Clackamas County DA Expresses Support For Sexual Abuse Bill
Oregon City, Ore. — Clackamas County District Attorney John Wentworth has expressed his support for Senate Bill 974, which aims to criminalize sexual abuse that occurs under the guise of legitimate medical care. Currently, Oregon law allows medical professionals to commit certain sex crimes against their patients while conducting a medically recognized procedure without being criminally prosecuted, even if they are dishonest with their patients about the procedure or its necessity. The proposed bill seeks to remedy this issue.
Wentworth, who also serves as the Vice President of the Oregon District Attorney’s Association, spoke out after his office attempted to prosecute a physician accused of sexually assaulting multiple women. Despite extensive investigation and grand jury testimony, the doctor was not indicted due to a loophole in Oregon’s sexual assault statutes related to healthcare professionals. Wentworth has since contacted legislators in an effort to codify the bill into law.
SB 974 has received bipartisan support and is sponsored by Senators Mark Meek, Kathleen Taylor, and Tim Knopp. If passed, the bill would move to the Senate floor for a full vote. Wentworth emphasized that the bill does not attempt to criminalize legitimate medical practices but instead aims to close the loophole that allows sexual abuse to occur under the guise of medical treatment.