Sex-crime loophole is closed

  • Article by: LORA PABST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2010 - 7:47 PM

A measure to ban most convicted sex offenders from working as chiropractors passed the House and Senate. Pawlenty supports it.

Most sex offenders will be banned from working as chiropractors under legislation that unanimously passed the House and Senate this week, closing a loophole that allowed a Minneapolis chiropractor to regain his license after being convicted of sexually assaulting two patients.

The measure now goes to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who supports the move and is expected to sign the bill.

Rep. Gail Kulick Jackson, DFL-Milaca, sponsored the legislation after reading a Star Tribune report about Dr. Scott Fredin, who received a license from the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners in February after spending two years in jail for sexually assaulting two patients in Owatonna, Minn.

"Everybody realized what a great common-sense bill it was," Kulick Jackson said. "If you have victimized a patient or client, it is a lifetime ban." Similar limits are already in place at the state Board of Medical Practice, which is prohibited from issuing a license to any doctor or other licensed provider convicted of a felony-level sexual offense. But the ban doesn't cover many health care workers, including nurses, dentists and psychologists who are regulated by other boards.

Kulick Jackson wanted to extend the ban to all health professionals, but legislators said they wanted more input from licensing boards before broadening the limits.

The Minnesota Chiropractic Association supported the bill, which would become effective Aug. 1. "We really saw [chiropractors] as taking the lead in holding their profession to a really high standard," Kulick Jackson said.

Legislators carved out some exemptions. For example, an individual can become a chiropractor even if he or she is convicted of certain crimes related to an underage relationship.

Also, a chiropractor convicted of sexually assaulting someone who is not a patient or client can seek the reinstatement of a license 10 years after being released from prison and freed from court supervision. But those individuals must prove they have been rehabilitated, said Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona, who sponsored the Senate bill.

"It's a tough standard for that person to climb over," Erickson Ropes said. "The board will be presuming he's still dangerous and he has to prove he's not a risk."

Lora Pabst • 612-673-4628

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