COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When ex-Clintonville chiropractor Ryan Smith was sentenced to 180 days in jail (60 consecutive weekends) and five years of probation for 66 counts of sexual imposition against two dozen of his patients; his victims say justice was not served.
Had Smith been a mental health professional his conduct would have resulted in felony charges, but because he was a chiropractor they were just misdemeanors.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse are trying to change that and say the punishment should fit the crime.
A new bill being introduced in both the House and the Senate would define healthcare professionals as chiropractors, dentists, nurses, optometrists, speech pathologists, psychiatrists, psychologists physicians, physician’s assistants, and social workers; and subject them all to the potential for a felony offenses for gross sexual imposition if the victim is under their care.
The bill would make that felony a 5th degree felony if the victim is 18 years or older and carry a punishment of 6 to 12 months behind bars.
It would be a 3rd degree felony if the victim is between 13 and 17 years old or if they are developmentally disabled, and carry a term of 12-16 months in prison.
It would be a 2nd degree felony if the victim is under 13 years old, with a required mandatory prison term between 2-8 years.
The bill’s sponsors expect it will begin going through the legislative process shortly.