The 60-year-old Ann Arbor psychologist who pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a patient was sentenced Dec. 30 to five years of probation and $5,569 in fines, according to court records.
David Falkner also has to register as a sex offender, perform community service within a year and pay $920 restitution to the 44-year-old woman and $540 to her insurance, the records indicate.
The restitution amounts are part of the fines and costs. Records indicate Falkner has already paid them.
Three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Falkner pleaded guilty to one count of the charge, as well as no contest to a charge of billing health insurance for unnecessary counseling, on Nov. 15.
According to state records, Falkner is still in possession of his heath care license, but that could change now that he has been convicted of a sex crime.
Falkner’s attorney John Shea said they’ve met with investigators from the state licensing agency and there will unlikely be any action until March, when the board will meet that makes such decisions.
Shea said his client can probably expect a suspension, but it remains unseen for how long the psychologist could be suspended.
Falkner has been voluntarily not practicing since being charged, Shea added.
Falkner was convicted under the subdivision of the state’s fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct law that says: “The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within two years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense.”
Falkner had been a school psychologist with the Ann Arbor Public Schools for 25 years before going into private practice after retirement.
The 44-year-old woman told police she began seeing Falkner as a patient in July 2011. The woman told police that her therapy sessions were normal enough at first, but that when she arrived to one in February 2012, Falkner offered her wine and that subsequent sessions involved both wine and sex, according to a police report obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Falkner continued to bill the woman’s insurance, according to the police report.
On March 6, 8 and 15 of 2012, the woman told police she met Falkner in his office and had sex, according to the report. The woman told investigators she was billed for each one of these sessions and that March 15 was the last session her insurance was billed, the report also states. Despite both being married, they continued having an affair until fall, when the woman went to police, she alleged.
Falkner denies serving wine or having sex during counseling sessions, or billing for such things, his attorney John Shea told The Ann Arbor News in the past.
On Jan. 28, the prosecutor’s office authorized the four counts of fourth-degree CSC. Falkner turned himself in on Feb. 4 and was arraigned in the 15th District Court in downtown Ann Arbor.
In police interviews, Falkner said the relationship was “mutual and consensual.”
“Falkner has been forthright from the beginning that he had a relationship with an adult patient that was wrong on many levels and for which he is deeply sorry,” Shea said in a statement to The Ann Arbor News earlier this year. “It lasted for some months, it became extremely troubling for both, and it ended. However, that does not change the fact that the relationship was completely inappropriate and, unfortunately, it hurt people.”
Source: John Counts, “Ann Arbor psychologist who pleaded guilty to sex with patient gets 5 years probation, fines,” Ann Arbor News, January 4, 2014.