Illegal for psychologist to have sex with client?

It’s unethical to have even happily consensual sex with a patient. My question is, is it also illegal?

My interest in this question stems from a very recent case in which a teacher had group sex in her home with five eighteen-year-old students. This was a crime, and she got five years for it. I’m wondering if there’s a more general idea at work in the reasoning for this law, or whether it’s specifically all about teachers.

Someone more informed on various state laws will be along soon, but I do believe the basic principle is based on forbidding someone who has authority over someone else (teacher, counselor, physician, prison guard) having sex with with said client/student/ward/prisoner/patient.

Right, that’s what I was wondering about. Are those other acts illegal, or merely unethical?

IIRC most of the people who would possibly run afoul of this have professional certifications that make this a reason for suspension/revocation of their licence to practice. Not illegal per se, but you end up trashing your career over it if you get caught.

Do you have a cite for this? I’m sure if we know what she was charged with it would probably help. Sounds to me like a state with a specific law WRT teachers and students as having sex with an 18 year old or 5 of them would be legal.

For prison guards, it’s definitely illegal in all 50 states. In other professions, it probably depends on jurisdiction.

I could tell you one horror story after another about drug and alchol counselors having sex with their clients. Primarily male counselors but it goes both ways. Many stories involve Dr’s presrcibing drugs to a patient and then taking advantage while they are under the infuence. I believe civil cases have been won in cases like these. Not sure about criminal.

Did you look for her on the sex offender registry websites? I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a registrable offense.

Her name is Brittni Colleps. She was just sentenced yesterday.

And to clarify, I’m not asking what she was charged with–I know that she was charged under a law specifically applying to teachers and students. What I am wondering about is whether that law was made because they thought there’s something specifically wrong with teachers having sex with students in particular, or instead whether it was made because of a more general reason having to do with custodial or counseling relationships or something. That’s why I was wondering if psychologist/client sex is illegal, aside from also being career-endingly unethical.

That came up because my wife thought a jail term was appropriate, while I thought she should just lose her job and certification.

There was a case a few months ago where Nancy Grace interviewed the mother of an 18yo and then went on a rant about “teachers having sex with children”. However, the two had been texting etc. since the girl was 15, but both insisted that nothing physical happened until the girl was 18 and no longer a student at his school. Then she moved in with him.

Despite Nancy’s rant about “this perv and this child”, the authorities and the school said they had no grounds to discipline an adult in an adult relationship.

Presumably, if she had still been a student at his school, they could have fired the guy and possibly taken his teaching license.

This one varies enormously from state to state. Check your local laws.

There is a general concept that people cannot truly consent to those in positions of authority - but exactly which positions are covered will vary by state. In my state, the law doesn’t apply to teachers per se- but as it applies to any employee or volunteer providing direct service to those confined to prison, jails or juvenile detention facilities it would apply to teachers in those institutions. Regarding health care and mental health care providers, in NY a patient/client is incapable of consent when the sexual contact occurs sexual conduct occurs during a treatment session, consultation, interview, or examination. I believe the trend is toward expanding the positions covered- I seem to recall at least one state that included ministers providing pastoral counseling, and there was a recent change in NY so that parolees are incapable of consenting to sex with any parole officer who has ever supervised them.

In Colorado, it is illegal for a therapist to have sex with a client, yes.