Psych Crime Reporter

October 29, 2009

Washington counselor Greg R. Robbins

On July 31, 2009, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) charged registered counselor Greg R. Robbins with sexual misconduct and unprofessional conduct.

The DOH’s document states that while employed as a “parent support services” counselor from April to August 2008, Robbins provided service to a client, a woman with “mental health, substance and domestic abuse issues [whose] husband was in jail.”

On one ccasion, Robbins gave the client’s friend a ride home.  From the back seat, the friend observed Robbins rubbing his hand on the client’s leg.

In September 2008, Robbins, who had since taken employment with Catholic Family Services, kissed, fondled and had sexual intercourse with the client.

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Mental health counselor used client’s children’s social security numbers on her own tax return; threatened client with deportation

On August 13, 2009, the Washington Department of Health (DOH) placed registered counselor Sally S. DeLeon on suspension with no right to petition for reinstatement for seven years.

According to the DOH’s disciplinary order, DeLeon provided counseling services to a 34-year-old mother of five beginning in October 2007.  DeLeon asked the client if she could use the social security card numbers of two of the client’s children for her own federal income tax return.  The client initially said no, but eventually agreed to allow DeLeon to use them, in exchange for a credit of counseling services of $1,000.

In February 2008, the client gave DeLeon the cards from two of her children–a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl–and DeLeon used the cards to claim the two children as dependents on her federal tax return.  DeLeon returned the cards in September 2008 but did not pay the client per their agreement.

DeLeon threatened the client that she could be deported if she continued to discuss the matter with authorities.

In November 2008, a DOH investigator interviewed DeLeon.  She agreed to provide a copy of her federal tax return but ultimately did not provide the documents requested by the DOH.

The DOH’s document noted the following aggravating factors: DeLeon threatened the client and misled her; she preyed on the client’s limited English proficiency; she did not respond truthfully to the investigator’s question and sought to mislead the investigation; she misused her position as a court-ordered treatment provider.

School psychologist Rita Mueller sentenced to prison for “terror” campaign

Filed under: crime and fraud,mental health — Psych Crime Reporter @ 5:22 pm
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On September 18, 2009, Illinois school psychologist Rita Mueller was sentenced to two and a half years prison for terrorizing several staff members of the Naperville School District with an anonymous letter-writing campaign.

Mueller’s sentence follows a February 2009 conviction for felony disorderly conduct.

“This defendant wrote these letters with the intent to terrorize these people,” said Will County Circuit Court Judge Edward Burmila.

According to news reports, Mueller was unhappy with the way a particular teacher treated her daughter, which sparked a letter-writing campaign to essentially ruin the teacher’s life.  The campaign, which lasted for about two years, widened to include anyone—other teachers, staff members and even students—Mueller believed had some role in the perceived problem.

One teacher targeted by Mueller said she received four letters over several years, including one that falsely stated that her husband was having an affair and contained what appeared to be a used condom.  Another letter—the one which resulted in the felony charge against Mueller—was sent to the principal of the aforementioned teacher’s daughter, falsely stating that the girl was being sexually abused.  The teacher also received a sympathy card saying her children were dead.

Mueller later admitted to sending the letters, including a package of feces she sent to a school official.

October 28, 2009

Mental health counselor suspended following conviction for using computer to arrange for physical and sexual abuse of young boys

Filed under: crime and fraud — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:05 am
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On September 3, 2009 the Virginia Department of Health Professions suspended mental health counselor Charles Jackson Friedlander’s license and privilege to renew and ordered that he return his Virginia license to the Director of the Board of Counseling.

Friedlander, 78, who lived and practiced in Florida, was convicted March 27, 2009 of using a computer to attempt to solicit children for sex (child enticement).  According to testimony presented at trial, Friedlander used a computer to chat online with the father of two boys, ages 10 and 11, and arranged a meeting in which he was planning to physically and sexually abuse the children.

However, the “father” was actually an undercover detective from the Pinellas County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office.  On July 21, 2008, Friedlander drove to the prearranged meeting location and was arrested. Police found leather straps and a riding crop in his vehicle. During his computer chats, he had discussed using these items to beat the children.

He was sentenced July 22, 2009 to 10 years in federal prison followed by supervised release for life with conditions including random drug testing, DNA collection, sex offender treatment and sex offender registration.  He was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine in lump sum immediately.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Kaiser, who prosecuted the case, was quoted in the Tampa Tribune:

“This case involves some of the most despicable facts that I’ve encountered in 10 years of prosecuting these cases,” she said. “He discussed at length wanting to strip them, tie them up with a chain and whip them. … This defendant not only wanted to engage in sex with them, he wanted to beat them first.

“What he was involved in is as dark at they come,” Kaiser added.  “He came up to beat and have sex with two little boys.”

The Criminal Complaint filed by the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida contains information gathered by Pinellas County Sheriff’s Detective, Corporal Kurt T. Romanosky, which led to Friedlander’s arrest.  The contents of the complaint is shocking and offensive and hence is not contained in this blog, but can be read here.

October 21, 2009

Revocation of psychiatrist Reed C. Moskowitz’s license affirmed by state review board

On September 17, 2009, the Administrative Review Board (ARB) of the New York Board for Professional Medical Conduct affirmed the Board’s February 20, 2009 decision to revoke the license of psychiatrist Reed C. Moskowitz.

Moskowitz, who at the time was a clinical assistant professor at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, was found guilty by the Board of engaging in physical contact of a sexual nature with a patient; negligence on more than one occasion; gross negligence; moral unfitness; abusing a patient and fraud in the practice of medicine.

Specifically, the Board’s document states that Moskowitz engaged in sexual contact with a female patient during the course of treatment, which included hugs, kisses, fondling, sexual intercourse and oral sex; he’d engaged in sexual contact with a second female patient during the course of treatment, which included hugging, kissing, fondling and sexual intercourse. Moskowitz impregnated one of the women and then paid for her to have an abortion.

During the State’s hearing in the matter, the hearing Committee heard testimony from both former patients, whose testimony was deemed credible:  One of the women described “the couch in Moskowitz’s office and that it opened up into a bed; that Moskowitz asked her to get fitted for a diaphragm; how the closet light was left on with the door slightly ajar and Moskowitz’s complaining about her make-up staining his shirt.”  The other woman’s testimony included detailed accounts of how Moskowitz “asked her to get tested for HIV; an awkward incident where they inadvertently met friends of Moskowitz’s in a movie queue; a description of Moskowitz’s house; her pregnancy and Moskowitz paying for her abortion.”

“[Moskowitz] abused his position of trust and authority, using the intimate knowledge provided to him by Patients A and B for his own gain and pleasure,” the hearing committee concluded.

The document states that, “Both witnesses were more believable” than Moskowitz, who “introduced evidence relating to the physical characteristics of his penis, specifically that he had a melanosis, [a condition] which causes areas of his penis to have a dark pigmentation,” which neither former patient noted in their testimony.  Further, the hearing committee found Moskowitz’s at times “to be evasive or not forthright in his answers.  When asked if always jogged at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day, he answered “no.”  But when asked when he did jog, he answered at the beginning or end of the day.”

Additionally, the Board found that he knowingly committed fraud in the practice of medicine: On both June 24, 2005 and May 31, 2007, Moskowitz submitted applications for hospital credentialing to NYU Hospital Center in which he answered “no” to the question regarding any pending investigation against him.  The committee concluded that in both instances, he knowingly submitted false information (at the time these applications were submitted, Moskowitz knew he was under investigation by the NYU Office of Professional Medical Conduct).

Lastly, in the course of the hearing, Moskowitz submitted in evidence copies of two separate applications for medical malpractice insurance (one for 2006, the other for 2007), purportedly to support his claim that his “no” answers on the NYU credentialing applications were oversights and not deliberate false submissions.  On both the malpractice insurance applications, Moskowitz answered “yes” to question of whether he was the subject of an investigation by a government agency and whether he was aware of an incident which may give rise to a suit.  On both applications, to the left of the question, there are two pre-printed boxes labeled “yes” and “no.”  On the 2006 application, the “no” box and the word “no” was initially either completely crossed out or “whited out” and then re-written in the application by hand.  The Department then submitted in evidence a copy of the relevant page of the same 2006 application that it had obtained and it was shown that the Department’s version differed from what Moskowitz had presented: both the pre-printed “no” check-off box and the word “no” are completely blacked out and were not rewritten.  When questioned about the discrepancy, he testified under oath that he had not altered his version of the application.  The committee found his answer incredible and that his intent was to deceive the Board.

The ARB reviewed Moskowitz’s request to nullify the revocation determination and have the case remanded (sent back for further deliberation, consideration, review) on the basis of, among other things, alleged bias against him by the committee.

The ARB affirmed the committee’s Determination that Moskowitz committed professional misconduct and its Determination to revoke his license.

(Administrative Review Board Determination and Order No. 09-21, In the Matter of Reed Craig Moskowitz, M.D., State of New York Department of Health Administrative Review Board for Professional Medical Conduct, September 17, 2009 and Determination and Order in the Matter of Reed Craig Moskowitz, M.D., BPMC #09-21, State of New York Department of Health Board for Professional Medical Conduct, February 11, 2009.)

October 20, 2009

State revokes Geoffrey Chipps’ licenses for sexual misconduct

On August 28, 2009, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) revoked both Geoffrey J.L. Chipps’ licensed mental health counselor credential and his chemical dependency professional credential for sexual misconduct and unprofessional conduct.

The DOH’s document details Chipps’ treatment of four females, all of whom presented testimony against Chipps at a disciplinary hearing:

  • Patient A began therapy with Chipps in December 2004 for “marriage issues: communication.”  During therapy, the patient dealt with issues of sexual abuse and molestation, among other things.  In June or July 2005, Chipps “hugged Patient A and held her to him…kissed her on pulled up her shirt and bra…unzipped his pants” and had Patient A perform oral sex on him.  Regular sexual contact followed, before, after or during counseling sessions and in the patient’s home, at parks and in Chipps’ office.
  • Patient B began counseling with Chipps for problems stemming from alcohol abuse in June 2005.  Chipps hugged her (described as a whole-body hug with a rocking motion) and kissed her on the lips.
  • Patient C and her husband began counseling with Chipps for marital issues in September 2005.  He met with C alone on three occasions.  Chipps hugged her (again, described as whole-body hug) and tickled her.  She advised him to stop but he did it again during the next session.  He also made inappropriate comments to C, telling her he had been accused by a client of inappropriate behavior and also that one client had attempted suicide and was suing him.  He also told C that he and his own wife had no relationship with each other.
  • Patient D began counseling with Chipps’ for spousal abuse in October 2006.  The DOH’s document states that during their sessions, Chipps made comments to the patient such as that he’d “like to take you over my knee and spank you,”  “I like it when you lean forward” and “You and I are going to have an affair.” Further, he hugged her twice after one session and held her tight.

Though recently corrected, as late as mid-October 2009, Chipps was still referring to himself on his website as a “Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Level II (CCDC)”–a patent falsehood, in conflict with both the above-referenced disciplinary order and the Washington Department of Health’s “Provider Credential Search” results for Chipps.

Psychiatrist Mohammed Soori loses New York license revoked

On August 29, 2009 the New York State Department of Health revoked psychiatrist Mohammed K.B. Soori’s license.  This action was the result of disciplinary measure taken against Dr. Soori in the state of Virginia.  (The New York revocation was on that rule that if the violations Soori committed in Virginia had been committed in New York, it would would have been grounds for revocation.)

On January 29, 2009, the Virginia Board of Medicine suspended Soori’s license on an emergency basis.  A document issued by the Virginia Board at that time states that Soori engaged in a “personal and sexual relationship” with two patients and “sexual behavior…sexual comments, hugging and…kissing…and/or otherwise engaged in conduct of a sexual nature that was lewd and offensive” with another patient; prescribed large quantities of narcotic pain medications and other controlled substances to four patients without medical justification and without performing or documenting a physical examination.

Further, the New York Board’s document states that Soori may have violated sections of state law in his 2004 license renewal application, for answering “no” to the question, “Have you ever been denied privileges or voluntarily surrendered your clinical privileges while under investigation, been censured or warned, or requested to withdraw from the staff of any medical school, residency or fellowship training, hospital, nursing home, or other health care facility, or health care provider?”

In fact, by letter dated December 13, 1992, Dr. Soori was excluded from the Family Practice Medicine Internship Program of the University of Montreal School of Medicine following complaints from four female patients concerning inappropriate contact and/or sexual contact.  The University soon after revoked Soori’s registration certificate.

Lastly, following a December 8, 2008 urine drug screen in which he tested positive for cannabinoids (chemical compound found in marijuana), Dr. Soori entered into a program for impaired practitioners.  One condition of the program was that he refrain from practicing as a medical professional due to chemical abuse that could impair his ability to safely practice.  He violated this condition of the program.

(Consent Order in re: Mohammed K.B. Soori, M.D., License No. 0101-237535, Before the Board of Medicine, State of Virginia, June 22, 2009 and Determination and Order in the Matter of Mohammed Kanyori Boye Soori, BPMC #09-164, State of New York Department of Health, State Board for Professional Medical Conduct, July 9, 2009.)

Psychiatrist Bruce Bennett placed on probation; admitted inappropriate contact with patient

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.)

October 15, 2009

Psychiatrist Doug Geenens guilty on all 23 counts

On October 5, 2009, Edward Gaschler, Presiding Officer for the Kansas Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA) determined  psychiatrist Douglas Geenens was guilty of all 23 allegations of unethical conduct, which were leveled against him in a petition issued by the Board October 28, 2008.  The Board inexplicably has not posted the petition on the disciplinary section of its site, but a quick search turned up this Board press release about it.

The charges included prescribing controlled substances to almost 20 patients without conducting proper examinations, as well engaging in an  “overnight treatment” session with a female patient and making disparaging remarks about a former partner and other colleague in an open letter to the public, among others. The Board has not yet posted the Initial Order showing the determination of guilt on all counts.

KSBHA attorney Jeff Heinrichs has proposed revocation of Geenens’ license in Kansas.

Geenens “retired” his Missouri license in 2007, while under investigation in Kansas.  Complaints had been filed against him in Missouri as well.

Gaschler’s disciplinary recommendation was that Geenens reimburse the Board the cost of the multi-year state investigation into his conduct and that he be publicly censured for his actions.  Gaschler deferred any further disciplinary sanctions against Geenens to the 15 members of the KSBHA.

The case is expected to remain on the Board’s agenda for December 2009.

For more information on Dr. Geenens’ disciplinary history, go here.

October 8, 2009

California psychiatrist Michael J. Menaster placed on probation for “long history of emotional and behavioral problems”

On September 21, 2009 the California Medical Board revoked psychiatrist Michael J. Menaster’s license.  Revocation was stayed and he was placed on three years probation with conditions.

Menaster’s history of Board discipline goes back to May 1999, when he was arrested for weapons possession, including carrying a loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic weapon in his pants pocket.  Other weapons, including a loaded AK-47 rifle, as well as numerous packages of psychotropic drugs, including the antidepressants Prozac and Zoloft, were found in his possession.  He pled guilty and was sentenced to five years probation.

The Board also had concerns of possible incompetence relative to his treatment of two patients.  An ensuing psychiatric examination revealed that Menaster slept with two guns and knife under his pillow and carried a concealed weapon during counseling sessions with patients, despite having been denied a concealed use permit.  The Board subsequently placed Menaster on probation for five years.

Despite receiving weekly psychotherapy as a condition of his probation, in March 2006, he resigned from a position as a medical consultant for the California Department of Social Services (DSS)—a position he held for only four months—to avoid being fired for conduct considered inappropriate and disruptive.  This behavior included the use of profanity in the office, suggestive comments to female employees and culminated with a response to noise and foot traffic near his work area in which he, while on the phone to his union representative, let out “a very loud and disturbingly frightful scream” (which cause the union representative enough concern that she reported it to Menaster’s DSS supervisor).  Numerous DSS attempts to correct his behavior were unsuccessful.

As a result of events at the DSS, Menaster came again under Board scrutiny.  Following its investigation, the Board determined: “It is undisputed [Menaster] has a long history of emotional and behavioral problems….  It is determined that he has failed to establish that his progress is sufficient to justify permitting him to engage in the unsupervised practice of psychiatry.”

Source: (Decision After Nonadoption, In the Matter of the Accusation Against Michael John Menaster, M.D., Physician and Surgeon’s Certificate No. G-72112, MBC No.: 03-2006-179645, Before the Medical Board of California Department of Consumer Affairs, August 20, 2009.)

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