On May 29, 2013, the Maine Board of Examiners of Psychologists issued a formal reprimand to psychologist Carole Orem-Hough. Orem-Hough agreed as well to surrender her license for at least one year. This action was the result of a complaint filed by a former patient of Orem-Hough, who reported that the psychologist disclosed that she was double billing the patient’s insurance and was double billing all of her patients who were insured by either Aetna or Harvard Pilgrim as they did not reimburse her what she felt she should be reimbursed.
August 7, 2013
On August 17, 2012, the Maryland State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists denied Donald Duane Flemmer’s (a.k.a. David Flemmer) application for licensure to practice as a licensed clinical professional counselor.
Flemmer, who was previously licensed in the state as clinical professional counselor, allowed his license to lapse on December 31, 2008 and failed to renew it.
The Board’s document states, among other things, that the Board received a complaint on December 2010 from the Maryland State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, alleging that Flemmer had submitted forged documents to the a prospective employer in which he misrepresented himself as a psychologist. The Board of Psychology also received a complaint from the prospective employer which alleged that Flemmer “fraudulently misrepresented himself as a licensed psychologist in the State of Maryland.”
In October 2010, Flemmer submitted an application for renewal of his clinical counseling license. The Counseling Board began a review of his application and, in doing so, received information from the Psychology Board about his alleged misrepresentation of his qualifications as a psychologist.
Under investigation by both the Counseling and Psychology Boards, Flemmer, among other things, denied applying for a position as a psychologist, “feigning confusion and surprise at such an assertion,” according to the Board’s document.
Flemmer had no explanation as to how the prospective employer had obtained forged psychology licensing documents with his name or why the prospective employer claimed that Flemmer had been hired as Director of Behavioral Health in its North Dakota facility.
The employer verified that Flemmer had been hired and had posed as a licensed psychologist for two weeks prior to the discovery of his forged credentials.
May 31, 2010
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.”
April 21, 2010
On January 21, 2010, the Virginia Board of Psychology suspended the license of psychologist David A. Zoll for a period of no less than 18 months for a violations of state Regulations Govern the Practice of Psychology.
The Board’s document states that Zoll began a sexual relationship with a former patient in November 2007, following the termination of the therapeutic relationship with the patient, who had been his client for more than six years and who had a history of sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, stress and marital issues.
Zoll testified in his hearing that he chose to enter into the relationship with the former client despite having legal knowledge of the prohibition and the possible consequences.
Source: Order In Re: David A. Zoll, Ph.D., License No. 0810-001462, Case No. 123156, Before the Virginia Board of Psychology, filed January 21, 2010.
April 10, 2010
Pennsylvania psychologist Michael Degilio ordered to stand trial on charge of forcing patient to perform sex act on him
A psychologist from Carbon County faced the woman Friday who said she was forced to perform a sex act on him.
A magisterial district judge decided there was enough evidence against Michael Degileo to face trial.
“It wasn’t a surprise. The burden at a preliminary hearing is lower than at trial but we got what we needed, was a look at the alleged victim and see how she testified and heard her testimony,” said defense attorney John Waldron.
The 40-year-old mother from Lehighton testified she suffered a nervous breakdown, was depressed and had suicidal thoughts when a mental hospital referred her to psychologist Degileo for treatment.
The woman testified during an office visit Degileo kissed her, told her he loved women and sex and forced her to preform a sex act on him.
“She was claiming these things happened and I took the position today, if they did happen she consented,” said Waldron. He added it’s not a question of whether or not Degileo crossed the professional line. He explained that is a different issue and it’s not criminal.
Prosecutors would not talk publicly about their case.
Michael Degileo’s next appearance will be in May at the Carbon County courthouse. He has surrendered his license to practice and a decision on whether he will ever be able to practice will be decided after the court case.
Source: Bob Reynolds, “Psychologist Ordered to Trial for Sex Crimes,” WNEP-TV 16 (Moosic, Pennsylvania), April 9, 2010.
North Carolina psychologist Michael Streppa suspended on charges of “abusive” sexual relationship with patient
Officials with the state psychology board have suspended a Morganton psychologist’s license.
He is accused of having a sexual relationship with a patient.
The North Carolina Psychology Board suspended Michael Streppa’s license on March 9, said Martha Storie, the board’s executive director, and he is not allowed to practice as a psychologist while his license is suspended.
The board received two complaints against Streppa, 45, that allege he “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient” over the course of about two years.
The patient is not named in the board’s order of summary suspension or in a letter it sent to Streppa.
The letter from Storie and the board, dated April 1, says Streppa started treating the patient in 2004 when she was 16 years old, but an intimate relationship didn’t begin until June 2008. By that time, the patient was 21 years old.
The letter says Streppa terminated the patient’s treatment on April 27, 2009. According to the order of summary suspension, the intimate relationship continued until the patient was hospitalized in February.
The letter states, “The sexually intimate relationship between you and patient X, which was abusive in nature, also included dangerous situations that you participated in with patient X, involving individuals that were not known by you or patient X, are all documented in electronic mail correspondence.”
The patient was hospitalized on Feb. 15, the letter says, and told hospital staff about the relationship with Streppa.
Staff psychologists and the state psychology board’s investigators met with Streppa on March 5, but he refused to be interviewed, according to the board’s letter.
It details the state statutes and ethical standards the board believes he violated, including a prohibition against engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient.
Based on the complaints and Streppa’s unwillingness to respond to the board’s investigation, “the board finds that the public health, safety and welfare require that the board take emergency action” to suspend Streppa’s license.
Streppa resigned on March 12 from Broughton Hospital, where he served as a senior psychologist 1, said Mark Van Sciver, a spokesman for the state. Streppa started at Broughton on Dec. 12, 1998. Van Sciver said Broughton has no complaints or investigations against Streppa.
Storie said the alleged relationship developed through Streppa’s private practice.
The state first licensed Streppa on April 30, 1997. Storie said Streppa has not been the object of any board actions in the past.
Streppa may answer the allegations against him during a hearing expected to occur during the state psychology board’s meeting May 5-7 in Greensboro. Streppa or the board has the right to request a postponement of the hearing, Storie said, but the suspension would remain in effect.
Streppa also could negotiate a consent order with the board before the hearing, Storie said. Both parties have to agree on a consent order. She said such an order could result in anything from dismissing the charges against Streppa to revoking his license.
After the hearing, the board will issue a final decision regarding the allegations, the board’s letter says.
Numerous efforts by The News Herald to reach Streppa for comment were unsuccessful.
Source: “Board suspends psychologist’s license,” The News Herald, April 9, 2010.
March 17, 2010
Wisconsin college psychologist Mervin Smucker surrenders license on allegations of “dual relationship,” sex with patient
On February 20, 2010, psychologist Mervin R. Smucker surrendered his license to the Wisconsin Psychology Examining Board.
According to the Board’s document, Smucker, who held a faculty position at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and provided services at two hospitals in addition to a private practice, engaged in a dual relationship with a patient. Specifically, the document states that between October 2002 and May 2005, Smucker treated a woman for trauma she had experienced while a foreign exchange student in which she was abducted and raped and witnessed her boyfriend’s murder.
Smucker’s dual involvement with the patient included giving her rides home after two or three treatment sessions, being together with the patient in his home or other property he owned and (according the to the patient’s allegations), engaging in sexual contact and intercourse with her while she was his client.
The document states in particular that the patient attended a conference on Child Sexual Abuse and Incest at which Smucker was a presenter and that the two had connecting rooms while they stayed at the hotel.
Source: Final Decision and Order 0000051, in the Matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against Mervin R. Smucker, Ph.D., State of Wisconsin Before the Psychology Examining Board.
March 15, 2010
“Top” UK psychologist Malcolm Cross “offered male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself at meeting”
Malcolm Cross faces being struck off the register of psychologists after allegedly offering a male colleague sex
A distinguished psychologist offered a married male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself during a drunken meal with staff, it was alleged today.
Malcolm Cross confessed his love to Owen Hughes and attempted to put his arm round him as they dined.
When his advances were spurned, Cross touched himself in the crotch and threatened to expose himself, the Health Professions Council hearing was told.
He also flirted with waiters and rubbed the upper thigh of another man as his shocked wife looked on, it was claimed.
Dr Cross, a dean at London’s City University, makes frequent media appearances on BBC and boasts on his website of his ‘warm, vibrant and understanding personality.’
He also claims to appreciate the real concerns facing people today, especially ‘those affected by issues of sexuality.’
But he faces being struck off the register practitioner psychologists over his alleged behaviour at a meeting he was due to lead to discuss the accreditation of PHD students at the University of West of England in Bristol last June.
A ‘very drunk’ Cross arrived late unsteady on his feet and slurring his speech, the hearing was told.
He showed no interest what was being discussed by his four colleagues and instead urged to them go for a drink.
The meeting ended early because of his state and the group took a taxi to the Glass Boat restaurant where Cross continued to drink.
As Cross got drunker he flirted with waiting staff and launched into a rambling account of his troubled love life, Mr Hughes told the hearing.
‘He said he had been unfaithful to his current partner and admitted to a lot of inappropriate sexual behaviour that he was not proud about.
‘I tried to be understanding, but then he started telling me that he loved me.’
Cross repeatedly asked Mr Hughes to kiss him and eventually stood up and tried to plant a kiss on him from across the table.
Mr Hughes, who is a father, managed to rebuff him, but Cross then offered him oral sex.
‘The way he put it made me in no doubt as to his seriousness about it,’ Mr Hughes said.
‘He had no reason to think that I was anything other than heterosexual. It made me feel very uncomfortable. It was clear that his behaviour was unprofessional and I asked him to stop.’
But Cross also attempted to kiss Mr Perrett and rubbed his inner thigh.
Simon Perrett, another member of their group, attempted to laugh his behaviour off, but his wife who was also at the dinner was ‘not amused’, the hearing was told.
Another diner, Molly Ross from the British Psychological Society, said Cross also threatened to expose himself and asked Mr Hughes to do the same.
Dr Cross also picked on Miss Ross throughout the night accusing her being a ‘spoil sport’ because she was concerned about the amount being drunk.
The following morning, Cross smelt of ‘vomit and stale alcohol,’ but was still able to fulfil his role at the accreditation of students, the hearing was told.
Australian born Cross is chartered as a Counselling Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and is registered as such with the UK Health Professions Council.
He is a regular contributor to radio programmes including BBC London’s Late Show and BBC 94.9FM’s and has appeared on Radio 4’s Last Word and BBC Radio Five Live.
His page on City University website claims: ‘Malcolm has consistently charmed and advised clients, colleagues and students alike with his sense of humour and ability to translate complicated psychological concepts into easy to understand language.’
Cross denies misconduct or that his fitness to practice is impaired.
The hearing continues.
Source: Tom Kelly, “Top psychologist ‘offered male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself at meeting,'” London Daily Mail, March 15, 2010.
January 25, 2010
On January 8, 2010, Washington state school psychologist Craig Figley was arrested on a charge of 1st Degree Child Molestation.
Figley is the school psychologist at Colville High School, in Colville, Washington, which is about 50 miles north of Spokane.
Officers of the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office and the Colville Police executed a search warrant on Figley and arrested him on January 7th.
The allegations against him involve an 11-year-old victim who is not a relative of Figley’s. The alleged incident is reported as not having occurred on school grounds.
Figley is being held on a $250,000 bond. His arraignment is pending and the investigation continues.
Source: Rob Kauder, “School psychologist arrested on child molestation charge” KXLY.com, January 8, 2010.
January 13, 2010
On December 2, 2009, the Wisconsin Psychology Examining Board issued a Final Decision and Order on Paul R. Hamilton, limiting his license by requiring his practice to be supervised by a Board-approved psychologist.
According to the Board’s document, Hamilton treated a 16-year-old patient from November 2005 to January 2007. The patient’s parents authorized only two sessions per week but through much of 2006, Hamilton billed for as many as seven sessions per week, some of which occurred on weekends and at night, both in-person and through e-mail and instant messaging.
Though Hamilton stated that he discussed with the parents the efficacy of this form of treatment for the patient, the parents denied knowledge of several of these treatment sessions at the time they occurred.
When the patient’s insurance benefits were exhausted, Hamilton began billing the insurance company for the patient’s sessions under the parents’ names, although he did not see the parents as patients.
Upon terminating Hamilton’s services, the parents received a bill showing an outstanding total balance of $11,630 for services allegedly provided to the mother, father and daughter.
When the parents disputed their bill, Hamilton contacted the patient by e-mail and told her of the dispute, which the patient stated caused her to self-harm.
In addition to having his practice supervised, Hamilton is also required by the Board to complete six hours of continuing education in law and ethics for psychologists and six hours of education in billing for psychologists, as well as a $1,200 for the cost of the proceeding against him.
Source: Final Decision and Order in the Matter of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Paul R. Hamilton, LS0912021PSY, Case #08 PSY 012, State of Wisconsin Psychology Examining Board, December 2, 2009.