Psych Crime Reporter

May 18, 2011

“Pill mill” psychiatrist Nathan Kuemmerle sentenced to probation

Filed under: crime and fraud,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 5:40 pm
Tags: ,

A former West Hollywood psychiatrist who wrote prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose to make money to pay for his methamphetamine addiction was sentenced today to three years probation.

Dr. Nathan Kuemmerle, 38, of Hollywood, pleaded guilty last January in Los Angeles federal court to a single charge of distribution of a controlled substance, specifically 180 tablets of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

When charged along with his office manager in April 2010, federal prosecutors called Kuemmerle the No. 1 prescriber of the most powerful dosage of Adderall in the state during the previous year.

He was also said to be the second-largest prescriber of the class of federally regulated drugs that includes the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone.

After his arrest, Kuemmerle began a court-ordered process of residential drug rehabilitation. He told U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee today that he had recently graduated from the program.

Deputy Federal Public Defender John L. Littrell said his client’s conduct was negligent and careless, but not as egregious as the prosecution initially alleged.

“The government has portrayed Dr. Kuemmerle as being the leader of the conspiracy … but I think they’ve got it wrong,” the attorney said in arguing for probation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Christensen told Gee that Kuemmerle broke the law because he was “a drug addict. That is what motivated him … to get money” to buy meth.

Littrell added that Kuemmerle, who has not attempted to renew his medical license, has “had to overcome the fact that he’s gay … that he’s got HIV … and that he was addicted to methamphetamine.”

In sentencing him to time served and three years under supervised release, Gee said that Kuemmerle, while highly educated, was involved in an “unhealthy lifestyle” and suffered from arrogance.

“Many of the so-called smartest guys in the room have met their downfall” as a result of hubris, the judge said.

Gee said Kuemmerle poses no risk to the community “as long as he remains drug-free and does not have access to a prescription pad.”

Kuemmerle was arrested in April 2010 at his home by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Redondo Beach police.

Kuemmerle’s office manager, Antonie “Tony” Phillips, 29, of Koreatown, was arrested the same day at the doctor’s clinic on Santa Monica Boulevard, and has since pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is set to be sentenced by Gee on Monday.

The investigation began in 2009, when Redondo Beach police arrested an individual who offered Adderall for sale on the Craigslist website, prosecutors said.

That person fingered Kuemmerle as the source of the Adderall, claiming the psychiatrist wrote prescriptions on numerous occasions without any medical examination, and that he would write prescriptions for various names during a single visit.

Kuemmerle said he was “shocked and horrified” when he saw undercover tapes of how he behaved at the clinic while he was under the influence.

“I could have put my patients’ lives in jeopardy,” he told the court, adding that he was grateful to the judge for having had the opportunity to get clean.

“You saved my life,” he told the judge. “Thank you.”


May 12, 2011

California psychiatrist Warren A. Olson surrenders license following double drunk-driving conviction

Filed under: crime and fraud,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:40 am

On March 9, 2011, psychiatrist Warren Albert Olson surrendered his license to the Medical Board of California for unprofessional conduct and excessive use.

According to the Board’s Accusation, Olson was arrested and charged August 2, 2010 with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and leaving the scene of an accident.  On August 4, 2010, he was arrested again charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

On December 21, 2010, Olson entered no contest pleas on the charges relative to both incidents.  The document notes that Olson had a 2002 conviction for driving under the influence.

Source: Stipulation for Surrender of Certificate, in the Matter of the Accusation Against Warren A. Olson, M.D., Physician and Surgeon Certificate No. C37203, Case No. 03-2010-209391, Before the Medical Board of California Department of Consumer Affairs.

May 10, 2011

25 Good Reasons Why Psychiatry Must Be Abolished

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:57 pm

by Don Weitz, Psychiatric Survivor & 24-year activist in the psychiatric liberation movement

1. Because psychiatrists frequently cause harm, permanent disabilities, death — death of the body-mind-spirit.

2. Because psychiatrists frequently violate the Hippocratic Oath which orders all physicians “First Do No Harm.”

3. Because psychiatrists patronize and dis-empower people, especially their patients.

4. Because psychiatry is not a medical science.

5. Because psychiatry is quackery, a pseudo-science which lacks independent diagnostic tests, testable hypotheses, and cures for “schizophrenia” and all other types of alleged “mental illness” or “mental disorder”.

6. Because psychiatrists can not accurately and reliably predict dangerousness, violence, or any other type of human behaviour, yet make such claims as “expert witnesses”, and with the media promote the “dangerous mental patient” myth/stereotype.

7. Because psychiatrists have caused a worldwide epidemic of brain damage by promoting and prescribing brain-disabling treatments such as the neuroleptics, antidepressants, electroconvulsive brainwashing (electroshock), and psychosurgery (lobotomy).

8. Because psychiatrists manufacture hundreds of “mental disorders” classified in its bible called “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (a modern witch-hunting manual); such “mental disorders” and “symptoms” are in fact negative, class-and-culturally-biased moral judgments for dissident ways of coping with personal problems and alternative ways of perceiving, interpreting or being in the world.

9. Because psychiatrists, blinded by their medical model bias, fraudulently pathologize and label people’s serious life or existential crises as “symptoms” of “mental illness” or “mental disorder” such as “schizophrenia”, “bipolar affective disorder”, and “personality disorder”.

10. Because psychiatrists compound this fraud by falsely claiming, without scientific proof, that these “mental disorders” are caused by a “biochemical imbalance” in the brain, genetic factors or “genetic predispositions”, despite the fact that there are no genetic factors in “mental illness”.

11. Because psychiatrists frequently misinform their patients, families and the public by claiming that brain-disabling procedures such as the neurotoxins (e.g., “antipsychotic medication” and “antidepressants”), electroconvulsive brainwashing (electroconvulsive therapy/”ECT”), psychosurgery (lobotomy) and other behaviour modification-mind control procedures are “safe, effective and lifesaving”.  The exact opposite is tragically true.

12. Because psychiatrists routinely deceive or lie to patients, prisoners, their families, and the public.

13. Because psychiatrists routinely and willfully violate the medical-ethical principle of “informed consent” by misinforming or not informing their patients about the numerous toxic, disabling and frequently permanent effects of the neuroleptics such as memory loss, tardive dyskinesia, tardive psychosis, parkinsonism, dementia (all signs of brain damage), and death.

14. Because psychiatrists routinely threaten, intimidate or coerce many patients – particularly women, children, the elderly, and prisoners – into consenting to health-threatening/brain-damaging “treatment” such as the antidepressants, neuroleptics, electroconvulsive brainwashing, and hi-risk experiments.

15. Because psychiatrists frequently fail to fully inform psychiatric inmates and prisoners about existing safe and humane, non-medical alternatives in the community such as survivor-controlled crisis centres, drop-ins, self-help or advocacy groups, diet, massage, wholistic medicine, affordable supportive housing, and jobs.

16. Because psychiatrists are sexist in frequently stereotyping women in crisis as “hysterical” or “over-emotional”, blaming women whenever they voice real complaints and assertively express their feelings and emotions, prescribing massive doses of tranquilizers and antidepressants to disproportionately large numbers of women, and in sexually assaulting women in their offices and institutions.

17. Because psychiatrists, particularly white male psychiatrists, are homophobic – the American Psychiatric Association (APA) once labelled homosexuality as a “mental illness” or “mental disorder” – and have used forced electroshock on lesbians, trying to coerce them into adopting a heterosexual life style.

18. Because psychiatrists are ageist in prescribing tranquilizers, antidepressants (“medication”) and electroconvulsive brainwashing for disproportionately large numbers of elderly people – a form of elder abuse.

19. Because psychiatrists are racist in disproportionately incarcerating and drugging people of African descent, aboriginal people, other people of colour and labelling them “psychotic” or “schizophrenic”.

20. Because psychiatrists routinely violate people’s civil rights, human rights and constitutional rights such as imprisoning innocent people without court trial or public hearing (“involuntary commitment”), and subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishments or tortures such as forced drugging, electroconvulsive brainwashing, psychosurgery, solitary confinement, “chemical restraints”, and 4-point or 5-point restraints.

21. Because psychiatrists masterminded the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people including disabled children, the elderly and psychiatric patients during The Holocaust in Nazi Germany, and “selected” hundreds of thousands of concentration camp prisoners for death (“T-4 euthanasia” program) – historical facts still missing in psychiatric textbooks and histories.

22. Because psychiatrists have willingly participated in and administered mind-control experiments in the United States and Canada since the early 1950s – its chief targets have been poor patients, women, dissidents and prisoners.

23. Because psychiatry, particularly institutional-biological psychiatry, is based on the 3 Fs: Fear, Fraud, and Force.

24. Because psychiatry is a form of social control or punishment – not treatment.

25. Because psychiatry, particularly institutional-biological psychiatry, is fascist – a direct threat to democracy, human rights and life.

A note from the author: This statement is a slightly revised version of the original written in spring 1998.  Feel free to add and publish your own reasons.  I am a psychiatric survivor and antipsychiatry activist who has been involved in the psychiatric survivor liberation movement for 24 years.  I am also co-editor of “Shrink Resistant: The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada” (1988), host-producer of the antipsychiatry program “Shrinkrap” on CKLN radio (88.1 FM) in Toronto, member of People Against Coercive Treatment (P.A.C.T.), and member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).


May 9, 2011

Wisconsin counselor Cynthia Ziebell suspended following identity theft conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:50 pm

On April 11, 2011, the Wisconsin Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board suspended professional counselor Cynthia S. Ziebell for one month.

According to the Board’s document, Ziebell entered into a Deferred Acceptance of a Guilty Plea on October 6, 2009, by which she agreed to plead guilty to one count of identity theft for financial gain (a felony) and perform community service during the ensuing 12 months, after which the charge would be amended to simple theft.  Between January 29, 2009 and February 27, 2009, Ziebell used her father’s debit card to withdraw $7,751.54 from her father’s bank account for her own benefit, which her father was in a nursing home.

At that time, she was taking care of fathers’ real and personal property, with his permission.

Ziebell paid $3,801.63 restitution to her father, three businesses and the Department of Regulation and Licensing.  She also paid the Department $500, the cost of the proceeding against her.

Source: Final Decision and Order #0000796, in the matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against Cynthia Ziebell, DHA case DRL 10-0031, State of Wisconsin, Before the Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board.

Wisconsin counselor Jacqueline Nordbo suspended for numerous alcohol-related violations, etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:49 pm

On April 11, 2011, the Wisconsin Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board suspended the license of counselor Jacqueline L. Nordbo for an indefinite period.

According to the Board’s Order, Nordbo, an employee of the state Department of Workforce Development since 1993, received numerous tickets and citations beginning in April 2008, including:

  • a hit-and-run in which she was witnessed as having been swerving across a street with a road barricade dragging underneath her car;
  • suspension of her driving license for failure to appear in court on the hit-and-run charge;
  • wo shoplifting charges;
  • three charges of operating while intoxicated;
  • four charges of operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license and
  • operating a motor vehicle on a revoked license, among others.

The terms of her suspension include abstinence from alcohol and controlled substances and any over-the-counter substance that can mask the consumption of such; regular attendance at AA/NA meetings and regular drug and alcohol screens.

Source: Final Decision and Order #0000797 in the matter of the Disciplinary Proceeding Against Jacqueline L. Nordbo, Case #10 CPC 014, State of Wisconsin, Before the Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board.

Wisconsin social worker David A. Schneider blames 2001 brain operation for 2010 sexual assault on patient

Filed under: sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:48 pm

On April 13, 2011, licensed clinical social worker David A. Schneider surrendered his license to the Wisconsin Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board.

According to the Board’s Order, Schneider was convicted of sexual assault on December 3, 2010 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The basis of the prosecution against him was “an incident in which he had inappropriate contact with a client.”

In surrendering his license, Schneider asserted that “a consequence of surgery in October 2001 to remove a tumor from his brain was impairment of impulse control, which was likely the cause of his inappropriate contact with his client.”

Source: Final Decision and Order #0000799, in the matter of the Disciplinary Order Against David A. Schneider, before the Social Work Section of the Wisconsin Marriage & Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board.

State seeks to revoke counselor LeAnne Paynter’s license following criminal prosecution

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:46 pm
Tags: ,

On April 15, 2011, the Florida Department of Health filed a petition against mental health counselor Leanne Paynter, seeking to revoke or suspend her license.

According to the state’s petition, Paynter, who was employed at the Florida Civil Commitment Center (a secure treatment facility for people who have been detained under the state’s Sexually Violent Predator Act) engaged in sex with an inmate of the center 17 times, according to data provided to authorities by the inmate.

The state’s document reports that on four dates in 2010, security cameras captured Paynter and the inmate “alone for extended periods” and that during three of those dates, “the pair would remain on the floor together” for 90 minutes to three hours.

Paynter was criminally charged in 2010 with felony sexual misconduct with a sexual predator under her care. On September 24, 2010, she entered into a pre-trial intervention program.  The felony charge against her will be dropped if she completes the requirements of the program.

Source: Robert Boyer, “State: Take license from Sebring clinician,” Highlands Today, May 3, 2011.

May 3, 2011

Who WILL hold the “torture psychologists” accountable?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:49 pm
Tags: , , ,

Critics are taking legal action to seek punishment for psychologists who, they say, designed and consulted on abusive interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists.

The psychologists violated professional ethics rules, the critics say, because, they claim, the interrogations amounted to torture.

In one lawsuit, in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, a human rights group based in San Francisco is trying to force New York State to investigate Dr. John Francis Leso, a psychologist whom the group accuses of overseeing abusive interrogations at Guantánamo nearly a decade ago.

A similar lawsuit to force state authorities to take action against a former military psychologist has been filed in Ohio, and another is expected to be filed soon in Texas.

Steven Reisner, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine who filed a complaint against Dr. Leso with a state disciplinary board, said, “The significance is this: There has been no one held accountable for the Bush administration’s torture program.” Because the federal government has been unwilling to bring criminal prosecutions, Dr. Reisner said, “we’re trying to bring an ethical complaint so they’re at least held accountable for their licensure.”

So far, none of the legal efforts, which involve a small number of cases, have succeeded. But raising the issue in court has prompted fierce debate over the precise role that psychologists played in the interrogations and whether they were simply following the orders of high-ranking government officials.

The cases have also laid bare the grueling specifics of coercive techniques, like isolating detainees for 30 days, depriving them of food for 12 hours, exposing them to cold temperatures or water until they begin to shiver, waterboarding them and slamming them against walls.

Dr. Reisner filed a complaint against Dr. Leso last July with the Office of Professional Discipline, a division of the New York State Education Department, which oversees the licensing of psychologists.

Dr. Reisner asked the state to investigate Dr. Leso for his work at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 and 2003 as a member of the behavioral science consultation team, a group of medical professionals assigned to consult on the interrogations of detainees.

The complaint accused Dr. Leso, who was then in the Army Reserve, of developing a plan of coercive interview techniques, including isolation and sleep and food deprivation.

But the agency said the claims against Dr. Leso did not involve the practice of psychology as defined under New York State law, citing several reasons, including the lack of an established doctor-patient relationship. The agency closed the complaint.

That led the Center for Justice and Accountability, the San Francisco human rights organization, to sue on Dr. Reisner’s behalf last November, seeking to force the Office of Professional Discipline to open an investigation and ultimately revoke Dr. Leso’s license.

Dr. Leso, who left the Reserve in 2004, could not be reached for comment recently.

Whatever role psychologists played in the interrogation techniques that were used may be irrelevant to what courts are being asked to decide — which is whether state regulatory authorities must investigate complaints against psychologists for work they did as part of military interrogations.

“As a matter of moral turpitude, I might agree 100 percent that that psychologist should not have done that,” Justice Saliann Scarpulla said during a recent hearing in Dr. Leso’s case. “It’s not my moral turpitude or my moral sense that governs here.”

If regulatory authorities determine that Dr. Leso’s conduct did not involve the practice of psychology, the case, Justice Scarpulla said, “ends as far as I’m concerned.”

A lawyer for Dr. Reisner, L. Kathleen Roberts, said the state agency’s position that Dr. Leso was not practicing psychology would exclude psychologists who worked for institutions like prisons and schools from scrutiny.

James M. Hershler, an assistant New York attorney general representing the state in the case, said in court that the board had reviewed the complaint and determined that it was outside its purview.

“Their business is to go after real problems,” he said. “This happened eight years ago under unique circumstances.”

William J. Strickland, the Society of Military Psychologists’ representative on the American Psychological Association, said the accusations against military psychologists regarding their role in interrogations were highly speculative, based solely on the basis that they spent time at Guantánamo and not on any clear evidence of wrongdoing.

A suit filed this month in Ohio accuses Dr. Larry James of overseeing abusive interrogation techniques while working at Guantánamo in 2003, 2007 and 2008.

The suit, filed by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, asked the court to force the Ohio State Board of Psychology to either sanction Dr. James or investigate his conduct further.

The board dismissed an ethics complaint against Dr. James in January, saying it was unable to proceed.

Critics of Dr. James have also asked Louisiana regulators to revoke his license there. The State Board of Examiners of Psychologists closed that complaint without taking any action, prompting a psychologist to file a suit seeking to force the board to investigate further.

Last year, a Louisiana appeals court upheld the board’s decision, saying that there was no law requiring the board to act and that the person who filed the complaint had no special interest and suffered no specific harm because of the board’s decision. Dr. James did not respond to e-mails and telephone calls.

In February, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists dismissed a complaint against a former military psychologist, Dr. James E. Mitchell, saying in a one-page letter that there was “insufficient evidence.”

But Joseph Margulies, a law professor at Northwestern University who helped to file a complaint against Dr. Mitchell last year, disagreed with the board’s finding.

Mr. Margulies’s complaint accuses Dr. Mitchell of designing and participating in abusive interrogations at secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons. Dr. Mitchell did not answer e-mails seeking comment, and his lawyer declined to comment.

“These boards are subject to political oversight, and no one wants to stick their neck out, which is really an exercise in professional cowardice,” said Mr. Margulies, adding that he planned to file suit this month asking the court either to sanction Dr. Mitchell or force the board to do a more thorough investigation.

Without speaking specifically about Dr. Mitchell’s case, Sherry L. Lee, the executive director of the Texas board, defended its process, saying federal laws and military confidentiality would make it difficult to investigate some cases properly.

“This board does what it can do and processes the cases and goes forward when it believes it has the evidence,” she said.

State courts would be reluctant to intervene in complaints against military psychologists because they would “tend toward the view that these are matters of federal policy and federal law” that the government should address, said Dr. M. Gregg Bloche, a professor at Georgetown University who is both a lawyer and a doctor.

The psychologists may also benefit from circular reasoning by the government and ethical authorities, said Dr. Bloche, whose book, “The Hippocratic Myth,” explores the tension of doctors’ ethical commitments.

While the Justice Department under President George W. Bush said its interrogation guidelines were legal because psychologists designed them, the American Psychological Association has said that the psychologists who consulted on interrogations had a duty to follow government guidelines, Dr. Bloche said.

Source: John Eligon, “Advisers on Interrogation Face Legal Action by Critics,” New York Times, April 27, 2011.

Psychiatrist Karen Preis ceases practicing to settle multiple complaints against her

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:43 pm

On December 3, 2010, psychiatrist Karen Preis settled several charges filed against her by the Vermont Board of Medical Practice by agree to cease practicing medicine in the state.

Preis, who has a history of disciplinary actions with the Board including a 2009 suspension for unfilled taxes and a 1995 reprimand for repeated failure to provide her patients with requested records in a timely fashion, was facing four unsettled charges including a 2008 charge for not being in good standing with the state Department of Taxes for failure to filed her 2006 and 2007 income taxes; a 2009 complaint for abandoning a patient she had treated for five years by not returning his call to change and appointment time for at least a year.

She also failed to provide his records upon his and his psychotherapist’s requests; a 2010 complaint for attending a meeting of one of her patients with staff of the patient’s child’s school, uninvited, and providing treatment recommendations while her license was suspended due to her tax situation and a 2010 complaint for failure to provide a patient his medical records.

Source: Stipulation & Consent Order, In Re: Karen Preis, M.D., Docket Nos. MPS 135-1108, MPS 46-0409, MPS 42-410 and MPS 55-0610, State of Vermont Board of Medical Practice.

Psychiatrist Philip Pryjma surrenders license on charges of sex with male former patient

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:42 pm

On April 15, 2011, psychiatrist Philip J. Pryjma surrendered his license to the New York State Department of Health Board for Professional Medical Conduct.

This action was based on Pryjma resigning his license in the state of Massachusetts, in the face of allegations of a sexual relationship with a male former patient.

Source: Surrender Order in the Matter of Philip Joseph Pryjma, M.D., BPMC No 11-85, New York State Department of Health Board for Professional Medical Conduct.

Next Page »

Blog at