Sexual Abuse Epidemic in Mental Health: Psychiatrists Raping Women and Molesting Children

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a mental health industry watchdog, says that amidst the growing reports of sexual abuse and intimidation coming out of the entertainment industry, the systemic sexual abuse of patients within the mental health industry must be brought to public attention. According to CCHR, since allegations of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein broke, 15 psychiatrists and psychologists have committed sexual violations, including those criminally charged or found guilty, had their licenses to practice suspended or revoked, or had civil charges brought against them for sexual violations. Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., reported in his book, Sexual Involvement with Therapists: Patient Assessment, Subsequent Therapy, Forensics, that research studies also suggest that at least 50 percent of all therapists will encounter a least one patient who has been sexually abused by a previous therapist. Several of the sexual assaults were against children, one as young as nine years old while one was only four years old. Dr. Pope says that in a national survey of therapist-client sex involving minors revealed girls as young as three and boys as young as seven were abused. Laura S. Brown, a clinical professor of psychology at the University of Washington, said any sex between therapist and patient “is an abuse of a vulnerable person by a person that should know by virtue of their training that this is harmful.” Further, “This is not just an affair.” There have been 15 psychiatrists and psychologists who were criminally charged or found guilty, had their licenses suspended or revoked, or had civil charges brought against them for sexual violations with patients since early September 2017.

Psychiatrists Committing Rape: Human Rights Group Seeks Criminal Justice for Victims of Psychiatrists

Until the passage of state laws in the United States making it a criminal offense for psychiatrists and psychologists to have sexual relationships with or even rape their patients, mental health professionals could operate with impunity—above the law. With studies showing that six to ten percent of psychiatrists, for example, acknowledge sexual involvement with their patients, that’s a potential 4,700 offenders in the U.S. alone. There are now 26 U.S. states that have criminalized various aspects of psychiatrist, psychologist and psychotherapist sexual contact with patients. Of a sample of 120 mental health practitioners convicted for sexual crimes in the U.S., including possession of child pornography and assault of patients, more than two-thirds of the offenders were in states that have enacted such statutes. Shockingly, some of the sexual assaults in the sample were against children as young as nine years old and one was even against a 4 year old. Still, that’s not surprising given a national study of therapist-client sex involving minors that revealed therapists had abused girls as young as three and boys as young as seven.