Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )
  

CHAPTER 1. General Provisions [500 - 865.2]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )
  

ARTICLE 10.5. Unprofessional Conduct [725 - 733]
  ( Article 10.5 added by Stats. 1979, Ch. 348. )

  
729.  

(a) Any physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, alcohol and drug abuse counselor or any person holding himself or herself out to be a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor, who engages in an act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, or sexual contact with a patient or client, or with a former patient or client when the relationship was terminated primarily for the purpose of engaging in those acts, unless the physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor has referred the patient or client to an independent and objective physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor recommended by a third-party physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor for treatment, is guilty of sexual exploitation by a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

(b) Sexual exploitation by a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor is a public offense:

(1) An act in violation of subdivision (a) shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(2) Multiple acts in violation of subdivision (a) with a single victim, when the offender has no prior conviction for sexual exploitation, shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(3) An act or acts in violation of subdivision (a) with two or more victims shall be punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of 16 months, two years, or three years, and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000); or the act or acts shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(4) Two or more acts in violation of subdivision (a) with a single victim, when the offender has at least one prior conviction for sexual exploitation, shall be punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of 16 months, two years, or three years, and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000); or the act or acts shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than one year, or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(5) An act or acts in violation of subdivision (a) with two or more victims, and the offender has at least one prior conviction for sexual exploitation, shall be punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for a period of 16 months, two years, or three years, and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

For purposes of subdivision (a), in no instance shall consent of the patient or client be a defense. However, physicians and surgeons shall not be guilty of sexual exploitation for touching any intimate part of a patient or client unless the touching is outside the scope of medical examination and treatment, or the touching is done for sexual gratification.

(c) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Psychotherapist” has the same meaning as defined in Section 728.

(2) “Alcohol and drug abuse counselor” means an individual who holds himself or herself out to be an alcohol or drug abuse professional or paraprofessional.

(3) “Sexual contact” means sexual intercourse or the touching of an intimate part of a patient for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

(4) “Intimate part” and “touching” have the same meanings as defined in Section 243.4 of the Penal Code.

(d) In the investigation and prosecution of a violation of this section, no person shall seek to obtain disclosure of any confidential files of other patients, clients, or former patients or clients of the physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

(e) This section does not apply to sexual contact between a physician and surgeon and his or her spouse or person in an equivalent domestic relationship when that physician and surgeon provides medical treatment, other than psychotherapeutic treatment, to his or her spouse or person in an equivalent domestic relationship.

(f) If a physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor in a professional partnership or similar group has sexual contact with a patient in violation of this section, another physician and surgeon, psychotherapist, or alcohol and drug abuse counselor in the partnership or group shall not be subject to action under this section solely because of the occurrence of that sexual contact.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 15, Sec. 6. Effective April 4, 2011. Operative October 1, 2011, by Sec. 636 of Ch. 15, as amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 39, Sec. 68.)