The United States Code, Chapter 109a, Title 18, Section 2242, Sexual Abuse, states, â€œWhoeverâ€¦knowinglyâ€¦engages in a sexual act with another person if that other person isâ€¦incapable of appraising the nature of the conductâ€¦shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.â€
There is a long-standing consensus in the medical profession that sexual contact or sexual relations between physicians and patients is unethical. The prohibition against such was incorporated into the Hippocratic Oath: â€œI will come to the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male personsâ€¦.â€
In no other area of medicine is the patient in such a state of emotional vulnerability as when they visit a psychiatrist or psychologist. It is a relationship in which the patient can be most easily exploited and manipulated.
But psychiatrists and psychologists rarely consider that raping a patient is rape. Instead, it is euphemistically called â€œsexual contact,â€ a â€œsexual relationshipâ€ or â€œcrossing the boundariesâ€ when one of its members sexually forces themself on a patient, often with the help of drugs or electroshock treatment.
A review of more than 800 convictions of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists between 1998 and 2005 revealed that more than 30% were for sex crimes.
Studies in numerous countries reveal that between 10% and 25% of psychiatrists and psychologists admit to sexually abusing their patients.
A 1997 Canadian study of psychiatrists revealed that 10% admitted to sexually abusing their patients; 80% of those were repeat offenders.
In a 1999 British study of therapist-patient sexual contact among psychologists, 25% reported having treated a patient who had been sexually involved with another therapist.
As reported in 2001, a U.S. study of therapist-client sex, reported that 1 out of 20 clients who had been sexually abused by their therapist was a minor. The female victimsâ€™ ages ranged from 3 to 17, and from 7 to 16 for the males. The average age was 7 for girls and 12 for boys.