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.

May 7, 2013

Psychologist John Cicconi loses license for sexual and abusive relationship with patient

Filed under: patient abuse,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation,sexual misconduct — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:24 pm

A long-time psychologist who had an intimate and physically abusive relationship with a mentally ill patient has been de-registered.

Vincent Cicconi, who practiced in Moonee Ponds, was reprimanded and found guilty of professional misconduct for the three-year relationship with a female patient 20 years his junior.

The patient, who cannot be named, first met Mr Cicconi in April 2008 for treatment for her depression, anxiety and personality disorder, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.

The patient abused alcohol, ecstasy and cannabis and Mr Cicconi described her to Centrelink as “basically homeless” and “unable to look for work, given her mental state”, the tribunal heard.

After the third consultation, the relationship between Mr Cicconi and his patient became “unorthodox” when he invited her to have lunch with him at a cafe. This was followed by repeated shared meals, him giving her lifts home after consultations, going to the cinema, restaurants and concerts together and him giving her money.

The professional relationship ended after about two months but the sexual relationship began a short time later.

The Australian Psychological Society’s code of ethics states that psychologists cannot have sex with a former patient for at least two years after the professional relationship has ended, and even then, it must be discussed with a senior psychologist. The patient is also encouraged to have independent counselling.

Mr Cicconi allowed his patient to stay overnight at his house and at the end of 2008, she moved into his home for about two months.

In their recently published judgment, VCAT deputy president Heather Lambrick and members John Farhall and Marian Power said the relationship between Mr Cicconi and his patient was “erratic and tumultuous” and “characterised by conflict, recriminations, separations and reconciliations”.

In March 2010, during an argument at his house, Mr Cicconi punched the patient in the face. Police later successfully sought an intervention order on her behalf against Mr Cicconi.

In February 2011, the pair had a “physical conflict” which left her with a bloody hand. Mr Cicconi was granted a diversion on an assault charge in court, meaning no conviction was recorded.

Despite this, contact between Mr Cicconi and the patient continued, and in 2012, they met again and had sex.

Months earlier, Mr Cicconi lied to the Psychology Board of Australia when it asked him for contact details for the patient.

The tribunal, describing the patient as “extremely vulnerable”, said the violence, sexual relationship and living arrangements between Mr Cicconi and the patient were “reprehensible”.

“Mr Cicconi should have realised that his own objectivity and capacity to provide appropriate treatment and care would be impaired,” the tribunal said. “The psychologist and patient relationship should have been immediately terminated with appropriate arrangements put in place for (the patient’s) ongoing care. This did not occur.”

The tribunal said that although it accepted Mr Cicconi was not adequately qualified to deal with the patient’s complex needs, he should have referred her on to someone who was, and not pursued a relationship.

It added that it could not rationalise the patient’s vulnerability and the inherent power imbalance in the relationship and that the entire profession was brought into disrepute when practitioners exploited professional relationships for their own advantage.

Mr Cicconi was reprimanded and his registration was cancelled, effective mid-May. He is not allowed to reapply for registration for 15 months after the cancellation begins, and will need to show that the conduct will not be repeated.

Source: Adrian Lowe, “Sex with patient costs psychologist his job,” The Age, April 30, 2013.

May 4, 2013

Bill pending in Louisiana legislature would make psychotherapist sex with patients a crime

BATON ROUGE — A Lafourche Parish lawmaker has introduced legislation that he said would better define the sexual boundaries that should be applied to psychotherapists and their patients.

Rep. Dee Richard, no party affiliation, Thibodaux, said he attempted to take the issue in from several different angles when drafting House Bill 226.

The legislation is expected to be debated during the regular session that convenes Monday.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

“When you are under a psychotherapist’s care, you are very vulnerable,” Richard said. “There are a lot of cases out there where sexual contact occurred and it did not end well. This is something we should do a better job of avoiding.”

Richard’s bill would create a new crime that prohibits “sexual contact by a psychotherapist.”

It would not only target psychotherapists but also any person who “fraudulently represents himself as or purports to be a psychotherapist.”

The proposed law would apply more specifically to psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, mental health counselors and “any other person who provides or purports to provide treatment, diagnosis, assessment, evaluation, or counseling of any mental, emotional, behavioral, or addictive illnesses, disorders, symptoms, or conditions.”

As the bill is drafted, none of these individuals would not be allowed to engage in sexual contact with a client or patient, current or former.

Richard’s bill goes into great detail as to what constitutes a sexual act and seeks to cover a wide array of sexual scenarios.

”Some people may have a problem with the bill, in terms of consensual sex, and I am trying to address that,” Richard said.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

Under the bill, a psychotherapist would be allowed to have sexual contact with a former client as long as it occurs one year after their professional medical relationship ends.

There must also be a paper trail showing that the psychotherapist referred the former patient to an “independent and objective psychotherapist, recommended by a third-party psychotherapist, for treatment.”

According to the legislation, the consent of the patient alone “shall not be a defense.”

The penalties for breaking the proposed law would be imprisonment for no more than 10 years, a fine up to $10,000 or both.

If the sexual contact occurs by means of “therapeutic deception,” the bill calls for a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

Therapeutic deception, as defined in the bill, means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact is “consistent” with part of their patient’s treatment.

Richard said a local constituent brought the idea for the legislation to him, and the person is expected to testify during the regular session although the person was not prepared to be interviewed this week.

The legislation has been assigned to the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

Source: Jeremy Alford, “Bill examines psychotherapists’ sexual relationships with patients,” HoumaToday.com, April 6, 2013.

January 25, 2013

Jury to decide fate of Calgary psychiatrist Aubrey Levin, accused of sexual assault

Filed under: psychiatrist,sexual abuse — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:22 pm

CALGARY – Jurors will be charged on Friday with determining a verdict in the trial of a Calgary psychiatrist accused of sexually assaulting several of his patients.

It has been over three months since the trial for Dr. Aubrey Levin began.

He’s facing ten counts of sexually abusing nine of his patients.

The Crown alleges the abuse took place over 11 years from 1999 to 2010, including some patients who were court-ordered to see Levin.

In his final arguments, Crown prosecutor Bill Wister told the jury the alleged victims were sitting ducks, and were the last people on earth a psychiatrist would expect to speak out.

During the trial, the jury viewed graphic video the chief complainant said was secretly recorded, showing allegedly inappropriate contact from Levin.

Source: Melissa Ramsay, “Jury to decide fate of Calgary psychiatrist accused of sexual assault,” Global News, January 25, 2013.

The man who took the video says he was assaulted by Levin numerous times during court-ordered counseling sessions.

Levin has said he was conducting an examination to check for sexual dysfunction.

The 73-year-old was found physically able to stand trial, but his lawyers argued that he has dementia and does not understand the justice system.

His defence lawyer Chris Archer has told the jury the nine men who accuse him of sexual assault are motivated by money and have fabricated their allegations.

January 11, 2013

Worker at child psych center, 24, arrested for sex with patient, 13

Jackson police arrested a Madison Oaks Academy staff member early Thursday morning after another worker at the facility reported that the man was caught having sex with an underage female resident there.

Madison Oaks Academy, located at 49 Old Hickory Blvd, is a 73-bed residential psychiatric treatment facility for children between the ages of 10 and 18 “with emotional and behavioral disorders,” according to the facility’s website.

Officers received a call from the facility around 1 a.m Thursday. An employee at the academy reported to police that staff member Larry McIntosh, 24, had just been caught having sex with a 13-year-old resident, according to a news release from the Jackson Police Department.

The release said investigators concluded that a staff member was making early-morning rounds when the worker saw McIntosh engaged in the act.

“The staff member, who witnessed the incident, immediately alerted his superiors, who then notified police,” the release said. “McIntosh, 24, was arrested at the facility and booked into the Madison County Jail at 2:40 a.m.”

The Department of Children’s Services is assisting in the investigation, police said.

Police reported that Madison Oaks Academy suspended McIntosh pending the outcome of the investigation.

When The Jackson Sun contacted the facility Thursday afternoon to inquire about McIntosh’s position and employment history at the facility, a worker who answered the phone said Madison Oaks Academy has declined to speak on the matter at this time.

The academy’s website said the facility is “specifically designed for children and adolescents.”

“Our staff specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents with disorders such as ADHD, PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder and other behavioral and mood disorders,” the facility’s homepage said Thursday. “A highly structured behavioral management program, with a level system, is implemented to assist residents in gauging their progress. It also assists residents in learning to accept responsibility for their own behaviors, both positive and negative.”

The facility is part of the Woodridge Behavioral Care centers also located in Arkansas and Missouri.

McIntosh is scheduled to be arraigned at 8 a.m. today in Jackson City Court on charges of aggravated statutory rape and statutory rape by an authority figure.

Source: Jordan Buie, “Madison Oaks Academy staffer faces sex charges; Employee reported seeing co-worker with 13-year-old,” Jackson Sun, January 10, 2013.

Janice Husted, DoD psychologist, charged with sexual assault of patient, a combat veteran

Filed under: psychologist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 3:19 pm
Tags:

Hollywood loves stories about psychiatrists and patients drawn into love matches during their shared time together — much of it involving a couch. But the folks at the Colorado Springs Police Department aren’t nearly as charmed by the concept. Just ask Dr. Janice Husted, who’s been arrested for allegedly getting horizontal with a client from the military.

janice husted mug shot cropped.jpg

Dr. Janice Husted

The attraction between the man and Husted, whose LinkedIn profile lists her as a clinical psychologist at the U.S. D

epartment of Defense, appears to have been a slow burn. According to the CSPD, the man was assigned to receive counseling related to his combat deployments in the summer of 2010.

The man says his relationship with Husted became considerably more hands-on in August 2011 and continued through October or November of that year.

Husted allegedly warned the man not to tell anyone else that they were, um, dating. When he complained about having to keep this secret, she’s said to have told him they could go public in a mere two years — and when that response didn’t satisfy him, she precipitated a break-up.

This decision didn’t get Husted off the hook. After a CSPD investigation, Husted was busted on New Year’s Eve. The charge against her — sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist — is a class-four felony.

The cops are still collecting information on the case. Anyone with more to share should phone the department at 719-444-7000 or Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers, Inc. at 719-634-STOP (7867).

Source: Michael Roberts, “Dr. Janice Husted, psychologist, charged with sex assault on military client,” Westword (blog), January 8, 2013.

November 9, 2012

Psychiatrist Bolarinwa Olutosin Oluwole loses license for sex with patients

Filed under: psychiatrist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:55 am

A psychiatrist who worked at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital has lost his licence for sexual misconduct with his patients.

Dr. Bolarinwa Olutosin Oluwole had sexual intercourse with two female patients and acted inappropriately with another female patient, the College of Physicians and Surgeons said in a news release Thursday.

Two women lodged complaints against him in March 2010 and a third woman filed a complaint the following September. Oluwole lost his professional sponsorship in June 2010, which ended his ability to practise in Nova Scotia at that time, the college said.

Oluwole, a native of Nigeria, is now living in Ontario but he is not practising, said college registrar Dr. Gus Grant in an interview.

“If you were to seek a licence in any jurisdiction in Canada, that jurisdiction would have to get a certificate of professional conduct from our college,” Grant said. “In doing so, they would be made fully aware of this decision.”

In the course of the investigation, the college received evidence that included condoms, lubricant and a CD of sexually explicit photographs of a woman found in Oluwole’s desk. None of the complainants were in the photographs, the college’s hearing committee said in its report released Thursday.

Oluwole signed a settlement agreement in August 2012 admitting his sexual misconduct.

He was hired as a staff psychiatrist at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital in 2008. He received his medical degree in Nigeria and completed his psychiatric residence in Ireland in 2006.

Oluwoleworked at the London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont., before coming to Nova Scotia, Grant said.

Source: John McPhee, “Psychiatrist loses licence for having sex with patients,” Herald News, November 8, 2012.

November 7, 2012

Ontario psychiatrist Stanley Dobrowolski arrested for sexual assault and voyeurism

Filed under: psychiatrist,sexual abuse,sexual exploitation — Psych Crime Reporter @ 9:30 am

A London psychiatrist with a long history of sexual impropriety is behind bars after London police charged him Tuesday with sexual assault and voyeurism.

Dr. Stanley Dobrowolski, 65, who was suspended Oct. 12 by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, is being investigated by the force’s sexual- assault and child-abuse sections.

Female patients were videotaped during physical examinations without their knowledge, police said.

Dobrowolski is accused of abusing his position of trust by inappropriately touching a patient or conducting an unnecessary physical examination, police said.

The charges stem from incidents between 2005 and 2011.

Police said they’ll oppose Dobrowolski’s release if he applies for bail. He’s scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Dobrowolski’s history is marked with reprimands for professional misconduct involving female patients.

In May 1995, his licence was suspended for three months after he engaged in a sexual relationship with a former patient — a student — who came to him after attempting suicide.

He was reprimanded for showing a student how to give herself a breast exam after she had come in to talk about her depression.

Allegations by three other women were dismissed at that time.

In 2001, Dobrowolski was again reprimanded for professional misconduct and required supervision for five months.

Three years later in 2004, he pleaded guilty to kissing and hugging a female patient, a student he treated at Western University’s student-health centre, during a night spent at a hotel in 1992. By that time, at least 12 women had launched official complaints against him.

In all, he’s been found guilty by regulators four times. The string of violations has so far netted him two three-month suspensions and two reprimands.

Investigators believe former patients may have information that will assist them. They can call police at 519-660-5842.

The public can also contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario toll-free at 1-800-268-7096, ext. 603.

Source: Scott Taylor, “Psychiatrist has a history of sexual misconduct with patients,” London Free Press, November 6, 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

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.

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