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Government & Politics

Lawmakers Propose Tougher Penalty for Sexual Imposition by Health Care Professionals

a photo of Erica Crawley, Stephanie Kunze, and Kristin Boggs
ANDY CHOW
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) (far left), Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) (center) and Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) introduce a bill to increase penalties for sexual imposition by a health care professional.

Lawmakers want to create tougher penalties for health care professionals convicted of a specific sex crime. Supporters said these are people who are in a position of power and take advantage of that trust. However, only a few health care professionals are held to that standard.

Columbus chiropractor Ryan Smith was sentenced to 180 days in prison on 66 counts of sexual imposition against his patients.

State lawmakers said the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. So they proposed a bill to bump the crime of sexual imposition by a health care professional up to a felony, which can carry up to 8 years in prison.

As of now only mental health professionals are held to that standard. Barb Rathbun is a mental health clinician and the mother of one of Smith’s victims.

“The fact that a chiropractor uses the title of a doctor but is not held to the same standards under the law is sickening and wrong,” Rathbun said.

The change only addressed sexual imposition. Other forms of sexual assault by force are already considered felonies.