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Article   |    
Policing Sexuality in a Modern State Hospital
Terry Holbrook
Psychiatric Services 1989; doi:
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The author extends his special thanks to John Romano, M.D., distinguished professor of psychiatry emeritus at the University of Rochester.

Willard (N.Y.) Psychiatric Center

1989 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

In 1985 a grand jury was convened by the district attorney to investigate conditions at the Rochester (N.Y.) Psychiatric Center following the center's decision not to notify police of the sodomy of a patient by another patient. The grand jury brought no civil or criminal indictments, but the incident touched off a wave of negative publicity about the hospital and prompted local police and the district attorney to demand that the hospital report any incident of sexual activity involving a mentally incompetent patient. As a result, the hospital instituted a stringent policy requiring extensive investigation and physical examination of patients found haying sex. This article discusses legal and clinical issues that were raised by the incident, the impact of public scrutiny on the therapeutic environment, and the policing of patient sexuality. The negative aspects of overreporting sexual activity at a state hospital are described.

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