I'm a municipal prosecutor and have just been made aware of a situation involving a dentist taking liberties with female patients while under anistesia. Our police have received two complaints from young adult females who complain that while under anistesia the dentist touched and rubbed on their breasts - all above the clothing. After the "procedure" he asked them for dates and told them call him sometime. My police department has submitted them as Class C assaults because they are at a loss for any more serious charges. Any suggestions for anything more serious? It sure doesn't seem like a class C is a good fit here. The state board of dental examiners has already been contacted.
Sounds like the definition of "disabled individual" should be enlarged by legislation to include an unconcious person to make this a Class A Assault under Sec. 22.01 (c)(1).
Unfortunately, I think they are properly charged.
We wouldnt' feel the need to cover this conduct through a more punitive Penal Code if the agency that handled the dentist's license would be aggressive and take away his ability to practice dentistry.
Again and again, people look to the criminal justice system to overcome deficincies in the other areas of law.
Yes, but what about similar offenses committed by non-professionals. I had a postman who reached out and grabbed a woman's breast as he delivered the mail (yes , he was fired)or the man who came up behind a lady in the grocery store and reached around her for a little grab. It just seems Class "C" is a little light for this kind of conduct. Perhaps we could have a Class "C" enhancement to Class "B" if the Offensive touching is for sexual gratification.
Why wouldn't the Public Lewdness statute (Sec. 21.07)apply to the individual who grabbed the lady's breast in the grocery store? It is a Class A misdemeanor.
Actually.......it probably would have worked even though no other people (other than the victim)were around. I didn't think of that. That is exactly why I need to post these little questions more often.
Interesting. I never had one of these cases so never had thought about how little punishment was available if there is no actual intercourse. I am currently prosecuting a jailer who did pretty much the same thing; arguably, even less, because his touching of the breast was with the consent of the female inmate. Yet we have a law that makes that act a state jail felony. Seems like someone under anesthesia is just as helpless and subject to abuse as an inmate in jail ... maybe even more so. While I generally agree with John that it's not a good thing to keep adding new laws to the Penal Code, this is one where I think I could support a change. Seems appropriate to me.
Depending on the specific fact situation, you may want to consider charging the bad dentist with public lewdness. Touching breast w/ hand above the clothing does count as sexual contact, and although a dentist's office doesn't seem like a public place, PL case law is clear that if the building is a public place, a person cannot make part of the public place private by i.e. locking a door. (Most of these cases deal with peep shows, but the principle is the same.) In any event, if anyone besides the patient caught the dentist, you may be able to prove that he was reckless re: another person present. In Travis Co. we have filed public lewdness cases against a doctor under similar circumstances. Also, you may want to check the Occupations Code provisions re: dentistry. In our bad doctor case, we were able to charge violations of the Medical Practice Act that would have otherwise been Class C's because there was a violation of law in connection with the practice of medicine. I don't know if there is a similar standard for dentists, but check out Chap 251- Chap 264 Occupations Code. Good luck!
P.S. If anyone has had a case dealing with criminal provisions of the Medical Practice Act, please give me a shout. email@example.com
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