Therapists sexually exploiting patients should be a crime; introduce Lynette's Law in MD.
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Every year in Maryland, those seeking mental health treatment are sexually exploited by their mental health professional. In fact, these cases occur throughout the United States. While more than 20 states have made the sexual exploitation of mental health patients a crime, Maryland has yet to address this problem. It wasn't until 5 years ago that Maryland even required criminal background checks for those seeking a license in the mental health industry.
Lynette's Law was first introduced in Maryland 5 years ago and has been reintroduced each year except for 2017. Lynette's Law passed in West Virginia last year and was signed into law by that state's governor. Supporters of the legislation are still waiting to see the bill introduced in Maryland during the 2017 legislation session.
Many individuals seeking treatment from a mental health professional are victims of abuse and find themselves victimized yet again; this time by the professional that is supposed to be helping them. The professional boards claim that they address this issue, however, the professionals are allowed to "surrender their license to avoid prosecution" and are fined $10,000 (this money goes straight to the Maryland General Assembly's general fund to be used as they wish).
To make matters worse, these victims are not considered "victims" by the state and do not qualify for any services typically provided to victims of sexual abuse.
This petition has been created to urge members of our state House of Delegates to introduce Lynette's Law in the 2017 legislative session immediately and to support its passage. How many more victims will it take before our legislators make it crime for mental health professionals to sexually exploit their patients? How many more victims need to commit suicide before our legislators make it crime to sexually exploit your mental health patient?
Sexual exploitation victims are both men and women. Often the mental health professional that sexually exploits a patient has multiple victims. How many more victims will it take before our legislator takes action?
We ask the Maryland General Assembly to introduce Lynette's Law during the 2017 Legislative Session and to support its passage; and ultimately, make it a crime this year for mental health professionals to sexually exploit their patients.
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