Psych Crime Reporter

July 16, 2014

Prison psychologist Bobbie Bergmeier guilty of affair with convicted murderer

Filed under: prison psychologist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:31 pm

SHE thought he was “sexy” and wanted to be with him forever. The only problem was she was his psychologist and he was a convicted murderer.

Bobbie Bergmeier met the inmate — who can be referred to only as Client A — after she began working as a psychologist at Junee Correctional Centre in the NSW Riverina region in April 2010.

At the time, Client A was serving the final years of his 21-year sentence for murder and malicious wounding.

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) alleges Ms Bergmeier began having intimate telephone conversations with him, declaring “she loved him and couldn’t wait to be with him” and “he was sexy and she wanted him forever”.

She resigned from the prison job in August 2011 but continued to stay in contact with him, visiting his family and friends, and applying to be his sponsor for weekend leave.

Client A was serving the final years of a 21 year sentence for murder and malicious wound

In a bid to cover up her relationship, Ms Bergmeier also used a colleague’s password to log into Client A’s case notes and change them to create “distance” between herself and him, the HCCC alleged.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal NSW found her guilty of professional misconduct, saying she “has been involved in a serious boundary violation and placed her client at risk”.

Although Client A was serving time for murder, the tribunal said he had been in jail all of his adult life with little opportunity to explore relationships.

He was “needy and dependent and psychologically vulnerable”, it heard.

Asked why she didn’t end the relationship when the stakes were so high, Ms Bergmeier told the tribunal her feelings were “so strong” that she didn’t think to.

The relationship started in prison but Client A and Ms Bergmeier are believed to still be

The relationship started in prison but Client A and Ms Bergmeier are believed to still be seeing each other. Picture:

Ms Bergmeier said she accepted responsibility for her actions and acknowledged that what she did was wrong.

She understood her conduct had breached her professional code of ethics.

The tribunal cancelled her registration, saying: “Her insight into the seriousness of her conduct and its impact on her client, her colleagues and the profession as a whole remains questionable.” Client A was released on parole in March.

Ms Bergmeier is now enrolled in a degree in primary school teaching at Charles Sturt University.

It is believed the pair are continuing to see each other.

Source: “Prison psychologist Bobbie Bergmeier guilty of misconduct over relationship with murderer inmate,” News.com.au, July 17, 2014.

February 28, 2011

Texas will not discipline CIA psychologist despite “thousands of pages of evidence”

DALLAS — The Texas agency that licenses and oversees psychologists has dismissed a complaint against a major figure in the CIA’s post-Sept. 11 interrogations.

The Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists dismissed the complaint against Jim Mitchell after considering the matter at a meeting Feb. 10, according to documents obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The board said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Mitchell violated its rules. Former U.S. intelligence officials have said he was involved in waterboarding two suspected terror suspects in overseas prisons.

Mitchell, a retired Air Force psychologist, lives in Florida but is licensed to practice in Texas.

The complaint against Mitchell contended he tortured prisoners in U.S. custody, including Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida facilitator who was badly wounded after his 2002 capture in Pakistan. Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times, sometimes as much as three times per interrogation session, according to the complaint.

Sherry Lee, the agency’s executive director, said Texas law prohibits the board from disclosing anything about a complaint unless it results in disciplinary action.

Henry Schuelke, an attorney representing Mitchell, said neither he nor his client could comment. He also cited the confidentiality of the proceedings.

The board’s ruling was made two days after a hearing closed to the public in which three board members considered the complaint as well as Mitchell’s response.

Jim Cox, a San Antonio psychologist who was one of the complainants, said Friday that the board made its decision despite thousands of pages of evidence, including sworn testimony, tying Mitchell to practices that violate professional ethics.

“I don’t know what to make of it,” Cox said. “The board is empowered to protect citizens from the misdeeds of psychologists. That’s their only function. And as far as I can tell, they dropped the ball on this one.”

The other complainants were Dicky Grigg, an Austin attorney who represented three terror suspects imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, and Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who served as Zubaydah’s civilian attorney.

In dismissing the complaint, Texas falls into line with other states that have determined they won’t pursue cases against psychologists linked to questionable interrogation methods in the post-Sept. 11 era.

Boards in Ohio and Louisiana have decided not to take action against Larry James, a retired Army psychologist who has been accused of observing abusive interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo without doing anything to stop them.  And New York’s Office of Professional discipline has declined to pursue an investigation of John Leso, an Army psychologist accused of developing abusive tactics used at Guantanamo.

The Texas case had particular significance because the American Psychological Association wrote a letter to the board saying Mitchell’s conduct, as detailed in the complaint and media reports, was “unique in the scope of misperception and harm” it caused the profession.

Representatives of the organization didn’t immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment on the board’s decision.

Source: Danny Robbins, “Texas board won’t discipline CIA psychologist,” Houston Chronicle, February 25, 2011.

February 1, 2011

State hospital psychiatrist Celeste B. Waters convicted, reprimanded by state

On November 19, 2010, the Medical Board of California issued a Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order, reprimanding psychiatrist Celeste B. Waters.

Waters, who was employed as a contract staff psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital (ASH, a maximum security forensic psychiatric facility), was convicted April 7, 2009 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court (California vs. Waters, case no. M000423867) in violation of the state Business and Professions Code section regarding the keeping of accurate patient records.

According to the Board’s document, on or about July 8, July 25 and August 1, 2008, Waters cancelled and did not conduct the schedule medication management group meetings which were her duty; she left the ASH premises when the times when the meetings were scheduled.  At these times, she signed and delivered to ASH management documents or records which falsely represented that she had conducted the meetings, when if fact, they did not take place.

In addition to the reprimand, Waters is required to, among other things, complete an ethics course.

Source: Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order, in the Matter of the Accusation Against Celeste B. Waters, M.D., Case No. 08-2009-198-732, OAH No. 2010070931, Medical Board or California.

May 31, 2010

Psychologist Krishna Duangpatra quits over jail affair with prison inmatet

Filed under: prison psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 5:57 pm
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A PRISON psychologist has given up her career for love after becoming the latest from her profession to fall for a convicted felon.

Authorities became concerned at the apparent attraction between the 41-year-old offender – who is serving 28 years’ jail for robbery, conspiracy and perjury – and Krishna Duangpatra during their counselling sessions at Wolston Correctional Centre.

Ms Duangpatra has resigned from her job at Wolston and withdrawn her registration as a psychologist to avoid disciplinary action by the Psychologists Board of Queensland.

She is now employed as a counsellor with youth services charity Boystown, and is unable to even visit her love in prison because of her detailed knowledge of the jail.

A Corrective Services spokesman said the pair could correspond through letters which would be screened, as a matter of routine, by the prison.

The convict,  whose criminal history dates back to 1984, is not due for release until May 8, 2018.

A love letter from another female psychologist was found in the convict’s cell at another correctional centre in 1997. At the time, he was moved to another prison and the psychologist resigned.

Prison sources said the prisoner was flagged within Wolston to be watched with women staff members because of his history.

“This inmate is highly manipulative and develops a somewhat false charm that these psychologists, of all people, fall for,” said the source.

The Corrective Services spokesman said all allegations of inappropriate relationships were immediately referred to the Ethical Standards Branch for investigation.

“(That) may result in dismissal or other disciplinary measures,” he said.

“All staff are bound by a code of conduct and are expected to maintain professional standards.”

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