Gov. Cuomo Signs Paulin's Bill To Protect Patients From Sex Abuse

The bill protects patients from sex abuse by the professional treating them.

Patients will receive more protection under a new law sponsored by Assemblywoman , who represents Scarsdale, and signed into law by

The governor signed the new bill on August 1. It will require state officials to alert law enforcement "when an allegation of sexual abuse has been made against a licensed health or mental health professional," according to an announcement from Paulin's office.

The law is aimed to protect patients under a counselor's, therapist's or psychiatrist's care. Currently under the new state law, any sexual conduct during a treatment session or exam by a therapist, counselor or doctor will mean a statutory rape charge for the offender.

Under the former New York law, state officials only had to report allegations of sex abuse to police if the allegation was made against at "licensed psychiatrist." The loophole allowed mental health professionals to go unreported.

Now, the new law requires that "state officials notify law enforcement of all sex abuse allegations," despite the title of the person treating the patient.

“Rape is rape," Paulin said. "It makes no difference whether the perpetrator happens to be a psychiatrist or other type of licensed mental health professional. These mental-health care providers occupy the same position of trust and authority with their patients. All patients must be entitled to the same level of protection.”

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