Psych Crime Reporter

August 26, 2010

Anger management counselor sentenced to one year prison; pulled gun on federal Marshalls in traffic incident

Filed under: anger management — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:21 am
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On July 23, 2010, the Virginia Department of Health Professions suspended the licenses of professional counselor and marriage & family therapist Jose Luis Avila.

This action was based on Avila’s June 29, 2010 conviction for Assaulting a Federal Law Enforcement Officer while Engaged in the Performance of his Official Duties, a felony, for which Avila was sentenced to twelve months in prison (USA v. Avila, Case 1:10CR00133-001, USM No. 75001-083, United State District Court, Eastern District of Virginia).

Avila worked as an anger management counselor.
According to court documents, on Jan. 25, 2010, Avila honked his horn at two men who had just returned to their cars. Unbeknownst to Avila, the two men were federal Marshalls who had just returned from completing a witness interview. Avila initially left the scene after one of the men waved him around. Avila then turned his car around and pointed a loaded firearm at them. The Marshals apprehended Avila and recovered the firearm after a brief pursuit.
Avila is also required to be on two years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

Source: Judgment in a Criminal Case, USA v. Avila, Case 1:10CR00133-001, USM No. 75001-083, United State District Court, Eastern District of Virginia and Order in Re: Jose Luis Avila, L.P.C, M.F.T., License Nos. 0701-002091 and 0717-000500, Before the Department of Health Professionals, State of Virginia. and “Anger management counselor in prison for assault,” Alexandria News, August 9, 2010.

UK psychiatrist Salim Nayani banned from practice for hugging, kissing patient

Filed under: psychiatrist,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:02 am
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On or about August 8, 2010, the UK General Medical Council (GMC) banned psychiatrist Salim Nayani from practicing medicine. According to evidence presented at hearing, Nayani hugged and kissed a vulnerable female patient, bombarded her with phone calls and told her he’d had a vasectomy.

A hearing before the GMC was told Nayani called the woman 150 times by mobile phone over a two-year period from April 2004 to April 2006. He began treating the patient in December 2003.

An investigation concluded Nayani was guilty of gross misconduct and had breached his duty of care towards a vulnerable patient by conducting an inappropriate relationship with her. Officials subsequently referred the issue to the GMC for consideration.

Nayani, who did not appear at the hearing to defend himself, was investigated by the police but the panel heard that UK law enforcement services decided not to proceed with a case against him.

A GMC panel spokesman said: “The panel has been provided with substantial written evidence from the interviews conducted between the police and Dr. Nayani, and the trust and Dr Nayani, in which he has made a number of admissions.”

The panel found that Dr Nayani overstepped the boundaries between a patient and doctor when contacting Patient A by mobile phone, taking her to a restaurant, discussing personal issues with her, sending her a greeting card, taking her to her accommodation and kissing and hugging her.

The spokesman said: “These actions are exacerbated given the serious nature of Patient A’s vulnerability, and could have misled her to believe that this relationship was more than just a clinical relationship between doctor and patient. Doctors occupy a position of trust and the panel found Dr. Nayani abused that trust.”

The panel also heard that Nayani was given an interim suspension from practising by the GMC in 2008 but that he still worked on nine occasions without telling his employers, Capita Health Solutions, Health Management Ltd and The Police Medicals Appeal Boards, about his ban.

Source: Dan Martin, “Psychiatrist banned over relationship with patient,” Leicester Mercury, August 8, 2010.

Tennessee medical board revokes license of psychiatrist Settimio “Sam” Castellani for patient sexual favors

Filed under: psychiatrist,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 12:31 am
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On July 20, 2010, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners permanently revoked the license of psychiatrist Settimio “Sam” Castellani for unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct.

The Board’s “Findings of Fact” states that on or about March 23, 2009, during an office visit, Castellani either coerced a patient (identified as “T.S.”) to perform oral sex on him or engaged in consensual sex with the patient.

Castellani admitted to law enforcement investigators that he had engaged in oral sex with T.S. and that he had had other patients perform sexual favors for him.

In addition to revocation, Castellani is also required to pay the Board their costs for investigating and prosecuting its case against him–which could amount to as much as $10,000.

Source: Agreed Order in the Matter of Settimio Castellani, M.D., Tennessee license No. 19715, Docket No. 17.18-103651A, Tennessee Department of Health.

August 24, 2010

Arizona mental health board revokes social worker Mary Pat Sullivan’s license for sex with patient

Filed under: psychologist,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:48 am
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On or about July 9, 2010, licensed clinical social worker Mary Pat Sullivan surrendered her license to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

According to the Board’s published information about the case, Sullivan began treating a client in September 2007. In October 2007, Sullivan initiated an intimate sexual relationship with the client which lasted approximately 15 months. While engaged in said relationship, Sullivan continued to provide individual and group psychotherapy services to the client.

In November 2008, the client relapsed, concurrent with Sullivan beginning to end the relationship. Though the sexual relationship lasted until February 2009, Sullivan continued to provide professional services to the client until late 2009.

Sullivan did not obtain a signed consent form from her clients and her progress notes on the client did not include the duration of sessions or the signature date. Sullivan’s surrender is deemed by the Board to be a revocation.

Source: Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Adverse Action Tracking Form 2010.

Psychiatrist Jack Gray lost medical licenses in Florida and Tennessee; still licensed in Oklahoma?

Filed under: chronic pain,psychiatric drug side effects,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:14 am
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On August 16, 2010, the Tennessee Department of Health revoked the medical license of psychiatrist Jack K. Gray, Jr. Tennessee’s action against Gray was based on Gray’s voluntarily relinquishment of his license to practice medicine in the State of Florida.

The reasons for the Florida action are as follows:

From 1997 through August 27, 2004, Gray provided treatment to a 55-year-old male patient with a history of chronic back pain and depression due to a work-related accident from 1987 which resulted in four crushed vertebrae. The patient was then treated with Prozac and later started on Oxycontin to manage his low back pain.

Gray’s medical records do not contain a record of an initial evaluation or examination or any notes that would indicate a reason why Gray chose the treatment plan that he did. Treatment started monthly until 2002 and moved to every three to four months.

Gray prescribed various psychotropic medications including the antidepressant medications Effexor and Prozac, as well as a benzodiazepine Valium for management of spasms associated with his painful condition. Gray provided prescriptions for Soma, as well as Ambien, a sleep-inducing medication.

The core of the treatment and the only medication taken throughout the entire course was the opiod agonist oxycodone in the long-acting form of Oxycontin. The patient was escalated from an initial 80 mg twice daily to 480 twice daily for several years until his death. The patient also received an antipsychotic medication, Seroquel, given to him for the purpose of treating insomnia as well as “agitation.”

The patient was not asked to sign a controlled substance agreement authorizing Gray to be the only treating physician prescribing antidepressant and pain medications. There was no documentation of urine toxicology screens, pill counts, or pharmacy surveillance having been performed. Gray postdated several prescriptions for schedule II medications, those with a high potential for abuse and severe psychological and physical dependence.

The patient last saw Gray on August 27, 2004 and a follow-up appointment was scheduled for January 7, 2005, however the patient died on October 16, 2004. The coroner found excessively high levels of oxycodone in the patient.

Among other things, Gray failed to:

Prepare any documentation following physical examination of the patient, including instances when the patient reported worsening or other change in the severity of his condition.

Set reasonably frequent follow-up visits given the treatment included the use of opiods. (The patient weighed 120 pounds and was taking over 900 mg of Oxycodone daily. A prudent physician would have considered seeing such a patient at a minimum of every other month.)

Assess the presence of aberrant drug behavior and opiod therapy-related side effects as expected of a prudent physician.

Sufficiently document the process of obtaining informed consent from the patient covering the risk of treatment with controlled substances.

In summary, the Florida Board found that Gray failed to practice medicine with the level of care, skill and treatment of the patient as recognized by a reasonably prudent physician.

The website of the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shows that, despite the loss of his Florida and Tennessee licenses, Gray still has an active license in Oklahoma.

Source: Entry on Jack K. Gray in Disciplinary Action Report, Tennessee Department of Health, July 2010, pg. 2 and Final Order, Department of Health, Petitioner vs. Jack K. Gray, Jr., M.D., Respondent, DOH case no. 2004-37880, license no. ME0057877.

Content used with permission of Citizens Commission on Human Rights Psychcrime.org website.

State suspends psychologist Christine Frydenborg (aka Dargon) for three years

Filed under: mental health,psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:56 am
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On October 16, 2009, the State of New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice (“Board”) suspended psychologist Christine E. Frydenborg’s (aka Christine F. Dargon) license for not less than three years for engaging in multiple relationships.

In August 2007, the Board received a complaint from a former patient of Frydenborg’s, alleging that she developed multiple relationships with the patient and her family involving participation in Frydenborg’s theatre company and other social relationships which later deteriorated. The patient claimed that these multiple relationships caused emotional harm to the family and the loss of the beneficial aspects of the therapeutic relationship.

Frydenborg began treating the patient in November 2006 and further began a treatment relationship with the patient’s husband and one of her three children. Frydenborg encouraged the daughter to become involved in a community theatre group to boost her self-confidence. The patient and her family became involved in two theatre productions that Frydenborg produced, directed and acted in.

The patient invited Frydenborg to one child’s birthday party, which Frydenborg attended briefly. Further, the patient and her husband installed a new floor in Frydenborg’s in-home office and helped move her office into the in-home office. The patient and her husband refused monetary payment for the services but did accept payment in the form of a one-week stay in Frydenborg’s time-share in the Berkshires on the condition that Frydenborg joined them. She agreed and vacationed with them in a neighboring unit during the same one-week period.

Frydenborg failed to maintain accurate treatment and billing records for each family member and the services provided for each and further failed to provide a complete copy of the patient’s treatment record to an outside agency that requested the copy to determine the patient’s eligibility for the agency’s benefits.

Frydenborg failed to appropriately seek professional assistance to address her concerns relating to resolving the boundary transgressions with the patient and her family and failed to appropriately terminate her treating the patient and family members.

Source: Settlement Agreement in the Matter of Christine Frydenborg, Ph.D., license no. 929, State of New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice, October 16, 2009.

Story used with permission of Citizens Commission on Human Rights International.

August 16, 2010

Psychiatrist Joel S. Dreyer loses license following federal drug conviction

Filed under: chronic pain,crime and fraud,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 12:46 am
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On August 13, 2010, psychiatrist Joel Stanley Dreyer surrendered his license to the Medical Board of California.  This action was in response to charges issued by the Board against Dreyer, of which he admitted to “the complete truth and accuracy of every charge and allegation” in four of the eleven Board charges against him–most of which relate to a federal criminal conviction for the unlawful distribution of controlled substances.

On September 21, 2009, Dreyer was was convicted of possession with intent to distribute the oxycodone and unlawful distribution of oxycodone/Percocet [USA v Dreyer, USDC Central District, Eastern Division, Case No. EDCR 08-00041(A) SGL] .

These drugs are dangerous and addictive narcotics whose distribution is controlled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

In July 2007, Dreyer was arrested for unlawfully prescribing controlled substances in exchange for cash.  The drug-dealing psychiatrist had been prescribing large amounts of addictive drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Xanax to seemingly young and healthy patients for $100 per prescription, not only from his office but also after meeting them at places such as parking lots and restaurants, where he would fill out the prescriptions.

According to an affidavit in support of the federal criminal complaint, Dreyer’s practice was “permeated with fraud” and he prescribed drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and steroids for no legitimate medical reason.

At least two people prescribed powerful drugs by Dreyer died of overdoses.

Source: Stipulated Surrender of License and Order, in the Matter of the First Amended Accusation Against Joel Stanley Dreyer, M.D., Physician and Surgeon Certificate C31198, Case No. 09-2005-165184, Medical Board of California.

August 13, 2010

California custody evaluator Roy W. Bradbury was unqualified to serve in the courts; case now under review

Filed under: Divorce and custody,mental health counselor,psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:42 pm
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The following story ran in the August 6, 2010 edition of the San Bernardino County  Sentinel:

The man who did psychological evaluations of children involved in divorce cases in San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange counties, guiding the courts in determining custody, and whose recommendations controlled the fate of thousands of individuals for over a decade took his own life earlier this year.

The death of Dr. Roy W. Bradbury, who was a court appointed expert for so-called 730 evaluations, has thrown into question the validity of the determinations that were made in hundreds of divorce cases in San Bernardino County.

Bradbury worked with lawyers, known as minor counsels, who were appointed by the court to represent children caught in the middle of the divorce of their parents.

Bradbury admitted under oath that he had lacked the proper licensing updates with regard to domestic violence since 2003.

Those minor counsels would recommend interviews with and reports on the children, known as 730 evaluations, to determine the child’s state of mind, preference toward one parent or the other and to make an evaluation as to which parent should get primary custody of the child.

For his work, Bradbury was paid $120 per hour, or in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000 for each 730 evaluation he delivered.

In virtually all cases in which Bradbury was brought in as an expert witness, the court made a custody decision in accordance with his recommendations.

Bradbury was deemed so credible, that judges routinely overlooked contradictory opinions rendered by other psychologists or evaluators brought in on the same cases.

For years, however, critics have alleged that Bradbury was capricious, arbitrary or biased in his findings and that he in fact lacked the requisite training and licensing to function in the role of an expert psychological  witness.

Within the last 12 months, evidence to undergird those accusations emerged. In September 2009, according to court records, Bradbury admitted under oath that he had lacked the proper licensing updates with regard to domestic violence since 2003. Such a lack of credentials rendered him unqualified under the family law code to serve as an evaluator.

Despite Bradbury’s possession of a PhD. in psychology from USC, he was unable to pass the state of California’s licensing exam as a psychologist.

Earlier this year, as information about his lack of training and his fraudulent licensing spread, rumors were rife that Bradbury was on the verge of departing the United States and seeking some form of refuge in Costa Rica.

A little more than two months ago, he died by his own hand. His action in taking his own life brings into question his own mental stability, and by extension, the validity of the thousands of conclusions he provided about the mental state of others.

On Saturday May 29, according to the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office, Bradbury who resided in Walnut, drove to an industrial park in the city of Industry. There, at 21508 Ferrero Parkway, a spot secluded by railroad tracks and relatively isolated and remote buildings, Bradbury shot himself while in his vehicle.

According to the coroner’s office, Bradbury expired from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Two years ago, a website,  http://courtlawabusers.blogspot.com/2008/11/dr-roy-bradbury.html, was set up for the purpose of chronicling complaints with regard to Bradbury.

Since that time, questions about his level of competency, his bias and his tendency to make findings that were considered damaging to children have mushroomed. That adverse publicity may have played a role in the more recent revelations about his lack of accreditation.

Despite those revelations, San Bernardino County Superior Court has maintained Bradbury on its experts list for psychologists.

In one case, an eight year old girl was removed from the custody of her mother. Subsequently, tapes of Bradbury’s sessions with the girl surfaced in which Bradbury could be heard screaming at the child. One counseling professional who has heard the tapes told the Sentinel the tapes demonstrated Bradbury was mocking a child under stress and was not engaged in a therapeutic relationship with his client.

In the aftermath of his death, dozens of Bradbury’s 730 evaluations are due for consideration in various courts in Southern California. Motions to strike several of those evaluations as evidence are now being prepared.

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