Psych Crime Reporter

February 25, 2010

California psych hospital chief arrest only the latest: A partial list of psychiatric child molesters

The February 24th  arrest of Claude E. Foulk, the (former) executive director of California’s Napa State Psychiatric Hospital on 35 felony counts of molestation involving a former foster child is, on its own, shocking.  However, this kind of conduct by psychiatric and mental health “professionals” is, unfortunately, rather common.  Here is a partial list of some of the more notable such cases:

On December 13, 2001, Indiana elementary school psychologist Stephen T. Serino was found guilty of 26 counts of child molestation and was later sentenced to 90 years in prison.  He had molested the son of a family friend 15 times over two years, beginning when the boy was 11 years old, while acting like “a father figure to the boy.”  Serino, who conducted psychological assessments in several school districts, was concurrently prosecuted in a neighboring county for sex acts with two minors, one of whom was a student he had assessed and later took the troubled student to his home, where he violated him.  He was sentenced in September 2002 to 140 years prison.  Hendricks County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Stephanie LeMay-Luken, referring to his first sentence, said,  “I can guarantee that when he is released, if he is alive, he will commit the offense again.  He is a serial pedophile.”

Source:   “Molester’s term in prison reduced,” The Indianapolis Star, November 21, 2003 and “Man found guilty on child sex charges,” The Indianapolis Star, August 24, 2002 and “Serino receives 385 years in prison, Linton Daily Citizen, December 28, 2001.

Alan J. Horowitz: On July 27, 1992 New Jersey psychiatrist Alan J. Horowitz was criminally convicted of sexually abusing an 9-year-old boy who had been his patient and given a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison. In addition to this case there were also charges that he sodomized three boys and sexually abused a girl between the years of 1990 and 1991. Horowitz had been convicted of sexual abuse once before in Maryland in 1983 for sexually molesting two brothers, aged 8 and 12. He was given a five-year suspended sentence on that case. A review of Horowitz’s background revealed that he had a 20 year history of sexual abuse incidents with young patients starting as far back as 1971 while a young medical resident at Duke University. Horowitz tried to justify his crimes by stating that he was a “normal pedophile” and that he had not used force on the children.
In September 1998 Michigan psychologist Stephen Viola, pleaded guilty to sexually touching two young boys he was counseling.  The circuit judge sentenced Viola to six months jail, telling him he should have followed the first rule of the Hippocratic Oath, which states, “First, do no harm.”  His license was also revoked and he was prevented from reapplying for it for three years.  As required by his plea, Viola also registered himself with Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry.

Source: Jessie Halladay, “Psychologist sentenced in sex case,” Times Herald, 5 September 1998.

William Lee Fuchs, a North Carolina psychologist was sentenced in August 1995 to 21 years prison for 49 sex crimes involving children.  One patient, who as a boy had been sent to Fuchs for counseling when his parents were going through a divorce, testified that at his second session with Fuchs, he broke down sobbing about his family situation.  “He (Fuchs) began to hug me, caress me a man would a woman.  He began to kiss my face and lips.”  After that, he began to perform “oral sex on me.”

Source: Andrea E. Ashby, “Victim, dad of victim testify,” Daily Herald, August 7, 1995.

California psychiatrist James H. White was criminally convicted of drugging a male patient until he was unconscious then sexually molesting him and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison.  Police discovered pictures and a videotape of the sexual molestation.  White was released on bail pending his criminal trial when he fled the country.  He was later captured in Texas with a 15-year-old boy.  During the criminal trial yet another man came forward with allegations that White had adopted him out of a mental institution when he was 16 years old and then proceeded to sexually abuse him for nearly 20 years.

Source: “Doctor sentenced in sex case,” Star Free Press, January 10, 1991; Jim Carlton and John Hurst, “Camp’s Psychiatrist Held in Sex Inquiry,” Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1990.

Psychologist Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who worked under contract for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for 17 years and was a recognized adoption expert, was convicted on charges of sexually molesting his foster son for six years, starting the first day that the Department of Children and Family Services placed the then 8-year-old boy in Bourguignon’s home.  He fled the U.S. prior to trial and was sentenced June 30, 1993 in absentia to 36 years prison.  He was extradited back to the U.S. from Tunisia in 2004 to serve his sentence.

Source: “Counselor sentenced for foster son abuse,” Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1993 and “Hearing set for convicted child abuser,” Pioneer Press, January 29, 2004.

Robert Bruce Craft, a Georgia psychologist under contract to the state’s Department of Children and Family Services was sentenced to 20 years in prison in May, 2000, having been convicted of 99 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, 15 counts of felony child molestation and three counts misdemeanor sexual exploitation of a child.  Craft was found to possess over 600 photos he had taken of children exposing their genitals.  Twelve of his photographic subjects were children that were referred to him for treatment by the DCF.  Though the Court of Appeals reversed 71 of the sexual exploitation convictions, they did not reduce the 20-year sentence.

Source: “Psychologist Convicted in Child Cases,” Fulton County Daily Report, March 27, 2000 and “Judge finds psychologist guilty jurist rules after defense declines to call witnesses in child sexual exploitation case,” The Augusta Chronicle, March 24, 2000.

On July 23, 1999 California psychiatrist Burnell G. Forgey pleaded guilty to five counts of molesting a teenage boy who was his patient.  Forgey spent over a year in jail and surrendered his medical license.  Forgey worked as a psychiatrist for troubled youth group homes and was arrested after police discovered that he and a registered sex offender named James Lee Crummel had drugged and forced a teenage patient to have sex with them on numerous occasions. Crummel had met Forgey when he was getting therapy from him and had been hired by Forgey to be his assistant.  Forgey not only committed sex crimes himself but allowed a dangerous sex offender – with a rap sheet spanning decades of sexual assaults and murder against children – access to numerous vulnerable children and teenagers as he took Crummel along when he saw patients and allowed him unsupervised access to the children.

Source: Thao Hua, “Arraignment Postponed for Ex-psychiatrist,” Los Angeles Times, May 7,1998; Thao Hua and Scott Martelle, “Other Possible Molest Victims of Psychiatrist Are Being Sought,” Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1998; “Crummel,” City News Service, Sept. 17, 1999; John McDonald, “Doctor Sentenced in molestation,” The Orange County Register, July 24, 1999.

Psychologist Stephen Andrew Gilmore was sentenced March 9, 2004 to nine months jail and ordered to pay restitution of $10,000 to the victim, a girl he admitted sexually abusing, beginning when she was seven years old.  Gilmore had been in a relationship with the girl’s mother from 1990 to 1993, living with them in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Gilmore would get the seven-year-old to walk on his back for the purpose of massage and, after one such occasion, asked her to masturbate him, showing her how when she expressed reluctance.  The judge revealed that the girl “became shut-down and reclusive” and began to had suicidal thoughts by age 12.

Source: “Psychologist jailed for abusing child,” New Zealand Herald, March 9, 2004.

On August 24, 2006, Texas child psychiatrist Donald Hughes entered a plea of guilty to charges of indecency involving young patients.  Hughes is expected to receive five years in prison for each of three counts as part of a plea bargain.  Hughes was first arrested April 22, 2004, and charged with two counts of indecency with a child after two patients alleged that he fondled them in April 2003.  A third victim came forward later, after his mother read a news article about the first two allegations.  He was sentenced September 5, 2006 to three five-year prison sentences.

Source: “Child psychiatrist gets prison terms,” Star-Telegram, September 6, 2006 and “Child psychiatrist enters guilty plea,” Star-Telegram, August 24, 2006.
On February 3, 2010, The Texas Medical Board indefinitely suspended child psychiatrist William Olmstead for failure to comply with terms of his Board-ordered probation, which required, among other things, that he submit to a psychiatric evaluation.  Olmstead pleaded no contest in January 2009 to indecency with a child and was sentenced to six years deferred adjudication (meaning if he complied with terms of his criminal probation—which is unrelated to the probation of his license by the medical board—then the conviction would removed from his record).  He was also placed on the sex offender registry. According to reports, he was charged after a young girl who lived next door said he’d molested her.

Source: “Board suspends medical license of child psychiatrist who is registered sex offender,” Dallas Morning News, February 4, 2010.

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11 Comments »

  1. Wow. That is quite a list.

    Please add child psychiatrist Dr. William Ayres – a former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry- arrested in California in 2007 for molesting young boys sent to him for therapy. To date at least 50 victims have come forward in California and now the Boston police are looking for men who may have been molested by Ayres there in the 1960s.

    Also, child psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Demasi, arrested at a Connecticut hospital in the 1990s for molesting boy patients. The twist; when he was still doing his residency, DeMasi confessed to his analyst that he was a pedophile and was going out to find himself a young boy. The analyst did not report him. One of DeMasi’s victims successfully sued the analyst.

    AFter doing some years in federal prison, DeMasi was released. Believed to be in Europe or Mexico.

    Also, child psychiatrist Dr. Donald Lee Rife. Educated at Yale and Harvard Medical School. Former president of the Vermont Psychonanalytic Society. Had his license revoked for molesting dozens of boy patients in Vermont and Massachusetts. Fled to Massachusetts, where he started practicing medicine. Arrested for molesting a seven year old boy in his hot tub. Mother of the boy did not allow him to testify, fearing it would be too traumatic. Rife’s license revoked in Florida. Discovered working with children again as a docent at the Salvador Dali Museum in Florida. Fired when newspaper alerted the museum. Believed to be teaching children boating in the St. Petersburg area.

    Also, Baltimore child psychiatrist Dr. Miguel Frontera, who just had his license suspended for molesting boys in therapy.

    Comment by Jane — April 14, 2010 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

    • Well Jane, you’ve certainly been doing your homework. Many of these cases I know but did not include due to consideration for the reader (i.e., length of the article). I just used the cases I had the most or best data on–I went for quality over quantity. However, it is certainly time for a longer list that covers a broader time span. William Ayers however will have to wait to be added, since he has not yet been convicted.

      Comment by Psych Crime Reporter — April 14, 2010 @ 10:52 pm | Reply

  2. Also, child psychiatrist Dr. Walter Presnell, who molested adolescent boys in Massachusetts and Washington D.C.

    Comment by Jane — April 14, 2010 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  3. There was also Florida child psychiatrist Dr. Melvin Wise, who molested twenty girls in the 1970s and 80s before a victim named Linda Hatch went public. Wise’s license was yanked.

    Tobias Friedman was another child psychiatrist who molested young girls- in Massachusetts. He had his license revoked and now lives in Louisiana.

    Comment by Sam — April 14, 2010 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

    • Wise was my doctor in the 80s. My parents sent me to him for serious problems, some of which were sexual promiscuity and suicidal ideation. This bastard made a comment of a sexual nature to me and for YEARS (20+) I’d wondered if it was truly inappropriate or if I was just being too sensitive as a 16 year-old girl. Well, for years, I googled his name, certain I would find something on him and voila, I did! The healing that is taking place now will never take the place of the healing I needed back then.

      I had some very dark times as a young person back then and he made matters worse for me tenfold. I quit therapy soon after that comment and never shared it with anyone as I felt deeply embarrassed. I began healing on my own but the gross indiscretion of a letter addressed to me at university from Wise Psychiatric Services (I was mortified lest my roommates see the return address!) asking how things were going brought back a bit of my turmoil.

      I remember wanting to die and not understanding what I was going through and then Wise’s comment only exacerbating my depression to something unimaginable.

      Thank you for catching him so that he doesn’t visit his atrocious behavior on anyone else.

      Comment by anonymous — November 29, 2010 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

  4. Ah – but William Ayres has already his medical license yanked by California Attorney General Jerry Brown for molestation three years ago. Additionally, he has already settled one molestation civil suit with a victim back in 2005. Five more victims are in the process of suing him. He’s also been kicked out of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry because of his criminal case ( he was once president of this organization) and he has been kicked out of the American Psychiatric Association.

    Comment by Jane — April 15, 2010 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

    • Well, you got me there, Jane. I had forgotten about his voluntary relinquishment of license. it happened long before I started this blog. You will be seeing him up here, too.

      Comment by Psych Crime Reporter — April 16, 2010 @ 4:19 am | Reply

  5. Believe me, it wasn’t a voluntary relinquishment of his license.

    In 2005, when papers published reports of his settling the first molestation civil suit, the California Medical Board hauled Ayres in and asked him to give up his license. He refused. They tried again after the police got a search warrant on his home in 2006 and seized his patient records. He refused. He was so arrogant that he was in the process of trying to renew his license when he was arrested in April, 2007.

    It was only after his arrest made national news that the California Attorney General’s office force him to relinquish his license.

    He neglected to tell the American Psychiatric Association that his license had been yanked- as he was obliged to do. They only kicked him out of the APA in December 2009 when a citizen alerted them.

    Comment by jane — April 16, 2010 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

  6. Commenter #2 mentioned Dr. Joseph Demasi, a child psychiatrist who was sentenced to prison for molesting children. That man was from New York City. Apparently, there is a man named Joe Demasi who tours with Downs’ Syndrome actor Chris Burke – they sing and talk to mentally disabled children. Is it the same guy? The Dr. Joseph Demasi and the Joe Demasi from Chris Burke’s band are roughly the same age, so it got me thinking… Here is the website for Joe Demasi – http://www.josephdemasi.org/bio.php

    Does anyone know whether this is the former child psychiatrist?

    Comment by Mitch — January 13, 2011 @ 9:39 am | Reply

  7. Mitch- I don’t believe the Joe Demasi in Chris Burke’s band and the Joe Demasi the pedophile are the same person.

    Comment by Elliott Ness — January 15, 2012 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  8. You should post them anyway. It ‘s too important a public safety and health issue.

    Comment by Psych Crime Reporter — April 15, 2010 @ 2:17 am | Reply


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