Golden Gate University Law Review


Laurie A. Morin


This article explores the clinical and legal issues raised in civil actions brought by patients against their therapists for sexual exploitation. Section II provides an overview of the various substantive theories of liability and defenses, as well as special procedural difficulties and problems of proof in sexual abuse cases. It suggests that the "consent" defense is an inappropriate analytical framework in a malpractice action based upon therapist sexual exploitation. The real dispute should center around the parameters of a therapist's duty to his patient outside of the formal therapeutic setting. Section III examines the statute of limitations problem, and suggests a statutory approach to ensure a victim's remedy is preserved until she is both intellectually and psychologically able to understand and seek redress for the injuries inflicted by the offending therapist.