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Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer > > Sex Crimes > Pittsburgh Home Health Aide Pleads Guilty To Institutional Sexual Assault Of Patient

Pittsburgh Home Health Aide Pleads Guilty To Institutional Sexual Assault Of Patient


In recent decades, the United States and many other countries have stopped imposing criminal penalties for sexual activity between consenting adults.  The gender or marital status of the parties involved does not categorize a sex act as a sex crime.  Age is one of the factors that can render a sexual pairing legally off limits.  For example, it is against the law for a 15-year-old and a 20-year-old to have sex with each other, no matter how emotionally attached they are to each other; one of them is too much of an adult and the other one is too much of a kid.  Therefore, in the eyes of the law, the younger party is too vulnerable to exploitation, even though, if they were just a little bit closer in age, or if one of them was 18 and the other was 23, it would be just another romantic relationship.  In some professions, it is against the law to have an intimate relationship with any of the people it is your job to help or protect; this is the crime of institutional sexual assault.  If you are being accused of institutional sexual assault, contact a Pittsburgh sex crime lawyer.

Pennsylvania Institutional Sexual Assault Laws

According to Pennsylvania law, you can be convicted of institutional sexual assault if you are employed by an educational, correctional, or healthcare entity, and you engage in intimate physical contact with a person entrusted to your care.  This means that sexual relationships between school employees and students, prison employees and inmates, and healthcare employees and patients are forbidden.  If you work in a healthcare profession, you may not date one of your patients, even if the patient is an adult, and even if he or she is the one who makes advances toward you and pursues a relationship.  Institutional sexual assault is a third-degree felony.  The maximum penalty is a $15,000 fine and seven years in prison.  People who are convicted of institutional sexual assault must register on the sex offender registry.

In the News

Until this past summer, Vanessa Callender of Dormont worked as a home health aide for a woman who uses a motorized wheelchair and requires 16 hours of care per day.  On June 28, Callender sexually assaulted the woman while helping her get ready for bed.  The woman reported the assault to Bright Star Care, which was Callender’s employer, and to the police.  Bright Star Care terminated Callender’s employment, and the state charged her with institutional sexual assault.  Callender, 31, admitted to what she had done and pleaded guilty to the charges.  She will receive a sentence at her sentencing hearing on May 29.

Contact Gary E. Gerson About Criminal Defense Cases

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges or a criminal investigation for a felony sex offense such as institutional sexual assault.  Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.




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