to mention a large number of self-report surveys (Schoener et. al., 1989, pp.25-45).

From March 10 to 19 the case of Roy v. Hartogs was tried in New York City. It was widely reported in newspapers around the U.S. and Canada. Julie Roy, the plaintiff, charged Dr. Renatus Hartogs, a psychiatrist with good credentials and the author of a column for Cosmopolitan magazine, had sexually exploited her. Ms. Roy won the suit and the next year co-authored a book, Betrayal, which was later made into a made-for-TV movie of the same title (Freeman & Roy, 1976). While not the first such case, its broad publicity led to many other clients coming forward and presaged the local and national coverage of other cases in by news media.

A major discussion of therapist-client sex occurred in May of 1976 at the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association. The next year a national survey of psychologists was published whose findings mirrored those of Kardener, Fuller, & Mensh (Holroyd & Brodsky, 1977), and in 1978 a California Psychological Association Task Force undertook a large scale survey of psychologists concerning their knowledge of cases (Bouhoutsos, 1983).

The remainder of the 1970's through the present have been characterized by many theoretical articles and discussions at professional conferences, continuing research (largely involving surveys), and repeated efforts to refine the language of professional codes of ethics (so as to have more specific prohibitions against sex with clients). Complaints to ethics committees and licensure boards and malpractice actions related to sexual misconduct by therapists steadily increased during the 1970's and 1980's. There is no evidence that all of this study and discussion, or even the refinements in the ethics codes, changed professional behavior.

Frustrated consumers who had been sexually exploited and concerned professionals began seeking remedies through media attention and changes in public policy. In 1984 Wisconsin criminalized therapist-client sex and the Minnesota legislature created a Task Force on Sexual Exploitation by Counselors and Psychotherapists. In 1985 Minnesota criminalized therapist-client sex, including sexual contact by clergy who were providing counseling for emotional problems. To date nine states have criminalized, and several have special civil statutes covering suits against therapists for sexual misconduct (Jorgenson, Randles, & Strasburger, 1991).

In October of 1984 the indictment of Father Gilbert Gauthe Jr. for sexual abuse of children in Lafayette, Louisiana, sent shock waves around North America. The criminal case was followed by a $12 million lawsuit against the church, both of which received wide publicity. In May 1985 a secret report was made to the Conference of Catholic Bishops at their annual meeting, held that year at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. The report warned that the church had to deal more effectively with priests who sexually molested children (Berry, 1992).

Numerous other lawsuits followed, many of them involving alleged sexual abuse of children by clergy. However, interdenominational task forces in several states examined sexual misconduct by clergy with both child and adult counselees/parishioners. The Washington Council of Churches issued a report on Sexual Contact by Pastors and Pastoral Counselors in Professional Relationships in 1984 and the Minnesota Interfaith Committee on Sexual Exploitation by Clergy published Sexual Exploitation by Clergy: Reflections and Guidelines for Religious Leaders in 1989.

In 1989 two cases of alleged sexual misconduct by priests with young people received considerable publicity throughout North America--Father Bruce Ritter, the founder of Covenant House Charity in New York (Sennott, 1992) and the Mount Cashel Orphanage case in Newfoundland (Harris, 1990). That same year Rev. Marie Fortune's book Is Nothing Sacred? challenging the religious community to deal more effectively with sexual misconduct in the church, was published. Dr. Peter Rutter's Sex in the Forbidden Zone, also published in 1989, generated considerable discussion and media coverage in North America and brought about in incredible response from many victims/survivors of sexual misconduct by professionals. Hundreds of people, for example, have contacted our center about misconduct by therapists and clergy as a result of reading this book.

By the end of the 1980's and beginning of the 1990's a number of church denominations had developed or were working on policies and guidelines for handling complaints of sexual misconduct by clergy.

Sexual misconduct by non-psychiatric physicians and other health care professionals, by contrast, has received considerably less attention until recently. Burgess and Hartman's (1986) Sexual Exploitation of Patients by Health Professionals received little attention by contrast to the books about sexual misconduct by therapists and clergy. The case of Dr. John Story, a family practitioner who was criminally convicted of sexual misconduct with female patients in 1988, was the subject of a major book DOC: The Rape of the Town of Lovell (Olsen, 1989) and has been featured on a number of TV shows. There has also been media coverage of local cases in a number of cities, although nothing in the United States has had the impact and visibility of the debate raging in Canada over the past two years in response to The Preliminary Report and The Final Report of the Special Task Force on Sexual Abuse of Patients of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (both in 1991). Other provincial colleges have undertaken similar studies and are examining the need for change as not only physicians, but other regulated health professions examine the problem of sexual misconduct within their own professions. It is my belief that complaints involving physicians in specialties other than psychiatry as well as complaints involving other health care professions will increase throughout the 1990's.

What have we learned from this brief recapitulation of the history and evolution of our concern about sexual misconduct by various professional groups? It seems that a certain critical level of visibility is necessary before either the profession itself or the community attempts to intervene in a major fashion to prevent or remedy sexual misconduct with clients. What is also apparent from a review of the history of this issue is that sexual misconduct by professionals is a very old problem, and one which has evaded solution for many centuries. Our history also tells us that ethics codes, discussion, and research alone have failed to significantly change the situation. We have tried "Plan A"--self-regulation in concert with codes of ethics--and it has not solved the problem. Twenty four centuries is probably long enough to try any one solution--now it is time for some new initiatives. Hopefully this brief historical overview has provided sufficient background so that we can now focus our efforts on solutions.

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Schoener, Gary. (Sept. 1991). Memories of greatness--memories of violence. Minnesota Psychologist, pp. 9-10.

Schoener, Gary. (March 1992). Bruno Bettelheim revisited. Minnesota Psychologist, p.22.

Schoener, Gary; Milgrom, Jeanette; Gonsiorek, John; Luepker, Ellen; & Conroe, Ray. (1989). Psychotherapists' Sexual Involvement With Clients: Intervention and Prevention. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Walk-In Counseling Center.

Sennott, Charles. (1992). Broken Covenant. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Turnbull, Agnes. (1948). The Bishop's Mantle. New York: Macmillan Co.

Waller, Altina. (1982). Reverend Beecher and Mrs. Tilton. Boston, Mass.: University of Mass. Press.

Washington Council of Churches. (1984). Sexual Contact by Pastors and Pastoral Counselors in Professional Relationships. Seattle, Washington: Author.

Weber,M. (Jan. 1972). Should you sleep with your therapist? The raging controversy in American psychiatry. Vogue, pp. 78-79.

Wolff, W. (Ed.). (1956). Contemporary Psychotherapists Examine Themselves. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.


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Criminal Liability of Clergy for Sexual Misconduct with Adults

I've taken the liberty of reprinting this article written by Mr. Richard R. Hammar:

Criminal Liability of Clergy for Sexual Misconduct with Adults
By Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

© Copyright 2004 by Church Law & Tax Report. All rights reserved. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Church Law & Tax Report, PO Box 1098, Matthews, NC 28106. Reference Code: m67 m29 m37 c0504

Doe v. F.P., 667 N.W.2d 493 (Minn. App. 2003)

Article summary. Ministers who engage in sexual contact with adult members of their congregation expose their church to potentially substantial liability. Many of these cases have been reported in this newsletter. But, such behavior has other consequences. One of those consequences is criminal liability. Several states have enacted laws that make sexual misconduct by clergy in a counseling relationship a crime punishable by imprisonment. This article addresses this form of liability. It reviews a recent case in which a minister was prosecuted under such a statute, and then reviews existing laws in all 50 states.

Some ministers have engaged in sexual contact with adults in the course of their ministry. Most of these cases occur in the context of a counseling relationship with a member of the congregation, but they also can occur with staff members. However they occur, such incidents can be devastating to a church. The minister may be suspended or dismissed, the congregation may be divided over the appropriate response, and the church may be sued by the other party who may claim that the sexual contact was nonconsensual. Some of these cases may result in negative publicity in the media, which can be devastating to a church's reputation.

There is another possible consequence in such cases that often is overlooked. The minister who engaged in the sexual acts may be charged with criminal behavior and prosecuted. If convicted, the minister faces imprisonment. This article will address the potential criminal liability of ministers for nonconsensual sexual contacts with adults. It begins by reviewing a recent case in Minnesota in which this kind of liability was addressed. The article also reviews the relevant criminal statutes of all 50 states so that churches will be able to assess this risk in their state.


Mary and her husband and three young children were members of a church. Mary worked part-time as a musician for the church. The church employed a new pastor who became acquainted with Mary in her capacity as a musician and became a friend of family. Mary met weekly with the pastor to plan the music for worship services. They developed what both regarded as a close friendship. In the pastor's words, they "fell in love" and mutually disclosed intimate details of their lives. The pastor disclosed sexual relationships with other women, and Mary revealed her fear of alcoholism and her dissatisfaction with her marriage. The pastor advised Mary to see a counselor for her family problems and a substance abuse expert for her alcoholism; he also recommended a spiritual advisor for her. Mary saw all three of these professionals on an ongoing basis. The sexual component of the relationship between Mary and her pastor began with hugs and progressed to sexual intimacy.

A few years later the pastor accepted a position in a church 100 miles away. Mary traveled to be with him on several occasions, and many of these visits involved sexual relations. The relationship ended five years later after Mary discovered that the pastor was sexually involved with another woman. Mary and her husband later sued the pastor and their church on several grounds, including violation of a state law prohibiting "sexual exploitation" of counselees by ministers. The court also ruled that a state law making it a crime for ministers to engage in sexual contact with counselees violated the first amendment's "nonestablishment of religion" clause. The case was appealed.

the court's ruling

civil liability of "psychotherapists"

Mary and her husband claimed that the pastor was liable for monetary damages on the basis of a state law making "psychotherapists" liable for engaging in sexual contact with counselees. The statute permits counselees to sue a psychotherapist for sexual contact that occurred

(1) during the period the patient was receiving psychotherapy from the psychotherapist; or

(2) after the period the patient received psychotherapy from the psychotherapist if (a) the former patient was emotionally dependent on the psychotherapist; or (b) the sexual contact occurred by means of therapeutic deception. Minn. Stat. 148A.02.

The term "psychotherapist" is defined by the statute to include a "member of the clergy . . . whether or not licensed by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy." "Psychotherapy" is defined as "the professional treatment, assessment, or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition." The statute provides that "it is not a defense to the action that sexual contact with a patient occurred outside a therapy or treatment session or that it occurred off the premises regularly used by the psychotherapist for therapy or treatment sessions."

Mary and her husband insisted that the pastor met the definition of a psychotherapist, and that the counseling he was providing to Mary amounted to psychotherapy. Mary claimed that the pastor had counseled her, and she defined counseling as, "You just simply go talk to someone about your personal problems." In her deposition, she referred to the pastor as a friend of her family and to their relationship as mutual and between equals. She testified that, when their friendship began, the pastor shared with her information about his sexual activities with other women in other churches. She also testified that when, near the end of their relationship, she discovered that he was sexually involved with another woman, she was hurt; the pastor testified that she was jealous.

The appeals court concluded that the pastor had not been engaged in psychotherapy. It referred to a case in which the state supreme court found that a minister was a psychotherapist based on the following factors: (1) he referred to his sessions with a couple as "marital counseling"; (2) the meetings with the couple varied from weekly to monthly over two years; (3) he brought third parties to the counseling sessions to assist the couple with their marriage problems; (4) he discussed his psychological coursework and used psychological terminology; (5) he conducted psychological and personality examinations of the couple and assessed their personalities; (6) he attempted to modify one party's behavior; and (7) he challenged the opinions of professional counselors, saying that they did not understand the situation as well as he did and that his advice and approach were superior to theirs. Odenthal v. Minnesota Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 649 N.W.2d 426 (Minn. 2002).

The appeals court noted that none of these factors were present in this case:

The pastor referred to himself and Mary as friends; she spoke of him as her friend and of their relationship as between equals. During the period that the pastor and Mary had regular weekly meetings, the meetings were for the purposes of liturgy planning or choir practice. The pastor repeatedly advised Mary to seek counseling from professionals--not from himself--regarding her depression and her alcohol use, and she often discussed with him what her professional counselors had told her. The pastor had no training in counseling or psychology. When asked if he counseled parishioners going through a death in the family, he said he would "visit with them and be with them in their pain"; when asked if he counseled parishioners about substance abuse, he said, "If they came to me, I would talk with them and refer them." He also testified about his own counseling, using the term to mean scheduled, compensated appointments with a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. He conducted no psychological or personality testing of Mary or of anyone else. He did not provide "professional treatment, assessment, or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition" within the meaning of [the statute]. Their communications did not come within the statutory meaning of psychotherapy.

criminal liability of "psychotherapists"

Mary and her husband also claimed that they could sue the pastor on the basis of a state law making it a crime for ministers to engage in sexual contact with counselees. The law provides,

Sexual penetration is third degree criminal sexual conduct and sexual contact is fourth degree criminal sexual conduct when committed by a member of the clergy either (i) . . . during the course of a meeting in which the complainant sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the actor in private; or (ii) . . . during a period of time in which the complainant was meeting on an ongoing basis with the actor to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private. Minn. Stat. 609.344.

Minnesota courts have ruled that a civil cause of action can be implied against ministers who violate this criminal statute. The pastor claimed that the statute violated the first amendment's "nonestablishment of religion" clause because it singled out ministers for criminal liability. And, since the statute was invalid, he could not be sued in a civil lawsuit for violating it. The trial court agreed that the statue was unconstitutional. It noted that "whether a government action violates the establishment clause is controlled by three factors . . . . The state action must have a secular purpose, must neither inhibit nor advance religion in its primary effect, and must not foster excessive governmental entanglement with religion." The trial court concluded that the statute making it a crime for ministers to engage in sexual contact with counselees fostered excessive entanglement because, to enforce these provisions, courts had to determine whether the "advice, aid, or comfort" provided by a member of the clergy in private was "religious or spiritual."

A state appeals court reversed the trial court's conclusion that the statute was unconstitutional. It quoted from the Odenthal case (mentioned above), in which the state supreme court rejected the argument that:

because we will have to determine what aspects of the counseling relationship are religious and what aspects are secular, the court will become entangled in religion. However, [defendant] fails to identify how determining whether a person is providing . . . counseling for the conditions described in the statute requires any inquiry into the religious aspect of the relationship. Therefore, we see no need to parse out secular and religious counseling to apply this definition, and its application does not alter or impinge upon the religious character of the relationship. Therefore, applying the statutory definition of mental health services does not excessively entangle the courts in religion.

The appeals court agreed, noting that "for us to determine whether the advice, aid, or comfort sought or received by a victim from a member of the clergy was religious or spiritual within the meaning of [the statute] would appear not to excessively entangle a court in religion." The court pointed out that whether a communication is of a religious or spiritual nature "is a question of fact frequently addressed by the courts in the context of the application of the clergy privilege."

The court rejected the pastor's argument that the criminal statute was unconstitutional because it singled out clergy as targets for criminal liability. It simply noted that the criminal statute also applied to sexual misconduct by secular psychotherapists, government and private correctional employees, and transportation agents. Like sexual abuse committed by members of these other groups, "sexual abuse committed by clerics during the course of their ministry is treated according to neutral principles of law."

The court concluded that "whether the advice, aid, or comfort provided by a member of the clergy in private was religious or spiritual does not violate the establishment clause by fostering excessive governmental entanglement with religion." It therefore reversed the trial court's decision that the statute was unconstitutional.

State laws making sexual contact by clergy with a counselee a crime

Several states have laws that specifically make sexual contact between a minister and a counselee a crime. Each of these state laws is reproduced below.


Code § 5-14-126

(a) A person commits sexual assault in the third degree if the person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person, not the person's spouse, and the person . . . is a member of the clergy, and is in a position of trust or authority over the victim and uses the position to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity.

(b) It is no defense to prosecution under this section that the victim consented to the conduct.

(c)(1) A person commits sexual assault in the third degree if the person being under eighteen (18) years of age, engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person not the person's spouse who is less than fourteen (14) years of age.

(2) It is an affirmative defense under subsection (c) that the person was not more than three (3) years older than the victim.

(d) Sexual assault in the third degree is a Class C felony.


Statutes § 53a-65. Definitions

As used in this part . . . the following terms have the following meanings . . .

(9) "Psychotherapist" means a . . . clergyman . . . whether or not licensed or certified by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy.

(10) "Psychotherapy" means the professional treatment, assessment or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom or condition.

(11) "Emotionally dependent" means that the nature of the patient's or former patient's emotional condition and the nature of the treatment provided by the psychotherapist are such that the psychotherapist knows or has reason to know that the patient or former patient is unable to withhold consent to sexual contact by or sexual intercourse with the psychotherapist.

(12) "Therapeutic deception" means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact by or sexual intercourse with the psychotherapist is consistent with or part of the patient's treatment.

§ 53a-71. Sexual assault in the second degree: Class C or B felony

(a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the second degree when such person engages in sexual intercourse with another person and . . . (6) the actor is a psychotherapist and such other person is (A) a patient of the actor and the sexual intercourse occurs during the psychotherapy session, (B) a patient or former patient of the actor and such patient or former patient is emotionally dependent upon the actor, or (C) a patient or former patient of the actor and the sexual intercourse occurs by means of therapeutic deception; or (7) the actor accomplishes the sexual intercourse by means of false representation that the sexual intercourse is for a bona fide medical purpose by a health care professional . . . .

(b) Sexual assault in the second degree is a class C felony or, if the victim of the offense is under sixteen years of age, a class B felony, and any person found guilty under this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of which nine months of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced by the court.

§ 53a-73a. Sexual assault in the fourth degree: Class A misdemeanor or class D felony

(a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the fourth degree when . . . (4) such person is a psychotherapist and subjects another person to sexual contact who is (A) a patient of the actor and the sexual contact occurs during the psychotherapy session, or (B) a patient or former patient of the actor and such patient or former patient is emotionally dependent upon the actor, or (C) a patient or former patient of the actor and the sexual contact occurs by means of therapeutic deception; or (5) such person subjects another person to sexual contact and accomplishes the sexual contact by means of false representation that the sexual contact is for a bona fide medical purpose by a health care professional . . . .

(b) Sexual assault in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor or, if the victim of the offense is under sixteen years of age, a class D felony.


11 Del. Code § 761. Definitions

(h) "Without consent" means . . .

(4) Where the defendant is a health professional, as defined herein, or a minister, priest, rabbi or other member of a religious organization engaged in pastoral counseling, the commission of acts of sexual contact, sexual penetration or sexual intercourse by such person shall be deemed to be without consent of the victim where such acts are committed under the guise of providing professional diagnosis, counseling or treatment and where at the times of such acts the victim reasonably believed the acts were for medically or professionally appropriate diagnosis, counseling or treatment, such that resistance by the victim could not reasonably have been manifested.

11 Del. Code § 767. Unlawful sexual contact in the third degree; class A misdemeanor

A person is guilty of unlawful sexual contact in the third degree when the person has sexual contact with another person or causes the victim to have sexual contact with the person or a third person and the person knows that the contact is either offensive to the victim or occurs without the victim's consent. Unlawful sexual contact in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.


Code section 709.15. Sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist, or school employee

1. As used in this section:

a. "Counselor or therapist" means a . . . member of the clergy, or any other person, whether or not licensed or registered by the state, who provides or purports to provide mental health services.

b. "Emotionally dependent" means that the nature of the patient's or client's or former patient's or client's emotional condition or the nature of the treatment provided by the counselor or therapist is such that the counselor or therapist knows or has reason to know that the patient or client or former patient or client is significantly impaired in the ability to withhold consent to sexual conduct . . . by the counselor or therapist.

2. Sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist occurs when any of the following are found . . .

b. Any sexual conduct, with an emotionally dependent patient or client or emotionally dependent former patient or client for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the counselor or therapist or the emotionally dependent patient or client or emotionally dependent former patient or client . . . .

c. Any sexual conduct with a patient or client or former patient or client within one year of the termination of the provision of mental health services by the counselor or therapist for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the counselor or therapist or the patient or client or former patient or client . . . .

4. b. A counselor or therapist who commits sexual exploitation in violation of subsection 2, paragraph "b", commits an aggravated misdemeanor.

c. A counselor or therapist who commits sexual exploitation in violation of subsection 2, paragraph "c", commits a serious misdemeanor.


Statutes § 148A.01. Definitions

2. "Emotionally dependent" means that the nature of the patient's or former patient's emotional condition and the nature of the treatment provided by the psychotherapist are such that the psychotherapist knows or has reason to believe that the patient or former patient is unable to withhold consent to sexual contact by the psychotherapist. . . .

5. "Psychotherapist" means a . . . member of the clergy . . . or other person, whether or not licensed by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy.

6. "Psychotherapy" means the professional treatment, assessment, or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition. . . .

8. "Therapeutic deception" means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact with the psychotherapist is consistent with or part of the patient's or former patient's treatment.

Statutes § 609.345. Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree

1. A person who engages in sexual contact with another person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if any of the following circumstances exists . . .

(h) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a patient of the psychotherapist and the sexual contact occurred:

(i) during the psychotherapy session; or

(ii) outside the psychotherapy session if an ongoing psychotherapist-patient relationship exists. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

(i) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a former patient of the psychotherapist and the former patient is emotionally dependent upon the psychotherapist;

(j) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a patient or former patient and the sexual contact occurred by means of therapeutic deception. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

(l) the actor is or purports to be a member of the clergy, the complainant is not married to the actor, and:

(i) the sexual contact occurred during the course of a meeting in which the complainant sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the actor in private; or

(ii) the sexual contact occurred during a period of time in which the complainant was meeting on an ongoing basis with the actor to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

2. A person convicted under subdivision 1 may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to a payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.


Code § 97-5-23. Fondling child; punishment

(2) Any person above the age of eighteen (18) years, who, for the purpose of gratifying his or her lust, or indulging his or her depraved licentious sexual desires, shall handle, touch or rub with hands or any part of his or her body or any member thereof, any child younger than himself or herself and under the age of eighteen (18) years who is not such person's spouse, with or without the child's consent, when the person occupies a position of trust or authority over the child shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or be committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections not less than two (2) years nor more than fifteen (15) years, or be punished by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. A person in a position of trust or authority over a child includes without limitation a child's teacher, counselor, physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, minister, priest, physical therapist, chiropractor, legal guardian, parent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, scout leader or coach.

New Mexico

§ 30-9-10. Definitions

A. "force or coercion" means . . .

(5) the perpetration of criminal sexual penetration or criminal sexual contact by a psychotherapist on his patient, with or without the patient's consent, during the course of psychotherapy or within a period of one year following the termination of psychotherapy. . . .

F. "psychotherapist" means a person who is or purports to be a . . . (11) minister, priest, rabbi or other similar functionary of a religious organization acting in his role as a pastoral counselor;

G. "psychotherapy" means professional treatment or assessment of a mental or an emotional illness, symptom or condition;

§ 30-9-12. Criminal sexual contact

C. Criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree consists of all criminal sexual contact perpetrated:

(1) by the use of force or coercion that results in personal injury to the victim . . . .

Whoever commits criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

North Dakota

Century Code § 12.1-20-06.1 Sexual exploitation by therapist -- Definitions -- Penalty

Any person who is or who holds oneself out to be a therapist and who intentionally has sexual contact with a patient or client during any treatment, consultation, interview, or examination is guilty of a class C felony. Consent by the complainant is not a defense under this section. . . . Local law enforcement agencies and the bureau of criminal investigation shall cooperate in investigations of violations of this section. As used in this section, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:

1. "Psychotherapy" means the diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcohol or drug addiction.

2. "Therapist" means a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, nurse, chemical dependency counselor, member of the clergy, or other person, whether licensed or not by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy.

South Dakota

Codified Laws § 22-22-27. Definition of terms--Sex offenses by psychotherapists

(1) "Emotionally dependent," a condition of the patient brought about by the nature of the patient's own emotional condition or the nature of the treatment provided by the psychotherapist which is characterized by significant impairment of the patient's ability to withhold consent to sexual acts or contact with the psychotherapist and which the psychotherapist knows or has reason to know exists . . .

(3) "Psychotherapist," a physician, psychologist, nurse, chemical dependency counselor, social worker, member of the clergy, marriage and family therapist, mental health service provider, or other person, whether or not licensed or certified by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy; and

(4) "Psychotherapy," the professional treatment, assessment, or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition.

Codified Laws § 22-22-28. Sexual contact by psychotherapist--Felony

A psychotherapist who knowingly engages in sexual contact with a person who is not his spouse and who is his emotionally dependent patient at the time of contact, commits a Class 5 felony. Consent by the patient is not a defense.

Codified Laws § 22-22-29. Sexual penetration by psychotherapist--Felony

A psychotherapist who knowingly engages in an act of sexual penetration, as defined in § 22-22-2, with a person who is not his spouse and who is his emotionally dependent patient at the time that the act of sexual penetration is committed, commits a Class 4 felony. Consent by the patient is not a defense.


Penal Code, § 22.011. Sexual Assault

(a) A person commits an offense if the person [engages in sexual contact with another person] and (10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman's professional character as spiritual adviser . . . .

(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.


Code § 76-5-406. Sexual offenses against the victim without consent of victim -- Circumstances

An act of [sexual contact] is without consent of the victim under any of the following circumstances . . .

(12) the actor is a health professional or religious counselor, the act is committed under the guise of providing professional diagnosis, counseling, or treatment, and at the time of the act the victim reasonably believed that the act was for medically or professionally appropriate diagnosis, counseling, or treatment to the extent that resistance by the victim could not reasonably be expected to have been manifested. For purposes of this subsection (12) . . .

(b) "religious counselor" means a minister, priest, rabbi, bishop, or other recognized member of the clergy.


Statutes § 895.70. Sexual exploitation by a therapist

(1) Definitions. In this section . . .

(c) "Psychotherapy" means the use of learning, conditioning methods and emotional reactions in a professional relationship to assist persons to modify feelings, attitudes and behaviors which are intellectually, socially or emotionally maladjustive or ineffectual. . . .

(e) "Therapist" means a . . . member of the clergy or other person, whether or not licensed or certified by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy.

(2) (a) Any person who suffers, directly or indirectly, a physical, mental or emotional injury caused by, resulting from or arising out of sexual contact with a therapist who is rendering or has rendered to that person psychotherapy, counseling or other assessment or treatment of or involving any mental or emotional illness, symptom or condition has a civil cause of action against the psychotherapist for all damages resulting from, arising out of or caused by that sexual contact. Consent is not an issue in an action under this section, unless the sexual contact that is the subject of the action occurred more than 6 months after the psychotherapy, counseling, assessment or treatment ended.

Statutes § 940.22. Sexual exploitation by therapist; duty to report

(1) Definitions. In this section . . .

(d) "Psychotherapy" means the use of learning, conditioning methods and emotional reactions in a professional relationship to assist persons to modify feelings, attitudes and behaviors which are intellectually, socially or emotionally maladjustive or ineffectual. . . .

(i) "Therapist" means a . . . member of the clergy or other person, whether or not licensed or certified by the state, who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy.

(2) Any person who is or who holds himself or herself out to be a therapist and who intentionally has sexual contact with a patient or client during any ongoing therapist-patient or therapist-client relationship, regardless of whether it occurs during any treatment, consultation, interview or examination, is guilty of a Class F felony. Consent is not an issue in an action under this subsection.

State laws making sexual contact by psychotherapists with a counselee a crime

Several states have laws that make sexual contact between a "psychotherapist" and a counselee a crime. The definition of "psychotherapist" under some of these laws may be broad enough to include a minister. Examples of such statutes are reproduced below.

definition of "psychotherapist" may include clergy


Revised Statutes § 18-3-405.5. Sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist

(1)(a) Any actor who knowingly inflicts sexual penetration or sexual intrusion on a victim commits aggravated sexual assault on a client if:

(I) The actor is a psychotherapist and the victim is a client of the psychotherapist; or

(II) The actor is a psychotherapist and the victim is a client and the sexual penetration or intrusion occurred by means of therapeutic deception.

(b) Aggravated sexual assault on a client is a class 4 felony.

(2)(a) Any actor who knowingly subjects a victim to any sexual contact commits sexual assault on a client if:

(I) The actor is a psychotherapist and the victim is a client of the psychotherapist; or

(II) The actor is a psychotherapist and the victim is a client and the sexual contact occurred by means of therapeutic deception.

(b) Sexual assault on a client is a class 1 misdemeanor.

(3) Consent by the client to the sexual penetration, intrusion, or contact shall not constitute a defense to such offense.

(4) As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise:

(a) "Client" means a person who seeks or receives psychotherapy from a psychotherapist.

(b) "Psychotherapist" means any person who performs or purports to perform psychotherapy, whether or not such person is licensed by the state pursuant to title 12, C.R.S., or certified by the state . . . .

(c) "Psychotherapy" means the treatment, diagnosis, or counseling in a professional relationship to assist individuals or groups to alleviate mental disorders, understand unconscious or conscious motivation, resolve emotional, relationship, or attitudinal conflicts, or modify behaviors which interfere with effective emotional, social, or intellectual functioning.

(d) "Therapeutic deception" means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact, penetration, or intrusion by the psychotherapist is consistent with or part of the client's treatment.

Note: The Colorado statute does not specifically include "clergy" in the definition of a psychotherapist, but the definition is so broad that it is reasonable to assume that the courts of Colorado would conclude that it includes clergy to the extent that they engage in "counseling."


Code § 16-6-5.1. Sexual assault

(a) As used in this Code section, the term . . .

(3) "Psychotherapy" means the professional treatment or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition.

(4) "Sexual contact" means any contact for the purpose of sexual gratification of the actor with the intimate parts of a person not married to the actor. . . .

(c) (2) A person commits sexual assault when, as an actual or purported practitioner of psychotherapy, he or she engages in sexual contact with another person who the actor knew or should have known is the subject of the actor's actual or purported treatment or counseling, or, if the treatment or counseling relationship was used to facilitate sexual contact between the actor and said person.

(3) Consent of the victim shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this

(4) A person convicted of sexual assault under this subsection shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years.


Code § 18-919 Sexual exploitation by a medical care provider

(a) Any person acting or holding himself out as a . . . psychotherapist . . . or other medical care provider as defined in this section, who engages in an act of sexual contact with a patient or client, is guilty of sexual exploitation by a medical care provider. For the purposes of this section, consent of the patient or client receiving medical care or treatment shall not be a defense. . . . Violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one (1) year, or both.

(b) For the purposes of this section . . .

(2) "Medical care provider" means a person who gains the trust and confidence of a patient or client for the examination and/or treatment of a medical or psychological condition, and thereby gains the ability to treat, examine and physically touch the patient or client.

definition of "psychotherapist" may include clergy

Some states have laws that make sexual contact between a "psychotherapist" and a counselee a crime, but define "psychotherapist" so narrowly that clergy may be excluded. An example of such statutes is reproduced below.


Business and Professions Code § 728. Definitions

"Psychotherapist" means a physician and surgeon specializing in the practice of psychiatry or practicing psychotherapy, a psychologist, a clinical social worker, a marriage and family therapist, a psychological assistant, marriage and family therapist registered intern or trainee, or associate clinical social worker.

Business and Professions Code § 729. Sexual exploitation by physicians, surgeons, psychotherapists, or alcohol and drug abuse counselors

(a) Any . . . psychotherapist . . . or any person holding himself or herself out to be a . . . psychotherapist . . . who engages in an act of . . . 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 . . . is guilty of sexual exploitation by a . . . psychotherapist . . . . An act in violation of [this section] 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.

General sexual assault crimes

Every state has enacted a law making it a crime to engage in nonconsensual sexual contact with another person. These laws constitute another potential basis of criminal liability for ministers who engage in sexual contact with a counselee or member of their congregation. A typical statute makes it a felony for anyone to "engage in sexual contact with another person without consent of that person."

Assault and battery

Every state has enacted a law making assault and battery a crime. These laws constitute another potential basis of criminal liability for ministers who engage in nonconsensual sexual contact with a counselee or member of their congregation.

Insurance coverage

Church insurance policies exclude any claims based on intentional or criminal misconduct. As a result, ministers who are prosecuted for a sexual offense involving a counselee or member of their congregation ordinarily cannot expect the church insurance company to pay for a legal defense.

Other cases

Other courts have addressed the criminal liability of clergy for sexual contacts with adults. Consider the following examples.

Case 1. A Minnesota minister was convicted on four felony counts of "psychotherapist-patient criminal sexual conduct" for engaging in sexual relations with a female counselee. The minister served as senior pastor of a Christian Missionary Alliance Church. He was approached by a married female member who desired counseling for low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, grief, compulsions, an eating disorder, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The first several counseling sessions consisted of a discussion of Bible passages. In time, the pastor began discussing sexual issues although the woman insisted that she had not sought counseling for such matters. The pastor persisted in discussing sex, saying that sex was a "gift from God" and that he was "working" with her on her sexuality.

After several sessions, the woman’s husband and a close friend advised her to seek other help since she did not appear to be improving. The pastor insisted that terminating the counseling relationship had to be a mutual decision, and that it was "nobody else’s business". At the conclusion of one counseling session that explored the subject of grief, the pastor gave the woman a brief hug, which she thought was appropriate but did not want to continue. The following week she asked the pastor if they were engaged in "normal counseling," and he replied that he loved her. The session ended with the two engaged in hugging and passionate kissing.

Two days later, the woman went back to clarify that their relationship would remain "platonic" and non-sexual. At that meeting, the two engaged in hugging and kissing. The pastor gave the woman a rose as a symbol that their relationship would forever remain "pure and chaste from afar" and that he would "maintain her virginity".

A couple of weeks later, the woman returned to the pastor’s office one evening and again the following morning. The two engaged in sexual fondling. This conduct was during her menstrual period, and the pastor assured her that their behavior would "help her work through negative issues about her menstrual period." A month later, the two went to a motel and engaged in sexual intercourse for the first time. The woman testified that the pastor assured her that it was a "good" sexual encounter because he was unselfish. He also informed her that sex between a counselor and counselee was a felony in Minnesota. Shortly after this incident, the woman gave the pastor a signed letter stating "I, the undersigned, have given [my pastor] control of my life--my future--out of my abiding love for him." The two engaged in sexual intercourse on at least two other occasions over the next few months. The woman testified that the pastor assured her that sexual intercourse was consistent with her "treatment" because it would remove her inhibitions about sex and "set her free" from her sexual "hang-ups". A short time later, the two left town at the pastor’s request. At his request, the woman issued him checks amounting to $11,000.

The pastor was later prosecuted for four felony counts of criminal sexual contact. Minnesota law imposes a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for either (1) "sexual contact" by a "psychotherapist" with an "emotionally dependent" patient, or (2) sexual contact by a psychotherapist with a patient occurring by means of "therapeutic deception". Minnesota law imposes a penalty of up to 20 years for either (1) sexual intercourse by a "psychotherapist" with an "emotionally dependent" patient, or (2) sexual intercourse by a psychotherapist with a patient occurring by means of "therapeutic deception". A jury convicted the pastor on all four felony counts, and he appealed. In upholding the conviction, a state appeals court concluded that the pastor was a psychotherapist since he had assumed the role of a counselor, and that he had in fact committed both sexual contact and sexual intercourse with an "emotionally dependent" patient, and that the sexual contact and intercourse occurred because of "therapeutic deception". In concluding that the woman was "emotionally dependent" on the pastor, the court relied on the testimony of expert witnesses who stated that "there is a power imbalance in a pastoral counseling setting because the client idealizes the pastor." The court also referred to (1) 32 notes and cards the woman had sent the pastor, (2) the fact that the woman had "signed over her life" to the pastor, (3) the fact that the woman had violated her strongly held religious beliefs and instincts to engage in what she felt was a very sinful relationship, and (4) the $11,000 she gave the pastor at his request. The court also concluded that the sexual contact and sexual intercourse had occurred "because of therapeutic deception". In reaching this conclusion, the court referred to the pastor’s frequent assurances that sexual contact and intercourse were part of the woman’s "ongoing treatment" and were necessary to remove her inhibitions and hang-ups. In rejecting the pastor’s claim that he had a constitutional right to engage in consensual sexual relations with whomever he chose, the court ruled that no constitutional right protects a pastor who engages in sexual activity as part of religious counseling. The court observed: "These statutes are meant to protect vulnerable persons and allow them to reposit trust in those who can help them. The legislature has recognized the emotional devastation that can result when a psychotherapist takes advantage of a patient." State v. Dutton, 450 N.W.2d 189 (Minn. App. 1990).

Case 2. A minister was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for 3 acts of rape and 8 first-degree sexual offenses perpetrated on 4 women. The minister professed his innocence during his trial, but the prosecutor introduced into evidence several “love letters” the minister had written to at least one of the victims, along with several pornographic magazines and videos found in the minister’s apartment. The magazines and videos were introduced by the prosecutor to rebut the minister’s attempt to portray himself as an exemplary “family man” and minister. A North Carolina appeals court rejected the minister’s claim that the 2 consecutive life sentences constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Constitution. This case illustrates the significant criminal liability that clergy face for acts of sexual misconduct. Of course, this is in addition to civil liability. State v. Woodard, 404 S.E.2d 6 (N.C. App. 1991).

Case 3. A church hired a minister (the “counselor”) to provide counseling to members of the congregation. A female member (the “victim”) of the church had been experiencing emotional problems, including depression related to her father’s death. She claimed that she was encouraged to seek counseling from the church counselor by a church leader. Shortly thereafter, the counselor allegedly called the victim to offer his services as a counselor. The counselor supposedly told her that she needed secular psychological, and not religious, counseling which he was well qualified to provide. He further explained that such treatment was included in his job description at the church. The victim began psychotherapy sessions with the counselor at his office at the church. According to the victim, the counselor quickly insisted that she increase the frequency and length of her therapy sessions and he told her that “religion does not apply here. Your problems are so deep you need more psychological treatment from me.” The victim contends that she became very involved in her therapy and extremely attached to the counselor. The counselor allegedly represented to her that he was a capable, trained professional who could be relied on to assist her with her serious personal problems and who could be trusted to act in her best interest. Some time later, the victim alleged that the counselor gave her the following ultimatum: “I have been giving to you, and I need something back for my services, you must give back to me or I will not work with you anymore.” From that time on, for a period of nearly two years, the victim’s “therapy sessions” consisted, in part, of sexual relations with the counselor.

The victim filed a lawsuit in federal court against the counselor, her church, and denomination. The lawsuit alleged several theories of liability, including professional negligence. A federal district court dismissed the victim’s lawsuit. In rejecting the victim’s claim of professional negligence, the court observed: "In Illinois, while cases such as this one suggest that it may be appropriate, it appears that neither the courts nor the legislature have established a cause of action for clergy malpractice. . . . Moreover, the Illinois legislature explicitly excluded the clergy from the statute which imposes liability upon psychotherapists for sexual exploitation." Dausch v. Ryske, 1993 WL 34873 (N.D. Ill. 1993).

Case 4. A federal court in Iowa ruled that a woman who had been seduced by a priest could not sue her church and diocese for violating the federal Violence Against Women Act. An adult female claimed that when she arrived at church one evening to participate in the choir during evening mass she was sexually assaulted by her priest. As a result, the woman claimed she suffered severe emotional trauma. She later sued the priest, her church, and diocese, on the basis of a number of theories. The first count of her lawsuit asserted that the priest’s actions amounted to a violation of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA, which was enacted by Congress in 1994, declares that all persons “have the right to be free from crimes of violence motivated by gender.” It further specifies that a person who commits a “crime of violence” motivated by gender “shall be liable to the party injured” for both compensatory and punitive damages. VAMA defines a “crime of violence” as an act or series of acts that would constitute a felony.

The woman claimed that the priest’s behavior would constitute a felony under a state law making it a crime for a pastoral counselor to engage in sexual contacts with a counselee. The Iowa statute in question prohibits “[s]exual exploitation by a counselor or therapist.” Iowa Code § 709.15.1.f. A “counselor or therapist” is defined to include members of the clergy “or any other person, whether or not licensed or registered by the state, who provides or purports to provide mental health services.” Mental health service is defined as “the treatment, assessment, or counseling of another person for a cognitive, behavioral, emotional, mental, or social dysfunction.” The woman alleged that the priest “served as a counselor to [her].” A federal district court in Iowa ruled in favor of the woman, and also found that the church and diocese were liable for the priest’s behavior on the basis of negligent supervision.

A federal appeals court reversed the lower court decision for two reasons. First, the woman failed to prove that the priest was her “counselor or therapist” within the meaning of the Iowa statute. Second, for the priest’s actions to violate VAWA, they would have to be a “crime of violence” amounting to a felony under state law. The court concluded that this requirement was not met. Under the Iowa statute, a “pattern or practice or scheme of conduct” to engage in any sexual conduct with a patient or client is a felony. Sexual conduct with a patient or client that is not part of a pattern, practice, or scheme is an aggravated misdemeanor. The court concluded that the one instance of sexual conduct alleged in the lawsuit did not constitute a pattern, practice, or scheme of conduct within the meaning of the statute. Therefore, the most serious violation the priest committed under state law was an aggravated misdemeanor.

This case illustrates a new basis of liability for churches. In those states in which sexual misconduct by a minister with a counselee is a felony, a church may be liable (for both compensatory and punitive damages) for its minister’s acts of sexual misconduct with a counselee on the basis of the federal Violence Against Women Act. Ministers who engage in counseling activities are subject to criminal liability in many states for engaging in sexual contact with a counselee, and so the importance of this case to church leaders is clear. However, as this court noted, this basis of liability is subject to important limitations. Most importantly, the acts of the minister must constitute a felony under state law. As a result, the requirements of applicable state statutes must be reviewed to determine a church’s potential liability under the Violence Against Women Act. In many states, this will be a new basis of liability. Doe v. Hartz, 134 F.3d 1339 (8th Cir. 1998).