On June 4, 2009, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) placed psychiatrist Bruce C. Bennett on probation until January 30, 2010 (the date on which his Washington license would expire). Should he renew his license at that time, the probation would continue for three additional years. In February 2009, DOH charged Bennett with having “crossed professional boundaries in treating Patient A” and that “On at least two occasions in or around March 2006, [he] had sexual contact with Patient A. He also spoke to Patient A about his wife and compared her to his wife” while counseling the patient at Lourdes Medical Center.
Bennett later became the medical director at Sunderland Family Treatment Services. The patient transferred her care to Sunderland.
The DOH document further states that in March 2008, the patient, who was receiving psychotherapy from a Sunderland therapist, approached Bennett as he entered a supply room at Sunderland and inquired of him about medication for sleep. Bennett “turned and walked past Patient A without acknowledging her, ran down the hallway to his office and slammed the door.” The patient later disclosed to her Sunderland therapist, Bennett’s sexual boundary violations at Lourdes.
A day later, the Operations Manager at Sunderland asked Bennett if he’d every been inappropriate with the patient. Bennett “admitted that he had been inappropriate a few times, including kissing Patient A while seeing her at the night clinic. [Bennett] became very angry during the discussion, referring to Patient A as a ‘bitch’ and easily victimized…. [Bennett] expressed no concern for his patient or for betraying her trust.”
Sunderland then fired Bennett.
The DOH noted at the time it placed Bennett on probation that he was currently employed at a clinic in Wyoming and had no intention of returning to practice in the state of Washington. Part of the DOH’s disciplinary order required Bennett to provide his Wyoming employer a copy of the DOH’s order within two weeks of its issuance.
A internet check discovered that Bennett is currently employed at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper.
(Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order in the Matter of Bruce C. Bennett, M.D., License No. MD00039742, case no. M2008-118412, issued June 4, 2009.)