Michigan

Pending Bill in Michigan

House Bill 4525 (As Introduced)

Analysis

Sponsor: Representative Jon Jellema

Topic: Amends the Michigan Penal Code (MCL 750.520e et al) regarding sexual contact between mental health professionals and their patients, and between members of the clergy and their flock.

Committee: Criminal Law and Corrections

The bill would make sexual penetration or contact between mental health professionals and their patients, or members of the clergy and their flock a criminal offense, regardless of whether or not the sexual activity was consensual.

Mental health professional Member of the clergy
A “mental health professional” means either of the following:

• that term, as defined in section 100B of the Mental Health Code, 1974 PA 258, MCL 330.1100B.

• an individual who holds himself or herself out as being a mental health professional as defined in section 100B of the Mental Health Code, 1974 PA 258, MCL 330.1100B.

The bill would apply to mental health professionals who provide emotional or mental health services or treatment, defined as “…assessment, diagnosis, treatment, or counseling of a client or patient for a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or disorder or to understand unconscious or conscious motivation, to resolve emotional relationship, or attitudinal conflicts, or to modify behaviors that interfere with effective emotional, social, or intellectual functioning.”

A “member of the clergy” means any of the following:

• an individual who is ordained or recognized as a religious leader by a church, denomination, religious association, or religious sect.

• a lay person who provides spiritual guidance, aid, or comfort on behalf of a church.

• an individual who serves as a youth pastor, youth counselor, or camp counselor, or a substantially similar position for a church, denomination, religious association, or religious sect.

• an individual who holds himself or herself out as being an individual described as above.

The bill would apply to members of the clergy who “….provide emotional or mental health services or treatment, spiritual counseling, spiritual advice, or aid and comfort to the victim….”

Additional provisions and punitive actions

In both cases, the mental health professional or clergy will have committed a felony (third degree criminal sexual conduct if penetration occurs) or a misdemeanor (fourth degree criminal sexual conduct if sexual contact occurs) during or within 2 years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse.

MICHIGAN
750.520b Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree; circumstances; felony; consecutive terms.

Sec. 520b.

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exists:

(a) That other person is under 13 years of age.

(b) That other person is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and any of the following:

(i) The actor is a member of the same household as the victim.

(ii) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.

(iii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

(iv) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled.

(v) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(vi) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident, and the sexual penetration occurs during the period of that other person’s residency. As used in this subparagraph, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

(c) Sexual penetration occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony.

(d) The actor is aided or abetted by 1 or more other persons and either of the following circumstances exists:

(i) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(ii) The actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the circumstances listed in subdivision (f).

(e) The actor is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.

(f) The actor causes personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:

(i) When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.

(ii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats.

(iii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute this threat. As used in this subdivision, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.

(iv) When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.

(v) When the actor, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.

(g) The actor causes personal injury to the victim, and the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(h) That other person is mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and any of the following:

(i) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.

(ii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

(2) Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is a felony punishable as follows:

(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), by imprisonment for life or for any term of years.

(b) For a violation that is committed by an individual 17 years of age or older against an individual less than 13 years of age by imprisonment for life or any term of years, but not less than 25 years.

(c) For a violation that is committed by an individual 18 years of age or older against an individual less than 13 years of age, by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole if the person was previously convicted of a violation of this section or section 520c, 520d, 520e, or 520g committed against an individual less than 13 years of age or a violation of law of the United States, another state or political subdivision substantially corresponding to a violation of this section or section 520c, 520d, 520e, or 520g committed against an individual less than 13 years of age.

(d) In addition to any other penalty imposed under subdivision (a) or (b), the court shall sentence the defendant to lifetime electronic monitoring under section 520n.

(3) The court may order a term of imprisonment imposed under this section to be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same transaction.
Constitutionality: The provision in the criminal sexual conduct statute which permits elevation of a criminal sexual conduct offense from a lesser to a higher degree on the basis of proof of personal injury to the victim in the form of mental anguish is not unconstitutionally vague. People v Petrella, 424 Mich 221; 380 NW2d 11 (1985).

© 2015 Legislative Council, State of Michigan

 

 

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