Psych Crime Reporter

January 2, 2013

Idaho suspends, revokes clinical social workers’ licenses

Filed under: license revoked,License suspended,social worker — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:14 pm

On January 18, 2012, the Idaho Board of Social Work Examiners suspended the license of social worker Lesa McConnel for two years. This was the result of McConnel’s criminal conviction: On March 3, 2009, McConnel pleaded guilty to one count of Health Care Fraud in the US District Court for the District of Idaho. She was sentenced to three months in custody and three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay restitution of $40,874.

On January 24, 2012, the Board suspended the license of social worker Kari Turnbough for three years. The Board’s document states that Turnbough began providing services to a client with significant substance abuse and mental health issues in July 2006 and that in 2008, she allowed the client to live in her home for several months, resulting in significant boundary violations and a conflict of interest.

On January 24, 2012, social worker James Hibbard entered into a stipulation and consent order with the Board, authorizing his probation officer in his criminal case to provide the Board with quarterly reports regarding his compliance with the terms of his probation. The Board also placed Hibbard’s license on probation for five years with terms and conditions. On his renewal application in August 2010, Hibbard disclosed that he had pleaded guilty March 18, 2009 to felony driving under the influence (third offense).

On January 24, 2012, Idaho social worker Gina Blalock entered into a stipulation and consent order with the Board, resulting in her license remaining suspended until she fully and successfully completes disciplinary requirements placed on her (the Board placed her license on emergency suspension in August 2011). According to the Board’s document, in June 2010, the state Bureau of Occupational License received a complaint alleging that while providing services to a client, Blalock offered to take the client to a bar for one of their sessions. The Bureau found during its investigation that Blalock’s employer had placed her on a Corrective Action Plan in 2010 because she had alcohol on her breath while at work on several occasions. An evaluation found alcohol dependence problems. Between the date the evaluation was requested and the day it was conduct, Blalock was arrested for DUI.

On February 17, 2012, the Board publicly reprimanded social worker Andrea R. Armstrong, ordered her to complete additional continuing education in ethics and pay the Board’s investigative costs of $1,378.11. The Board’s document states that Armstrong abruptly resigned from employment without making arrangements to transfer clients or refer them to other therapists.

On March 8, 2012, the Board held the clinical social work license application of Kent Thibault in abeyance while he completes six more months of supervised practice before he shall be allowed to take the licensing examination. The Board’s document states that Thibault lied on his LSW and MSW license applications by failing to disclose criminal convictions involving moral turpitude.

On April 23, 2012, the Board suspended the license of social worker David A. Reynolds, effective upon the reactivation of his expired license. The Board’s document states that Reynolds was terminated of lost his employment for failure to provide appropriate care for clients; failing to communicate with client and failing to keep accurate and timely records of the care provided.

On August 27, 2012, the Board accepted the voluntary surrender of social worker Mark Saltzer’s license to practice social work. On August 20, 2012, the Ada County District Attorney filed a criminal complaint against Saltzer, charging him with 10 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child. Saltzer waived his right to a hearing. Criminal charges are pending. Saltzer was a counselor for the Meridian School District.

On July 16, 2012, the Board reprimanded social worker Barbara G. Norton and placed her on supervised probation for three years with terms and conditions. The Board’s document states that Norton “engaged in Medicaid billing irregularities, with respect to several patients, including billing for services which were not document in client files; altered billing logs and codes; and inadequately documented services performed in the medical records.”

On August 28, 2012, the Board suspended social worker Leslie Ann Ray for one year. The Board’s document states that on April 27, 2012, Ray pleaded guilty to petit theft, a misdemeanor, for submitting progress notes and timesheets to her employer, alleging collateral contacts with probation and parole officers which either did not occur or which did not last as long as Ray claimed, and for which Medicaid was billed.

On August 28, 2012, the Board ordered social worker Connie G. Miller to complete five hours continuing education in the area of ethics and to reimburse the Board its costs for investigation, $3,031.53. The Board’s document states that on January 5, 2010, Miller provided expert testimony in the form of a written opinion letter in a child custody case on behalf of the father, who was her client, without personally evaluating the mother involved in the case and without adequate substantiation of the opinions she expressed in the letter, which was relied upon by the Court during the custody trial.

On October 23, 2012, the Board revoked the license of social worker Cindy Lynn Brown. The Board’s document states that on April 12, 2012, the Board received a complaint from one of Brown’s former clients, alleging that she’d abandoned the client and refused to provide copies of the client’s treatment records to the client’s new therapist. On July 18, 2012, the Board received a complaint from Brown’s former employer alleging that an audit revealed that Brown had billed clients’ private insurance and received payment, while also receiving payment directly from the client (“double-dipping”). Brown voluntarily surrendered her license while under investigation and waived her right to a hearing.

UK psych nurse who battered girlfriend loses nursing license

Filed under: disciplinary history,license revoked,License suspended,psychiatric nurse — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:01 pm

A nurse is on the run after being caught on CCTV beating up his girlfriend.

Malvern Kurehwa, 38, is being sought by Surrey Police for a separate matter and it is believed he has fled to Zimbabwe.

Kurehwa, from Rosehill, had pleaded guilty to battery of his girlfriend at Sutton Magistrates Court on October 20, 2009 and was ordered to pay a fine of £230.

As a result of the sentence, Malvern Kurehwa, 38, was told his fitness to practice as a mental health nurse was compromised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

He was due to face the NMC on Friday (December 14) to hear the panel determine his future, but he failed to show up.

He informed the panel in October this year that he was raising funds for a flight in order to attend the hearing.

A panel decided in his absence that he should be struck off the nursing register as: “The panel cannot be satisfied that there was no longer a risk of Mr Kurehwa’s conduct being repeated.

The panel concluded that there is a real, current need for public protection in this case.”

At the hearing at the International Dispute Resolutions Centre on Fleet Street, Central London, the panel heard about the incident which gave rise to his conviction.

On October 18, 2009, Kurehwa had called police from a phonebox in Rosehill claiming he was being attacked by his girlfriend.

However CCTV footage in fact showed him punching his girlfriend in the head at least four times whilst holding her around her neck before dragging her to the floor and pushing her across the road.

A report of the NMC hearing said: “In considering Mr Kurehwa’s fitness to practise, the panel reminded itself of its duty to protect patients and its wider duty to protect the public interest which includes the declaring and upholding of proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”

“The panel considered that Mr Kurehwa’s actions are fundamentally incompatible with remaining on the register.”

Source: James Pepper, “Rosehill nurse Malvern Kurehwa struck off after battering girlfriend,” The Guardian, December 27, 2012.

August 14, 2012

Texas psychologists’ licenses revoked, disciplined

Filed under: license revoked,License suspended,psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:35 pm

On February 9, 2012, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists  took the following disciplinary actions:

Revoked the license of psychologist Annette G. Raj for failure to comply with a prior Board order.

Revoked the license of William M. Moss for failure to timely report an arrest and for personal problems with potential to impair competency.

Imposed an administrative penalty and continuing education on Jim Larkin Holston Cox, due to his failure to report an arrest to the Board in a timely manner.

Imposed an administrative penalty on Johnny K. Burkhalter for failure to respond in a timely manner to a patient records request.

Suspended Fabian Aguirre for engaging in an improper dual relationship. The suspension includes a partial contingent probation. The Board additionally imposed an administrative penalty. Aguirre was also subjected to having a practice monitor.

Ordered psychologist Rachel Tova Winer to pay an administrative penalty for failure to respond in a timely manner to a request for patient records.

Reprimanded Rebecca Smith Sterling for rendering a forensic opinion concerning visitation and access without conducting a forensic evaluation. The Board also imposed and administrative penalty.

Imposed an administrative penalty on Frank Edward Saucedo for failure to report an arrest in a timely manner.

Reprimanded Marta Elena Otero for rendering a forensic opinion concerning visitation without conducting a forensic evaluation. The Board also imposed an administrative penalty.

Reprimanded psychologist Joann C. Androvik for failure to create and maintain adequate treatment notes and patient records. The Board also imposed an administrative penalty.

Source: Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists Board Disciplinary Sanctions, February 2012.

August 8, 2012

Disgraced criminal psychologist Vito Zepinic attempts to redefine response to life’s troubles as mental disorder

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) recently received a press release with the title “New, Serious Psych Disorder, Its Nature and Treatment in Book”.  It was issued for psychologist Vito Zepinic’s new book, The Self and Complex Trauma.

“Complex Trauma,” says Zepinic “develops when the individual is subject to repeated traumas…and is incapable of escaping it for an extended period of time.”  Zepinic knows a lot about this from personal experience. He most likely made up this “new” disorder as a way to position himself as a mental health expert, since he is unable to obtain employment due to his own dishonesty (more on this later).

Dr. Zepinic says that this disorder is “serious”.  Of course, anyone who has ever gone through tough times–deaths of loved ones, reversals of fortune, broken releationships, disappointed expectations–knows how serious life feels during those times.

But that is not new and it’s certainly not a mental disorder.

Life can be traumatic. How you respond to that trauma is proof of your character but it’s not a mental disorder.

Life can also be full of satisfaction and even joy. CCHR suspects that Dr. Zepinic might be working on another book about a “new” disorder in people who are living quite happily. recently discovered the “new” syndrome of Compulsive Labeling Disorder. The sufferers of this “new, serious” disorder are uniformly mental health “professionals.”

About Zepinic:

Vitomir Zepinic left his native Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s for Australia, where he first registered as a psychologist in 1994. In May 1998, he applied to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for assessment of his specialist qualifications in psychiatry. The AMC required him to fulfill a period of supervised clinical practice before being eligible to sit for his examination as a psychiatrist. In February 2000, Zepinic filed an application with the Queensland Medical Board for a conditional medical registration, which would allow him to fill a training position in psychiatry. He applied for and was granted a renewal of his conditional registration in May 2001 to continue specialist training as “Senior Medical Officer – Psychiatry.” However, in March 2001, the AMC advised the medical Board that Zepinic was not entitled to advanced standing in medicine/psychiatry as his post-graduate training was in the non-medical subject of psychotherapy.

The reason for the Australian authorities’ reassessment of Zepinic’s qualifications was acquisition of information from the institution in Yugoslavia from which Zepinic had graduated, which had not been available earlier due to the conflicts in Yugoslavia at the time. The Queensland Medical Board cancelled Zepinic’s registration on May 14 2002 noting that he did not have a “valid registrable undergraduate qualification in medicine.”

Zepinic had falsely claimed to have medical degrees from Sarajevo and Belgrade universities and had misled the Medical Boards of New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, Australia. The Australian licensing authority’s Tribunal’s decision document lists 19 separate occasions between 1996 and 2009 when Zepinic misrepresented his qualifications to licensing boards/councils, prospective employers, a court of law and a publishing company, among others.

He was convicted August 18, 2008 on six counts of having misrepresented himself as a medical doctor. The Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales subsequently banned Zepinic from practicing for five years. The decision was upheld on appeal on August 12, 2010. He may not reapply for licensure until August 2015.

On March 1, 2010, Zepinic resigned from his position as senior lecturer in psychiatry in the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (a position he obtained by misrepresenting his credentials) after school authorities confronted him about his 2008 criminal conviction.

July 7, 2012

Board suspends counselor Karmin Fowler’s license

Filed under: DUI,License suspended,mental health counselor — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:36 pm

On April 2, 2012, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners lifted an earlier stay-of-suspension on counselor Karmin Fowler’s license, based on non-compliance with an earlier consent agreement. The result was that her license was suspended for 24 months.

Fowler had been arrested for extreme DUI in July 2009 and failed to report to the Board within 10 days, as is required. When she applied for a credential as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in June 2010, she was required to complete a substance abuse evaluation. The evaluation indicated that she was at risk for a recurrence of alcohol problems. A supervisor at a previous employment indicated that Fowler had been warned about her lack of dependability and missing client appointments.

On July 18, 2011, the Board issue the aforementioned consent order, placing Fowler on 24 months stayed suspension, 24 months clinical supervision and 24 months of AA attendance at least three times a week for 12 months.

On April 7, 2011, her LPC application was denied. The lifting to the consent order and subsequent suspension were due to a relapse, thus violating the terms of the order.

Source: Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Adverse Action Tracking Form, 2012.

Psychiatrist John A. Sharp, suspended in Kentucky, subsequently charged by California

Filed under: License suspended,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:22 pm

On March 30, 2012, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against psychiatrist John A. Sharp, based upon disciplinary actions taken upon Sharp by the licensing authority of the state of Kentucky.

In August 2011, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure issued an Emergency Order of Suspension on Sharp, which was later amended to suspend his license until the complaint against him was resolved.

The Kentucky Board found that Sharp prescribed controlled substances and other drugs to family members and other with whom he did not have physician-patient relationship, without establishing medical necessity and without creating a medical record. Additionally, Sharp used his position to make false statements on a petition for involuntary hospitalization against his brother and self-administered at least some of the prescriptions he wrote for others.

In August 2011, he arrived at a locum tenens (temporary) assignment with two bottles of wine and was so mean and rude to nursing staff that the hospital staff refused to allow him to work, fearing he was impaired.

He was required by the Kentucky Board to undergo several evaluations, which found numerous conditions which impair his ability practice medicine safely.

Source: First Amended Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against John A. Sharp, Certificate No. G-85690, Case No. 16-2011-219292.

When is a psychologist not a psychologist? When they become the patient’s friend, landlord, employer

Filed under: License suspended,psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:14 pm

Psychologist Jean Barnes lost her license because she could not simply be a psychologist.

On September 19, 2011, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal—the health care disciplinary agency of the Australian state of Victoria—revoked the Barnes’ license..

Between January 1994 and December 2004, Ms. Barnes was the director of a college counseling service and was also employed as a tutor and lecturer in one of the colleges Graduate Diploma courses.

According to the Tribunal’s document, in 1994, Barnes was a tutor to a female student who was studying at the college to get a degree in mental health counseling. Later in 1994, Barnes invited the student, who had by then gained her diploma, to work with her as a counselor at the college.

Barnes was aware that the graduate was a vulnerable person as the graduate had informed Barnes of, among other things, a history of childhood sexual abuse from a member of the clergy.

During the time that the graduate worked under Barnes, the two exchanged poetry, spent considerable time together, including vacation time, and otherwise became emotionally very close—conduct which is precluded by all ethics codes for psychologists issued in Australia.

When the personal relationship

Barnes worked in private practice from 2005 until her license was suspended in 2009. In 2006, she provided counseling services to a married couple. She provided individual counseling as well to the wife.

The wife revealed much to Barnes, including a history of sexual abuse. In late 2006, Barnes invited the wife to stay at her house, which she did on two occasions. Later, she resided there continuously until mid-2009 and participated in Barnes’ family and social life. During this time, Ms. Barnes had the wife sleep with her in her bed for a certain period of time. The wife even worked for Barnes’ daughter, cleaning her house.

The document also states that during counseling sessions, she physically interacted with the wife by stroking her hair, holding her hands, rubbing her hands and feet, allowing her to put her head in Barnes’ lap and massaging her shoulders.

Further, she gave poetry that she had written to the wife and read the wife’s private e-mails.

Ultimately, the wife recognized that she was not benefiting from Barnes’ service and left her home. The Tribunal found that Barnes did not possess the level of skill to address the wife’s complex troubles nor the competence to recognize the need to such things as medical care, citing an incident when the wife arrived at her home physically injured and Barnes failed to summon medical attention.

Barnes will have to wait two years before she can petition to get her license back.

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