By Bob Katzen

The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill that makes it a criminal offense when a medical or healthcare professional induces a patient to engage in sexual intercourse or touching by falsely representing that the act is necessary for a legitimate medical purpose.

The measure adds sections to the existing rape and indecent assault and battery statutes to criminalize behavior by medical professionals where there has been a fraudulent representation of the necessity and propriety of conduct and adds these crimes to the law on the statute of limitations for other sexual assaults.

Supporters said that under existing law the offender cannot be criminally punished. “I am pleased that my colleagues in the House voted to pass [the bill] as it will establish protections for vulnerable patients and criminalize medical or healthcare professionals who knowingly and falsely claim sexual contact for a medical purpose,” said sponsor Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “This legislation provides necessary updates to Massachusetts’ sexual assault laws.”

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