Psych Crime Reporter

October 31, 2012

County severs ties with psychiatrist who admitted sabotaging mountain bike trails

A man who the U.S. Forest Service says admitted to sabotaging bike trails in the Ashland watershed is no longer working as a psychiatrist for Jackson County, County Administrator Danny Jordan said Tuesday.

Jackson Tyler Dempsey, 57, is in negotiations with the state of Oregon seeking a plea agreement in his case, which both parties hope will be settled within two weeks, according to court records.

Dempsey was arrested in July when a Forest Service officer said that Dempsey admitted to stringing nylon cord and laying nails and vegetation across trails in the Ashland watershed.

Dempsey, who was charged with fourth-degree assault and three counts of reckless endangerment, said he sabotaged the trails because he “did not like downhill mountain bikers,” according to the Forest Service report.

Jordan confirmed that Dempsey stopped working for Jackson County Mental Heath on Oct. 19, but he would not say whether Dempsey was fired or resigned. Jordan also declined to answer any questions about the case or Dempsey’s employment.

Open positions for a psychiatrist, a mental health specialist and a division manager for the Mental Health Department were all posted on the county website last week.

When asked about Dempsey’s case last month, Jordan said Dempsey should be afforded due process of law and that his alleged crimes did not conflict with his ability to perform his psychiatry job.

Jordan said then that the county would pay close attention to whether the Oregon Medical Board pursued any sanctions against Dempsey’s medical license.

As of Tuesday, Dempsey was still a licensed psychiatrist with the state of Oregon, according to a representative with the Oregon Medical Board. The OMB has not reprimanded Dempsey in any way, the representative said.

Previous court dates of Sept. 24 and Oct. 29 were postponed because Dempsey and his attorney were working through negotiations with the state to resolve the case before it went to trial, according to court records.

A new trial date has been set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in Jackson County Circuit Court, provided a plea agreement isn’t reached.

Source: Teresa Ristow, “Jackson County severs ties with trail saboteur,” Mail Tribune, October 31, 2012.

October 30, 2012

State revokes psychiatrist Williams Ayres

Filed under: child molestation,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:45 am

On October 24, 2012, the Medical Board of California revoked the license of psychiatrist William Ayres.

Ayres was arrested in April 2007 on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct upon a child under age 14 years.

His trial commenced in July 2009 and ended in a mistrial.

Retrial was scheduled for April 2010.

In March 2010, Ayres’ counsel filed a request to inquire into Ayres’ competency to stand trial. The jury in that matter informed the court on June 17, 2011 that it was hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict as to competence.

The court ordered Ayres to evaluation and treatment. He was admitted to Napa State Hospital on October 25, 2011. A February 2012 report from the hospital confirmed a diagnosis of dementia.

(A Napa Hospital psychologist later reported that Ayres faked having symptoms of dementia. News items reported that Ayres had been seen in public carrying on socially with friends and family without any signs of dementia.)

Source: Stipulation to Surrender and Revocation of License and Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against William H. Ayres, Physician and Surgeons Certificate No. G 8452, M.D., Case No. 03-2007-182874, Medical Board of California, Department of Consumer Affairs.

Psychologist says psychiatrist William Ayres, charged with child molestation, faked dementia symptoms

Filed under: child molestation,mental health,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:40 am

REDWOOD CITY, California  — The psychologist who branded William Ayres a malingerer took the stand Monday to explain why he believes the accused child molester has been lying about his symptoms of dementia.

Napa State Hospital sent Ayres, 80, back to San Mateo County this summer after concluding the former child psychiatrist was fit to undergo a second criminal trial on charges of sexually abusing five young boys who were sent to him for treatment. Ayres’ first criminal trial in 2009 ended in a hung jury.

John McIlnay, a forensic psychologist who specializes in sniffing out people who are faking mental problems to escape punishment, testified that Ayres exhibited abnormal swings between lucid and foggy states of mind. Ayres’ results on assessments of his overall ability to function day-to-day also varied widely, said McIlnay. He also noted that there were discrepancies between how the patient acted in clinical settings and during down time.

“I don’t believe that dementia can wax and wane to the degree that the behavioral observation and reports would suggest,” said McIlnay, who combed through Ayres’ records from before and after he was admitted to Napa in October 2011. He ultimately overruled several Napa clinicians who had diagnosed him with dementia.

Followed suggestion

One episode that caught McIlnay’s eye involved the level of staffing during lunch at the psychiatric facility. Concerned about his safety, Ayres sought out the nursing supervisor of his unit to request that she increase the number of staff present at that time. When the supervisor, having noticed the same issue, followed Ayres’ suggestion the next day, he sought her out to thank her.

That behavior contrasted sharply with some of Ayres’ interactions with clinicians. In one competency test regarding the legal system, McIlnay said, Ayres was uncooperative and evasive, claiming he didn’t know what a judge does.

Three Napa clinicians who testified Friday for the defense said it’s normal for the symptoms of people with dementia to vary from day to day.

Many questions

Ayres’ lead attorney, Jonathan McDougall, made the unusual decision Monday morning to testify as a witness regarding his client. McDougall described episodes of Ayres’ forgetfulness and the difficulty he has had strategizing with a client who doesn’t remember previous conversations.

When prosecutor Melissa McKowan asked about comments Ayres made at Napa indicating he believes he will be convicted if tried again, McDougall said Ayres misconstrued conversations the two men had regarding the case. McDougall said he’d told his client their chances of winning at trial would be worse if Ayres is not sharp enough to testify on his own behalf.

Prosecutors believe Ayres molested more than 30 boys, but most of the alleged victims fell outside the statute of limitations. After the 2009 mistrial, Ayres’ family hired McDougall, who soon raised questions about his client’s mental state. A trial on Ayres’ competency ended in 2011 with a hung jury, and the District Attorney’s Office conceded the defendant had dementia.

But McIlnay concluded Ayres was grossly exaggerating his cognitive problems. Now San Mateo County Superior Court Judge John Grandsaert is tasked with ruling on Ayres’ fitness. The competency hearing will continue Tuesday with more direct examination of McIlnay, followed by cross-examination.

Source: Aaron Kinney, “Napa psychologist brands William Ayres, accused child molester, a malingerer,” San Mateo County Times, October 29, 2012.

October 29, 2012

Psychologist John William Visher arrested on charge of sex crime with 8-year-old; lawsuit

Filed under: child molestation,child pornography,psychologist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:00 pm

SANTA CRUZ — A civil lawsuit has been filed against a Capitola psychologist who is facing criminal charges of sexual abuse against a child.

Dr. John William Visher was arrested last month at his La Selva Beach home after Capitola police investigated allegations that he committed lewd acts against an 8-year-old girl. The girl had been his patient and detectives believe the incidents occurred at Visher’s former Bay Avenue office in 2009.

Last week, the girl’s family filed a personal injury suit against Visher in the civil divisions of Santa Cruz County Court. It charges him with sexual harassment, professional negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks unspecified damages.

Visher pleaded not guilty on Oct. 9 to five felony charges that include lewd acts upon a child, sending obscene material and possession of material depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct. He is due back in court Nov. 14.

The family is being represented in their civil suit by attorney and psychologist Joseph C. George.Capitola police detective Sarah Ryan said earlier this month that the alleged acts against the girl were first reported in January but the investigation was complicated by doctor-patient privilege issues.

Ryan said her continued investigation has uncovered complaints about abuse of two boys who were ages 6 and 10 at the time. Ryan has re-interviewed the boys and her investigation into those incidents is ongoing.

“While Ms. Doe is very sad that her daughter was abused by the defendant after two minor patients had previously been harmed by Dr. Bill, she is also extremely grateful to law enforcement officials who investigated this case against a trusted, child psychologist who has treated Santa Cruz area kids for 30 years,” George said.

Visher’s license to practice psychology was suspended by the California Board of Psychology on Sept. 24 after his arrest on those charges. He was first licensed to practice psychology in the state in August 1982 and has no prior administrative citations or disciplinary actions on record with the agency.He has posted bail and is no longer in custody.

Capitola police urge anyone with more information to contact the department at 475-4242 and ask to speak with a detective.

Source: Jessica M. Pasko, “Suit filed against Capitola psychologist for allegedly sexually abusing a child patient,” Santa Cruz Sentinel,
October 22, 2012.

October 27, 2012

New York hospital owes $7 million for fraudulent mental health claims

Filed under: crime and fraud,mental health,psychiatric hospital or facility — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:00 pm

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla will have to cough up $7 million for submitting false reimbursement claims to Medicaid from 2001 to June 2010, under a civil fraud settlement announced by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York.

Bharara said the Medical Center billed Medicaid for outpatient mental health services at its Behavioral Health Center without providing proper documentation.

“Medicaid is a vital resource for people who suffer from physical and mental illnesses and related conditions,” Bharara said in a statement. “We have absolutely no tolerance for those who fail to comply with the program, particularly in these lean times when budgets are stretched thin and belts are being tightened.”

Westchester Medical Center representatives were not immediately available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Federal regulations require facilities like WMC to submit documents such as treatment plans and progress notes, which WMC did not, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Medicaid costs are shared by federal and state governments. As part of the settlement, WMC will pay an undisclosed portion of the $7 million to New York State.

WMC’s Behavioral Health Center is a public facility that treats children, adolescents and adults who suffer from mental and emotional issues.

Source: Robert Michelin, “Westchester Medical Center Owes $7 Million In Fraud Settlement, Peekskill Daily Voice, October 24, 2012.

Testimony: Patient was happy, became zombie after beginning treatment with psychiatrist Aubrey Levin

Filed under: psychiatrist,sex offender,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:00 pm

CALGARY — The former girlfriend of the primary complainant in the Dr. Aubrey Levin sex assault trial says her partner was transformed from a happy-go-lucky guy into a “zombie” after court-ordered appointments with the forensic psychiatrist.

The girlfriend testified on Thursday that R.B. was initially always joking before the sessions with Levin at Peter Lougheed Centre between late January 2008 and March 2010, but increasingly became nervous and agitated beforehand, then short-tempered and angry afterwards.

She also said R.B. began drinking heavily after sessions, slept most of the time and unable to work. She believes it was because of Levin’s actions and a couple of different drugs he administered to her partner.

“I always describe him like a zombie – no emotion, nothing, he just sat there. He’d sleep 16 hours a day, other times he’d sleep 22 hours a day,” said the woman, who cannot be identified because of a court order.

She said when she asked Levin why R.B. went from “being happy to a zombie,” the doctor “got angry, got red in the face and said “why am I asking that question?”

The woman, who lived commonlaw with R.B. for five years, said she went into another session between Levin and R.B., which she called “horrible,” and was shocked by the personal questions and comments by the doctor.

“Levin asked me what kind of relationship was had. He wanted to know if I knew about (R.B.’s) past and knew why he was there,” she told Crown prosecutor Dallas Sopko. “Then he proceeded to tell me that because I knew nothing about (R.B.). how could I say I was in a relationship with him.

“He said (R.B.) was just looking for a mother and said I’d never be a girlfriend or wife, then he got into sexual questions. He wanted to know who would initiate sex, how long this would last, how long (R.B.) would last, where we had sex and what we did.”

She said R.B. came home on Feb. 16, 2010, and showed him blood on his underwear and a cut on his genitals, which she said was caused by Levin. It prompted them to go to the Spy Store to buy a Spy Watch video camera, one that R.B. used to videotape his next two sessions, which the jury saw Levin fondling his genitals — the latter tape for more than 14 minutes. They turned the evidence over to R.B.’s lawyer, then to police.

Levin is on trial for allegedly assaulting 10 patients under his court-ordered care, including R.B., between 1999 and 2010.

The accused, who fired his lawyers earlier this week and is representing himself, refused to cross-examine any of the three witnesses on Thursday.

When asked by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donna Shelley if he had any questions for Dr. Francois Belanger, medical director of Alberta Health Services, Levin declined because he said he was incapable of doing so.

Levin has told court he has dementia and has severe memory problems, but has sounded very articulate when speaking in court.

“M’Lady, I have never been trained as a lawyer. I have never been trained to do cross-examination. Over and above that, I am hampered by . . .” he said before Shelley cut him off and excused the jury.

hen the jury returned a short time later, Shelley simply told them, “There are no questions for cross-examination.”

Levin also said when asked if he had questions for the girlfriend, the final witness of the day, “M’Lady, I regret I’m not trained to cross-examine.”

Again, the judge abruptly stopped him and sent away the jury. When they returned later, she told them, “Dr. Levin has no questions.”

The situation will become even more significant next week when prosecutors Bill Wister and Sopko begin calling the 10 complainants to testify.

Levin, 73, is accused of sexually molesting them while in a position of trust during court-orddered sessions at Peter Lougheed Centre. He told police in a videotaped statement to police Det. David Burke on March 23, 2010, shortly after being charged, that he was doing a medical procedure on R.B. for sexual dysfunction that was generally done by a urologist.

Belanger, however, said although psychiatrists are permitted to conduct physical examinations on patients, they must formally request from the College of Physicians and Surgeons to do any procedures that are not part of their mandate.

“There are no restrictions on his privileges, but we expect Dr. Levin would practice as a forensic psychiatrist as per the standards as specified by the College,” said Belanger.

“I would expect a psychiatrist to practice in the standards of clinical psychiatry, not the standards of a urologist.”

Belanger said between 1998, when Levin was hired, he never applied to practice as a urologist or to do a urologist’s procedures. He said Levin was suspended after being charged.

It is still expected that the court will appoint a neutral lawyer to cross-examine some of the complainants, but that has yet to be determined.

Source: Daryl Slade, “Cheerful patient became a ‘zombie’ after sessions with Levin, trial told,” Calgary Herald, October 25, 2012.

China passes law to reduce psychiatric abuses

Filed under: involuntary commitment,patient abuse,psychiatric hospital or facility — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:59 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China’s legislature on Friday passed a long-awaited mental health law that aims to prevent people from being involuntarily held and unnecessarily treated in psychiatric facilities — abuses that have been used against government critics and triggered public outrage.

The law standardizes mental health care services, requiring general hospitals to set up special outpatient clinics or provide counseling, and calls for the training of more doctors.

Debated for years, the law attempts to address an imbalance in Chinese society — a lack of mental health care services for a population that has grown more prosperous but also more aware of modern-day stresses and the need for treatment. Psychiatrists who helped draft and improve the legislation welcomed its passage.

“The law will protect the rights of mental patients and prevent those who don’t need treatment from being forced to receive it,” said Dr. Liu Xiehe, an 85-year-old psychiatrist based in the southwestern city of Chengdu, who drafted the first version of the law in 1985.

“Our mental health law is in line with international standards. This shows the government pays attention to the development of mental health and the protection of people’s rights in this area,” Liu told The Associated Press by phone.

Pressure has grown on the government in recent years after state media and rights activists reported cases of people forced into mental hospitals when they did not require treatment. Some were placed there by employers with whom they had wage disputes, some by their family members in fights over money, and others — usually people with grievances against officials — by police who wanted to silence them.

The law states for the first time that mental health examinations and treatment must be conducted on a voluntary basis, unless a person is considered a danger to himself or others. Only psychiatrists have the authority to commit people to hospitals for treatment, and treatment may be compulsory for patients diagnosed with a severe mental illness, according to the law.

Under the law, police still may send people for diagnosis — a common practice in many countries. Significantly, the law gives people who feel they have been unnecessarily admitted into mental health facilities the right to appeal.

Though questions remain over how the law will be enforced and whether sufficient government funding will be provided to enable the expansion of services, psychiatrists said the passage of the legislation marked a milestone

“It’s very exciting. I honestly believe this will start a new trajectory,” said Dr. Michael Phillips, a Canadian psychiatrist who has worked in China for nearly three decades and now heads a suicide research center in Shanghai.

Phillips said the biggest change for the psychiatric system is the curb on involuntary admissions. At least 80 percent of hospital admissions are compulsory, he said.

The expansive scope of the law — covering treatment, stigma prevention, admissions and other areas — made it “revolutionary,” he added.

Source: “China passes law to curb abuse of mental hospitals,” Associated Press, October 26, 2012.

October 24, 2012

New Jersey psych hospital worker sentenced for sex with patient

EWING, NJ— A former employee of Trenton Psychiatric Hospital was sentenced to two years of probation today in Superior Court for having criminal sexual contact with a patient at the hospital in 2009.

Marcus Walton, 31, of Trenton, pleaded guilty to the charge in August, admitting to having sex with the patient. Prosecutors have said the sex was consensual.

Walton voluntarily left his job at the hospital and will be barred from working in a similar facility, Judge Mark Fleming said. Walton’s sentence requires him to serve 40 hours of community service, undergo a mental evaluation for sex offenders and complete any recommended treatment. He is also barred from having any contact with the victim.

Source: Jenna Pizzi, “Former Trenton Psychiatric Hospital employee is sentenced to probation for sex with patient,” Times of Trenton,  October 23, 2012.

Psychiatrist Nan Beth Alt and physician father face 53 charges each of defrauding Medicaid, Blue Cross

Filed under: crime and fraud,Medicaid-Medicare fraud,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:45 am

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A psychiatrist whose Grandville office was raided by the Michigan Attorney General’s office in February and her father now face 53 felonies each.

Nan Beth Alt and her father William Alt allegedly defrauded insurance carriers out of $273,000 by filing improper reimbursement claims from Medicaid, Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office alleges William Alt was treating patients out of a Holland office despite the fact that his medical license was suspended in 2009 and that his daughter helped him by signing blank prescription forms for him, according to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

In addition to the signed prescription pads found with William Alt, there are accusations that William Alt ordered tests at area hospitals under his daughter’s name, making it appear as though patients were hers rather than his.

The Attorney General’s Office says that Nan Beth Alt’s actions constitute negligence and “lack of good moral character,” “allowing an unauthorized person to use her medical license,” and “fraud or deceit in obtaining or attempting to obtain third party reimbursement,” all of which violate the Public Health Code.

They each face two 10-year felonies and 51 four-year felonies in the Ingham County District Court.

William Alt was also convicted of practicing without a medical license in 2010.

Nan Beth Alt’s license to practice was suspended by the state effective Sept. 6, the documents show. She is scheduled to be in court Nov. 26 after petitioning to lift the suspension.

Source: “Psychiatrist, father face fraud charges, William Alt allegedly practiced without license,” WOOD 8 TV (Grand Rapids, MI), October 23, 2012.

Delaware psychiatrist Yvette K. Baker gets a year in prison for Medicaid fraud

Filed under: crime and fraud,Medicaid-Medicare fraud,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 11:43 am

DOVER – A former Dover area psychiatrist charged with defrauding the Delaware Medicaid Program of nearly $175,000 received a jail sentence Tuesday after pleading guilty to her crimes, Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden Jr. announced.

Yvette K. Baker, 53, was charged in July, 2011 by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with multiple felony counts of healthcare fraud for the improper billing of the Medicaid Program and prescription drug diversion. The charges, which stem from an investigation initiated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in 2010 after receiving a referral of billing improprieties from the State’s Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance, cover Ms. Baker’s conduct at the Psychiatric Wellness Center in Dover from July, 2006 through July, 2009.

Following Ms. Baker’s guilty plea she was immediately sentenced by Judge William L. Witham, Jr. to one year in prison, followed by seven years of probation. Additionally, she was ordered to pay $273,000 in damages and fines, including $172,000 to the Delaware Medicaid Program, $100,000 in fines, and $1,750 for the cost of extradition.

Ms. Baker’s license to prescribe drugs was suspended in April, 2010, and her Delaware medical license was suspended in July, 2010.

Ms. Baker was arrested in October, 2011 in Huntsville, Ala. where she resided at the time and was extradited to Delaware in January, 2012. She has been held at the Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle since her return to Delaware.

“The abuse of prescription drugs is a growing epidemic threatening public health and safety and devastating our families,” AG Biden said. “Prescription abuse in the Medicaid program also increases costs for all who rely on it for their healthcare needs.

“With this case we’re sending a clear message that we’re committed to going after those who improperly prescribe addictive drugs and that we’re committed to cutting waste and fraud to protect this valuable program for all Delawareans.”

Source: “Former Dover psychiatrist jailed after Medicaid fraud sentence,” Delaware State News, October 23, 2012.

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