Holistic healing is a branch of medicine that considers the whole person in pursuit of optimal health and wellness. Its primary goal is to gain proper balance in life by focusing on the body, spirit, mind, and emotions. Holistic medicine is based on the belief that all people have innate healing powers and that unconditional love is the most powerful healer. Treatment involves alleviating the symptoms as well as fixing the underlying cause of the condition.

Holistic medicine can be a powerful treatment option, which is why many people opt for it, especially when conventional medicine fails to work. You trust your holist healing practitioner to provide you or your children with health care and treatment. Unfortunately, sexual predators exist in the holistic medicine industry and some unscrupulous practitioners prey on patients while at their most vulnerable. Although most holistic providers are trustworthy, caring, and respectful professionals, those who sexually abuse the people they are supposed to treat and care for can do considerable physical and emotional damage.

If you or your child has been harmed by a medical doctor, homeopathic doctor, ayurvedic doctor, massage therapist, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, acupuncturist, naturopathic doctor, integrative physician, doctors of osteopathy/osteopath, or any other holistic practitioner, you have the right to hold them accountable. You may feel ashamed and hesitant to report the abuse out of fear that no one will believe or that the abuse will be covered up. However, you need to understand six important things:

  • You’re not alone

  • It’s not your fault

  • You’re not powerless

  • With proper care, you can heal

  • You need legal counsel

  • The perpetrator’s employer can also be liable for the abuse

At Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, our seasoned holistic healer sexual abuse attorneys understand the delicate nature of sexual abuse cases. While we are sensitive and compassionate in dealing with sexual abuse victims, we’re also aggressive in holding the perpetrator and other parties involved accountable for the harm caused. We will closely evaluate your case and help you understand your rights and options. You can trust us to put your best interest as a priority. Please call us today at 310-359-9451 to schedule a free consultation with our California sexual abuse lawyers.

Sexual Abuse by Holistic Healers

Holistic healing practitioners must not exhibit sexualized behavior towards their patients or their parents or guardians since doing so can inflict great and lasting harm. The holistic healer/patient relationship is built on confidence and trust. Holistic healing practitioners should ensure the safety and wellbeing of their clients. A patient must be guaranteed that their holistic healer will offer the best possible care and put their best interests at heart. They must feel safe to be treated effectively and efficiently take part in their care. A breach of sexual boundaries by a holistic healer can greatly destroy this kind of trust.

By exhibiting sexualized behavior, a holistic healer not only betrays the trust but also acts unethical and may further be committing a criminal offense. When a holistic healing practitioner breaches sexual boundaries it significantly destroys their confidence in them and results in a diminution in trust between the holistic healer, the patients, and their loved ones.

Recognizing the Power Imbalance

The traditional ethics-based rationales behind the regulation are an understanding that sex is not always about sex- it’s about power. Though it may not be unequivocal, the power imbalance is usually an aspect of the holistic healing practitioner/patient relationship. Patients come to a holistic healer for help in solving their health issues. For the holistic healer/patient relationship to work, the patient must feel free to open up to the holistic healing practitioner and this may include sharing intimate details of their life. This information is sacred and must be used by the holistic healer only for the patient’s best interest. It should also be consistent with the client’s health needs.

Often, patients are susceptible when they need healthcare, and holistic healers are in a position of power since they have access to both knowledge and resources that the patient requires. A power imbalance between the two may also be due to:

  • A holistic healer has influence over the level of intimacy and/or physical contact during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures

  • For a diagnosis or treatment to happen, a patient may have to share their personal information

  • A holistic healer understands what constitutes appropriate ethical practice while a patient is in an unfamiliar condition and may not understand what’s right

There should be nothing that limits or interferes with the holistic provider’s professional judgment and the practitioner must be able to provide candid advice to their patient. What’s more, holistic healers are prohibited from engaging in conduct that involves misinterpretation, deceit, or dishonesty, and engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient. These are issues that could adversely influence a holistic healer’s judgment, creating a conflict of interest and allowing the practitioner to use client confidential information for the personal advantage of the practitioner.

When sexual contact is thrown into the mix, the judgment of the practitioner could be clouded. And the patient may feel that they were not able to consent due to their conditions and emotions, or they were taken advantage of, or they gave into impulses because of their vulnerable state or they believed that certain actions were part of the continuing treatment program.

Holistic Healers Who Sexually Abuse their Patients are Repeat-Offenders

Typically, holistic healer sexual abuse occurs when a holistic healing practitioner is left alone with the patient. In any instance in which a patient is required to reveal a part of themselves to the holistic healer or undress, it may not be profusely clear to the patient what is medically pertinent for the process or exam, and what breaches the standard of care.

In instances where holistic healers are invested in fulfilling their sexual desires, this physical advantage makes it easy for them to distort the lines between what is appropriate behavior and what’s inappropriate. Essentially, a patient visits a holistic healing center because she is concerned about her health and she trusts her holistic healer will offer her the solution she needs. This places her in a dependent position that could make it difficult to stop the holistic healer’s inappropriate physical advantage.

Just like other sexual abuse cases, it’s more likely that patients who have been abused by their holistic healer will feel guilty that they condoned the act or permitted it to happen, and this may impede reporting. Also, the assault can result in a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like reaction that may hinder a patient from visiting a holist healer or any other healthcare professional.

Grooming behaviors are common in holistic healer abuse. They do so to create an environment of forced intimacy and find out if his target will protest. This could be one of the reasons most victims of holistic healer abuse desist from speaking up about it. Victims may as well want to avoid bringing serious allegations against their practitioner out of fear that they’ll get in trouble. But because of the relationship that exists between the parties, a patient might not understand they’re being assaulted.

Generally, the portion of holistic healing practitioners who indulge in sexual abuse is small. However, most of these professionals are repeat-offenders. They can assault many patients, occasionally over several years or decades. Sexual abuse in medicine is possibly underrated; this is because few women report the abuse to law enforcement. Most victims are discouraged by the process involved in reporting an assault, which is usually confusing or inaccessible and the reports could be filed in an inexplicit manner.

Another stumbling block is the rule of keeping disciplinary databases a secret. Information about holistic healers who sexually abuse their patients is lacking. This combined with the longevity of most cases further suggests that if disciplinary actions were taken on a holistic healer who sexually abused patients, it does always not hinder them from continuing to practice.

Holistic Healing Centers Covering Up Sexual Abuse

As already mentioned, most holistic healers who sexually abuse their patients are hardly first-time perpetrators. These sex predators among holistic healers have been sexually abusing their patients for years. The majority have successfully managed to avoid the full wrath of the law, curtsey of their holistic healing centers covering up the abuse. Others have used threats, coercion, deception, intimidation, or the promise of free service to keep the victim silent and prevent from filing a lawsuit against the sexual predator.

Sadly, it’s a fact that holistic healing centers tend to cover up for their staff who indulge in sexual crime by either disregarding complaints of inappropriate sexual behavior from patients or tampering with evidence (including deleting security footage that may have captured the acts of indecency), if not, helping the offender retain their job in the holistic healing center or other organization.

What Constitutes Sexual Abuse by a Holistic Healer

A breach of sexual abuse takes place when a holistic healer exhibits, sexualized behavior towards his/her patient. Sexualized misconduct involves words, acts, or behavior intended or designed to gratify or arouse sexual impulses or desires. It is sexual contact made without the other person’s consent. In the context of holistic medicine, sexual misconduct involves a non-consensual sexual relationship between the holistic practitioner and a patient under his/her care. Regardless of the gender of the patient or provider, sexual misconduct goes against professional standards and behavior.

A breach of sexual boundaries by a holistic healer covers a broad spectrum of behavior, all of which can be detrimental. Holistic healer sexual abuse includes, but not limited to:

  • Masturbating before a patient

  • Taking nude photos

  • Inappropriate touching, kissing, or fondling

  • Rape or sodomy

  • Digital penetration

  • Prolonged touching

  • Unnecessary exams

  • Use of medication to ensure a patient is unable to resist advances

  • Critique of a patient’s sexual orientation

  • Inappropriate advances and comments of sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual remarks and innuendo

One of the most terrifying situations is when a patient is sedated, rendering them unable to consent and the holistic healer engages in sexually inappropriate behavior without their knowledge or ability to stop it. Over the years, we have discovered evidence that holistic healing practitioners and other health care providers usually come up with a cover-up story for indulging in abusive conduct. We’ve handled cases where holistic healers claimed to our clients that the sexual touching or conduct was part of the procedure. In such cases, the holistic healer created a scenario where there was no other person in the room when the abuse occurred. The practitioner exploits the power imbalance, the secrecy of the meeting, the trust a patient bestowed in him/her, as well as the susceptibility of a patient. This duplicity inflicts innumerable, tragic, and often permanent damages.

Effects of Sexual Abuse Perpetrated by a Holistic Healer

Breaches of sexual boundaries by holistic healing practitioners are unacceptable because:

  • they damage trust patient have in holistic healer as well as the public trust in holistic practitioners as well

  • they can cause significant and enduring emotional and psychological damage

  • they impair professional judgment. Inappropriate sexual conduct with a patient may influence a holistic healer’s decision regarding care and treatment to the disadvantage of the patient.

Victims of sexual abuse often suffer from long-term mental disorders and emotional. In an attempt to drown the pain that is constantly tormenting and haunting them, many victims turn to drug abuse or alcoholism. With time, many are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorders (PSTD), anxiety, depression, and may suffer from insomnia, experience flashbacks, or feel lost or hopeless. Some victims find it very hard to initiate or maintain romantic relationships due to emotional distress, shame, or flashbacks. Victims of sexual abuse by a holistic healing provider may also experience:

  • Denial

  • Feelings of no self-worth

  • Crying spells

  • Loneliness

  • Nightmares

  • Promiscuity

  • Guilt

  • Helplessness

  • Withdrawal

  • Paranoia

What to Do if You Were Sexually Abused by a Holistic Healer

  • Call the police and file a report. You may choose not to confront your abuser directly but it will be important to let the law enforcement to investigate your allegations. Calling the police immediately can give you an important piece of evidence to prove your claim.

  • Seek immediate medical attention. If you’ve been sexually abused, a forensic medical examination that checks for traces of blood, hair, fingerprints, fluids, bruising, and tissue tearing can offer critical evidence that sexual abuse happened.

  • Contact your attorney to take a civil lawsuit against the holistic healing center. Through civil litigation, you may be awarded compensation for personal losses incurred due to the abuse, including pain and suffering. Apart from suing the holistic healing practitioner, you can as well hold the holistic healing center liable for negligence or facilitating the abuse.

  • Ask to file a criminal charge against the predator. If the law enforcement officials discover credible evidence, they will ask you if you would like to file charges. If you’d like to, accept the police will have your case forwarded to the local district attorney’s office. The D.A. may choose to pursue a case of the state versus the offender. The primary goal is to establish whether the accused is innocent or guilty and punish him/her the crime.

Proving Liability in Holistic Healer Sexual Abuse Cases

A sexual abuse victim has the right to file a civil lawsuit to hold their perpetrator accountable for their actions. In such cases, it’s important to prove that sexual abuse occurred between the claimant and their holistic healer. However, in many sexual abuse cases involving holistic healers, there are no eyewitnesses to these heinous acts. For this reason, the matter can quickly become a “she said, he said” argument between the two sides. This means that each party’s credibility is a big factor when it comes to determining what actually transpired. Physical evidence and similar complaints about the holistic medicine provider can help bolster a claim.

In addition to suing the holistic healer, sexual abuse victims can sue the holistic healing center, medical practice, or the hospital that employed the sexual predator. Pursuing the holistic healer directly may yield less than a full recovery for damages as the person may not have enough money to compensate the victim. Therefore, your sexual abuse attorney may include the insured employer in the claim. Holistic healing centers should conduct background checks before hiring, supervising, and training known criminals in their practice. Some holistic centers and hospitals have been accused of keeping sexual predators despite receiving complaints or they go ahead and quietly terminate employees without making any official reports to the authorities.

When holistic healing centers and hospitals are more concerned about their brand reputation and bottom line than about the safety of their patients, bad things can happen. Staff background checks are not thoroughly conducted, patients are left vulnerable, and follow-up disciplinary action against an abuser is delayed or does not happen at all. However, California law allows employers to be held liable if they knew or should have known about an employee’s sexual propensities but failed to prevent the harm. Even if a case falls flat in criminal court, you shouldn’t be discouraged because it can prevail in civil court. In civil lawsuits, the judge and jury only need to be convinced that it’s “more likely than not” that the abuse happened instead of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal lawsuits. Therefore the abuser and their employer can still be held liable within the civil court system even if they escape punishment in the criminal courts.

Damages Arising from a Holistic Healer Sexual Abuse Claim

Damages in a holistic healer sexual abuse serve to compensate for the patient for losses suffered as a result of the assault. And because of the severity of sexual abuse claims, obtainable compensation can be significant. The specific forms of compensation sought by the claimant will be based on the specifics of each case. There are two main types of damages arising from a holistic healer sexual abuse claim: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are quantifiable and include ongoing therapy and medication needs, wage loss, a loss of earning capacity, and loss of services. Conversely, non-economic damages are much harder to quantify because they’re intangible. This may include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In some cases, a plaintiff may be eligible for punitive damages when a holistic healer is deemed “egregious.” What’s more, the patient’s spouse may have a separate claim for loss of consortium, companionship, society, and the disruption of the family. By working with a dedicated California sexual abuse lawyer, you can have legal help to calculate the extent of your losses after a holistic healer’s sexual abuse.

Statute of Limitations in Holistic Healer Sexual Abuse Cases

California has several deadlines for sexual abuse cases. As such, you should consider getting in touch with us at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm as soon as possible to ensure you file your case within the time limits. Delay will mean that you lose your right to bring a claim and collect any money, even if you had a very strong case. Also, acting quickly helps ensure that important evidence does not get damaged or lost.

The statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit in California depends on if the plaintiff is a child or an adult. If the abuse occurred on or after the claimant’s 18th birthday and after January 1, 2019, he/she has to file the suit within 10 years of the assault and within 3 years from the date of discovery of an injury or illness resulting from the assault. For incidents that occurred before January 2019, the plaintiff may only have 3 years from the date of the abuse to file a lawsuit.

If a child was sexually abused by a holistic healer, he/she should file a claim before they are 40 years old or within 5 years from the date, he/she discovers that an injury or illness was directly caused by the abuse.

Finding a Holistic Healer Sexual Abuse Attorney Near Me

If you or someone you love has been sexually violated by a holistic practitioner, the experienced sexual abuse lawyers at Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm would like to help. Sexual abuse by a holistic healing provider can do lasting damage and seriously jeopardize the health of a patient. We understand that these cases are highly sensitive, which is why our attorneys will handle your case with the utmost respect and compassion.

We stand ready to listen to your story, collect pertinent information, and answer your questions. After a thorough case evaluation, we’ll explain your legal options, advise you on your next steps, and let you know what you can expect from the legal proceedings. We’re not intimated by large companies, such as those owning multiple holistic centers across the state or country. If they’re liable, we’ll make them pay for it. Please call 310-359-9451 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys. If you have a case, we’ll handle it on a contingency basis, which means that there will be no upfront payment unless you win a settlement.