WEST virginia Legislature
2020 regular session
House Bill 4779
By Delegates Dean, Howell, C. Martin, Hamrick, Paynter, J. Jeffries, Angelucci and Steele
[Introduced February 10, 2020; Referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources then the Judiciary]
A BILL to amend and reenact §61-8-31 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the criminal offense of therapeutic deception; and including medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy as medical professionals who are subject to the prohibition against therapeutic deception.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 8. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY AND DECENCY.
§61-8-31. Therapeutic deception; penalties.
(a) In this section, unless a different meaning plainly is required:
(1) “Client” or “patient” means a person who is being treated clinically or medically by a physician or psychotherapist for more than one session or initial visit.
(2) “Physician” means a doctor of medicine licensed pursuant to §30-3-1 et seq. of this code or a doctor of osteopathic medicine licensed pursuant to §30-14-1 et seq. of this code;
(3) "Psychotherapist" means any of the following:
(A) A psychiatrist licensed pursuant to §30-3-1 et seq. of this code;
(B) A psychologist licensed pursuant to §30-21-1 et seq. of this code or a medical psychologist licensed pursuant to 30-3-1 et seq. of this code;
(C) A licensed clinical social worker licensed pursuant to §30-30-1 et seq. of this code; or
(D) A mental health counselor licensed pursuant to §30-31-1 et seq. of this code.
(3) (4) "Sexual contact" has the same
meaning as provided in §61-8B-1 et seq. of this code. (4) (5) "Sexual intercourse" has the
same meaning as provided in §61-8B-1 et
of this code. (5) (6) "Therapeutic deception" means a
representation by the a physician or psychotherapist to the
a patient or client that sexual contact or sexual intercourse with the physician
or psychotherapist is consistent with or part of the treatment of the
patient or client.
(b) It is unlawful for any physician or psychotherapist, or any person who fraudulently represents himself or herself as a physician or psychotherapist, to engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a client or patient by means of therapeutic deception.
(c) For purposes of this section, consent of the patient or client is not a defense, regardless of the age of the patient or client.
(d) Any person who violates subsection (b) of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one year nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to add medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy to the category of medical professionals who are subject to the prohibition against therapeutic deception.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.