Psych Crime Reporter

December 26, 2012

Pennsylvania suspends license of psychiatrist Jopindar Harika

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:09 pm

On April 26, 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of State suspended the license of psychiatrist Jopindar Pal Harika, pursuant to the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dated March 26, 2012, which the court issued under section 4355 of the Domestic Relations Code (which regards matters of support, visitation and custody).

Florida psychiatrist Jose Menendez-Campos loses license following felony conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:08 pm

On August 16, 2012, the state of Florida revoked the license of psychiatrist Jose Menendez-Campos due to his criminal conviction for drug trafficking, for which he was sentenced January 2012 to 25 years in prison. The state Attorney General stated that Menendez’s “illegal operation was responsible for distributing large quantities of prescription pills throughout Western Florida.” In addition to prison, Menendez was fined $537,349.94. He won’t be able to reapply for his medical license until 2054.

Iowa psychiatrist James Pullen surrenders license on sex charge

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:05 pm

On April 25, 2012, psychiatrist James J. Pullen surrendered his license to the Iowa Board of Medicine. The Board had charged Pullen with sexual misconduct for engaging in a sexual relationship with female former patient between 2007 and 2010. The patient was then in her late 20s, while Pullen was in his 60s. He was also reprimanded and agreed to pay a $10,000 fine.

Washington state counselor April Ann Stewart tested positive for meth and marijuana

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:05 pm

On July 27, 2012, the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) suspended indefinitely the license of counselor April Ann Stewart for unprofessional conduct. Specifically, the DoH’s document states that in August 2011, while employed as a mental health specialist at a Pierce County mental health agency, Stewart tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. Further, in November 2011, the Department of Social and Health Services entered findings that Stewart had neglected a vulnerable adult who resided with her. The DoH issued a statement of charges to Stewart, who failed to respond.

Counselor Jonathan P. Smith loses license following criminal conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:04 pm

On October 2, 2012, the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) suspended the credential of counselor Jonathan P. Smith. The DoH’s document states that on or about October 12, 2011, Smith was convicted in Superior Court of Washington of one count each of misdemeanor unlawful display of a weapon; misdemeanor assault; felony attempting to elude pursuing police vehicle and misdemeanor malicious mischief (Benton County, case #11-1-00292-0). Smith may not seek reinstatement for at least 30 months.

Washington state health department revokes licensed of counselor Vernon C. Armstrong

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:04 pm

On July 26, 2012, the Washington Department of Health (DoH) permanently revoked the credential of counselor Vernon C. Armstrong.

The DoH’s documents states that from approximately April 18, 2008 through January 6, 2009, Armstrong, as a Children’s Case Manager with Behavioral Health Resources in Olympia, Washington, provided individual and group therapy services to “Client A,” a female teenager in foster care.

Client A was receiving treatment for self-harming behaviors, depression and trauma from childhood sexual abuse. Client A was discharged from foster care in June 2009 (when she turned 18) and moved into Armstrong’s home, where she stayed until September 2010.

In July or August 2010, Armstrong told Client A that he was addicted to pornography and told Client A sexual jokes.

On or around September 2010 through February 2011, while Client A was attending college and living in the dorm, Armstrong visited her in her dorm room approximately once a week. During the visits, he would make sexual jokes, slap Client A on the buttocks with his hand and repeatedly brush Client A’s breast with his open hand while hugging and touching her upper thigh.

The DoH sent Armstrong a letter in February 2011, requesting his response to specific questions regarding the complaint against him.

In late March 2011, the DoH received a letter from Armstrong’s lawyer stating that he would not provide any response.

On July 11, 2011, a Superior Court Judge in Grays Harbor County, Washington found that Armstrong had sexually assaulted another individual and issued a Sexual Abuse Protection Order against Armstrong, prohibiting him from having any contact with that person for two years.

State files charges against counselor Sue Whitmore Batson

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:03 pm

On September 4, 2012, the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) issued a Statement of Charges against counselor and sex offender treatment provider Sue Whitmore Batson.

The DoH’s document states that Batson provided sex offender treatment to a 17-year-old client beginning in April 2007. Batson’s co-facilitator at that time was the client’s probation officer.

Batson’s disclosure agreement described the co-facilitator as a Master’s student completing a degree in counseling; it did not indicate that the co-facilitator was a probation officer or that the co-facilitator’s role was as a probation officer. This created a dual relationship which harmed or created an unreasonable risk of harm to Batson’s clients.

The co-facilitator obtained information about the client during sex offender group sessions and shared the information with the client’s parents during the course of his probation duties. He also had information concerning the client which the client had not shared with his treatment group.

During a group session, the co-facilitator indicated that the client should share the information with the group but the client refused. The co-facilitator grabbed the client by the shirt and directed him out of the room, threatening to have him locked up.

Batson failed to provide her co-facilitator supervision or guidance on how to handle such events in the future and failed as well to handle the incident with the client. Additionally, Batson’s records for the client were deficient in several areas and her record keeping for all clients of a particular program were deficient and unprofessional.

Nazi-saluting psych nurse Stephen Johnson struck off to protect the public

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:03 pm

Senior mental health nurse Stephen Johnson, 54, had also groped a female co-worker and sent an explicit text message to the woman working with him at a UK rehabilitation center for adults with serious and long term mental health conditions.

The father-of-two was a deputy ward manager for North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust when the incidents happened between January 2008 and October 2009, according to the BBC.

The Nursing and Midwifery disciplinary panel in the UK heard that Johnson had marched around a room full of patients and bullied a patient, who believed that the nurse of 28 years of experience was Adolf Hitler, to tears.

The panel also heard how Johnson groped a female colleague on several occasions, tried to kiss her and sent an inappropriate text with an explicit image to her phone.

Former colleagues of Johnson told the panel that Johnson has created a “culture of fear” in the unit, and that the clinic workers were too afraid for their jobs to reveal what was actually happening, until two staff members finally worked up the courage to make a complaint.

Johnson, on the other hand, only admitted to sending text messages but denied the other charges, claiming that he was made a scapegoat to cover up for “poor management”.

However, the panel said that Johnson, who was described as a “superb nurse” by one co-worker, had taken “advantage of his position of trust as a manager on numerous occasions” and found him guilty of serious misconduct and took him off the nursing register for life.

The panel said that Johnson performed a Nazi salute to “wind up” a patient.

“The panel has concluded it is unlikely Mr Johnson would have treated a patient without a mental health disability in this manner,” the panel concluded.

The panel said that it decided to strike Johnson off to “protect the public”.

“There remains a risk that in future Mr Johnson will put patients at unwarranted risk of harm, that he will bring the profession into disrepute and that he will breach the fundamental tenets of the profession, ” the panel said.

Source: Christine Hsu, “Nazi-Saluting Mental Health Nurse Struck Off to “Protect the Public,” Medical Daily, December 21, 2012.

Man sues psychotherapist for drug relapse following sexual exploitation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:02 pm

CHICAGO (CN) – A drug abuser claims in court that he suffered a relapse after his female counselor invited him to her house and had sex with him on the day he was discharged.

Michael Fleming and his wife sued Stacy Lott and Gateway Foundation in Cook County Court.

Fleming claims he was treated for three weeks this year at the Gateway Foundation for drug and cocaine dependence.

His counselor, Lott, “was a ‘psychotherapist’ pursuant to the Sexual Exploitation in Psychotherapy Act,” a state law, according to the complaint. He claims that “the defendant, Stacy Lott, was providing ‘psychotherapy’ to the plaintiff”.

Fleming says he “asked the defendant, Stacy Lott, if he could get another psychotherapist/counselor due to the fact that she was attractive, and it was a distraction for him.”

“During the aforesaid conversation, the defendant Stacy Lott, stated that she found him attractive as well, but that she wished to remain his counselor, because she thought she could help the plaintiff, Michael Fleming.”

Lott remained Fleming’s counselor and told him that his wife, Lisa Aprati, was “‘too controlling’ and bad for his recovery,” Fleming says in the complaint.

He claims that Lott also “would escort the plaintiff, Michael Fleming, outside for a cigarette break and while returning would ask him for a hug and a kiss, which then occurred.”

“Stacy Lott asked the plaintiff, Michael Fleming, to stay at her apartment the night of February 8, 2012, which was his discharge date from the Gateway Foundation’s inpatient treatment program,” the complaint states.

“Plaintiff, Michael Fleming, did stay at defendant Stacy Lott’s apartment on the night of February 8, 2012, and they had sexual relations.”

Since then, Fleming says, he “has been required to undergo counseling, and he has suffered a relapse in his attempts to deal with his cocaine and alcohol dependency, and he has expended sums of money for counseling, has lost time from his employment, and he has lost other gains he otherwise would have realized.”

He claims the Gateway Foundation knew Lott had inappropriate relationships with patients and did nothing to protect its patients.

He seeks damages for sexual exploitation, negligent supervision, and psychotherapist malpractice.

He is represented by Edmund Scanlan.

(Psychotherapists are M.D.s and/or Ph.Ds. Lott is not referred to as a doctor in the complaint.)

Source: Jack Bouboushian, “Sex Shouldn’t Be in the Program, Patient Says,” Courthouse News Service, December 11, 2012.

Israel: Psychiatrist, head nurse and hospital director convicted in abuses of autistic patients

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:01 pm

Four staff members of a psychiatric hospital outside Jerusalem were convicted on Thursday of various offenses in connection to the alleged abuse of autistic patients at the facility on numerous occasions between 2001 and 2004.

The case, relating to incidents at the Eitanim-Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center, was tried in the Jerusalem District Court, under Judge Zvi Segal.

Dr. Daniel Meir, a child psychiatrist who was the head of the government hospital’s autism ward at the time, and Dana Ben-Meir, the ward’s head nurse – were found guilty of several counts of abusing the helpless and vulnerable.

One of their codefendents, Dr. Jacob Margolin, the director of the hospital at the time, was convicted of patient neglect. Margolin has since resigned, but he is still to be officially suspended and, in the wake of this conviction, the Health Ministry is expected to review his professional status.

The fourth defendant, Na’ama Dokshitsky, the hospital’s head nurse at the time of the events, was convicted of patient neglect.

Two other junior staff members were acquitted in the case.

An additional three junior employees were convicted of less serious offenses more than four years ago in the case and sentenced to probation and community service.

In the course of the trial, 11 instances of severe abuse and neglect of patients with autism were examined. These included forbidding a patient to talk for a number of hours each day, as a punitive measure, and withholding treatment from a patient during his epileptic seizures on the grounds that he was “bluffing.” The bruises of another patient, the result of his frequent falls, went untreated, while a patient who frequently banged his head on the wall, a common behavior in people with autism, was not given a helmet to prevent head injury, again on the grounds of “bluffing.”

Other patients were forced, variously, to work while standing and be kicked by staff members; to eat on the floor, under the table; to remain in urine-soaked clothes for long periods of time; and, in the case of a patient who suffered from violent outbursts, to remain in a small, unventilated room for most of the day.

In his verdict, Segal stressed that the convictions did not necessarily account for all of the offenses committed by the defendants, which in some cases met the criteria for unethical behavior but not the higher standard needed to prove criminal liability.

Source: “Two doctors, two nurses convicted over abuse of autistic patients,” Ha-aretz, December 14, 2012.

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