Monthly Archives: September 2012

Yet another UK psych nurse is struck off for sex with a patient

A mental health nurse who started a sexual relationship with a patient in her care before bombarding him with texts when he broke it off has been struck off.

Deborah Boulton was said to have met a male patient and given him her mobile number, texted him messages saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I love you’.

The band 6 nurse’s actions fell ‘seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse’, a tribunal ruled, saying her ability to practice is impaired by reason of her misconduct.

She was said to have met the man, known as Patient A, at the Sutherland Centre, for people with poor mental health, in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, in early 2009.
Relationship: A tribunal heard Deborah Boulton had sex with one of her patients five times after meeting him at the Sutherland Centre in Stoke-on-Trent

Relationship: A tribunal heard Deborah Boulton had sex with one of her patients five times after meeting him at the Sutherland Centre in Stoke-on-Trent

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing was told Boulton gave the patient, who had previously been treated in hospital for an alleged overdose of diazepam and alcohol issues, her mobile number and texted him, telling him ‘I miss you’ and ‘I love you’.

During their relationship the pair had sex around five times: once in a hotel, once in his mother’s house and approximately three times in Boulton’s house.

The patient claimed when he tried to finish the relationship Boulton bombarded him with calls and texts until he destroyed his mobile phone to avoid contact from her.

The panel heard Boulton went on to take sick leave leading to her case load being re-allocated, which eventually resulted in claims of their relationship emerging.

The allegations came to light when Patient A attended a counselling session in August, where he suggested to a counsellor that he had suffered a relapse because of the relationship, the hearing was told.

Boulton was not present and not represented at the hearing in central London last week, but had denied the allegations.

The NMC Competence and Conduct Committee panel struck Boulton off, finding she breached professional boundaries by giving Patient A her phone number and instructing him to call her, and also found she had failed to maintain accurate records and failed to create a care plan for him.

The panel accepted evidence given by Patient A that Boulton left voicemail messages on his phone saying words to the effect of: ‘If you do not come and see me now then you will never see me again’, and ‘I will end the relationship and you will be alone because you will never see me again’.

It also found proved allegations that the Boulton took the patient to Frankie and Benny’s in Newtown, Stoke-on-Trent, between May and June 2009, and to dinner with a friend in May 2009, and also that she bought him alcohol on two occasions.

‘By placing her own needs above the needs of Patient A, Ms Boulton breached the fundamental tenets of the profession.’

The panel also found proved claims that the couple had sex on around May 12, 2009, in Patient A’s bedroom at his mother’s house in Longton; and that they stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Stoke-on-Trent near Britannia Stadium, where they also slept together.

It was also found proven that during May and/or June 2009, the pair had sex approximately three times at Boulton’s home.

Deciding whether the facts proved amounted to misconduct, the panel ruled Boulton’s actions fell ‘seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse and amounts to misconduct’.

Striking her off, it said her failings were ‘significant departures’ from the standards expected.

‘By placing her own needs above the needs of Patient A, Ms Boulton breached the fundamental tenets of the profession and the panel is of the view that to allow her to continue practising would fail to protect the public, and undermine public confidence in the profession and in the NMC as a regulatory body.’

An 18-month Interim Suspension Order was also put in place to allow for the possibility of an appeal. If Boulton does not appeal within 28 days, then the order will be replaced by the striking-off order.

Source: “Mental health nurse who had sex with patient then bombarded him with texts when he ended relationship is struck off,” Daily Mail Reporter, September 18, 2012.

California psychologist John Visher arrested on child sex abuse and child porn charges

CAPITOLA, California — A 65-year-old psychologist was arrested Wednesday at his La Selva Beach home on suspicion of child sex abuse and child porn possession.

Capitola police received a report in January that Dr. John Visher possibly had committed lewd acts with a minor who was his client at the time. According to the criminal complaint, the incidents are alleged to have taken place sometime between September 2009 and December 2009, prosecutor Michael Gilman said.

The girl was 8 years old at the time.

During the course of the police investigation, a search warrant was executed at Visher’s home and his office on Bay Avenue in Capitola.

Due to potential patient-therapist privilege issues, the court appointed a special investigator to review all items seized during the investigation. Members of the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office assisted.

Visher was arrested by Capitola police detectives Wednesday. He’s charged with committing lewd acts with a child younger than 14, displaying harmful matter to a child and four counts of possession of child pornography.

Visher was taken into custody and booked into County Jail without incident. He was out on bail as of Wednesday night and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Authorities have notified the state licensing board that oversees licensing of psychologists of the investigation and the arrest.

Visher was first licensed to practice psychology in California in August 1982, according to the California Board of Psychology. He does not have any prior administrative citations or disciplinary actions on record with the agency.

The investigation is ongoing, according to Capitola detective Sarah Ryan.

Source: Jessica M. Pasko, “Capitola psychologist arrested on suspicion of child molestation,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, September 20, 2012.

University of Alberta head of psychiatry resigns over Ontario sexual misconduct allegation

The University of Alberta’s new head of psychiatry has resigned his position less than two weeks after CBC News revealed he faces an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a female patient in Ontario.

Dr. Claudio Soares resigned as head of the University of Alberta’s psychiatry department.Dr. Claudio Soares resigned as head of the University of Alberta’s psychiatry department. (McMaster University)

Dr. Claudio de Novaes Soares, incoming chair of the department of psychiatry, resigned effective immediately, according to a letter to university staff on Monday.

Soares was to assume the role of chair on September 1, but was placed on a leave.

Documents obtained by CBC News showed the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is investigating an allegation that Soares had sexual relations with a woman who was a patient between November 2007 and May 2009. At that time, he was a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.

A date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled and none of the claims have been proven by the Ontario college.

Soares’ departure was announced by the dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry, Dr. D. Douglas Miller, in a letter to staff and colleagues Monday.

Dr. Glen Baker, currently director of the neurochemical research unit at the University of Alberta, has been appointed interim chair.

Baker served as department chair from 2000 to 2005 and acting chair from 2005 to 2006.

Source: “New U of A psychiatry chair quits amid sex allegations,” CBC News, September 24, 2012.

UK psych nurse accused of sexual assault of female patients

A male nursing assistant told a mental health patient that he would put her “in the book” if she did not allow him to sexually assault her, a court heard today.

Foday Chorr, 46, is accused of sexual assaulting two female patients at Eastbourne District General Hospital  between June 10 and 21 last year.

Opening the case at Lewes Crown Court, prosecutor Michael Riley described the two women as “vulnerable” and having “mental health issues”.

In one incident, the victim said Chorr walked into her room and asked her what relaxed her, Mr Riley said.

She answered that when she had been pregnant she liked to have her feet massaged and Chorr offered to do this for her.

Mr Riley told the jury: “(The victim) said she didn’t want him to, that she was just answering the question.

“He said he would put her ‘in the book’ and report her as being obstructive… if she didn’t let him do it.”

Mr Riley said Chorr, from Shropshire, then proceeded to massage her feet and move his hands up and down her legs.

He added: “She felt she had to comply with the threat… he was a nurse at the hospital, she was a mental patient. She froze, she was shocked.”

Chorr then kissed her before leaving.

The following night, a similar incident occurred except that, when he touched her legs, his hands moved further towards her thigh.

The victim reported the incident after she was discharged and was asked to fill out a questionnaire about her four-day stay at the hospital.

In a second case, the victim made her complaint hours after it happened, Mr Riley said. She was in her bed reading when Chorr came into her room late at night, the jury was told.

Chorr said he was going to tickle her and she said she did not want him to. He then tickled her feet and moved his hand up and down her leg before leaving.

Mr Riley said: “She said she felt scared and shocked.” Chorr then came back a second time and touched the victim on her thigh.

On his third visit that night, the victim awoke to find her covers off, her nightgown lifted up and Chorr standing at her bedside, while she had no underwear on.

He told her to “cover up”.

Mr Riley said on the third occasion, the victim claimed Chorr also touched her leg and pubic area.

“She was scared and didn’t think she could do anything about it before (Chorr) had left.”

Chorr, of Shorncliffe Drive, Shrewsbury, denies five counts of sexual assault on the two female patients while working as a psychiatric nursing assistant at the hospital.

The trial, before Judge Richard Haywood, continues.

Source: Eastbourne psychiatric nurse sexually assaulted two patients, court hears, The Argus, September 24, 2012.

State charges psychiatrist Richard J. Pines with sex abuse of children

The Idaho State Board of Medicine has filed a complaint against a Boise child and adolescent psychiatrist alleging he had improper sexual contact with four former patients or foster children and had a three-year affair with an adult patient to whom he was prescribing painkillers.

The complaint against Dr. Richard J. Pines was filed on June 28 and alleges abuses dating back to June 2001. He has denied the allegations in his response to the board. Pines’ attorney, David Cantrill, declined comment.

The board is seeking a hearing on whether Pines’ license should be suspended or revoked or if he should face other punishment. No criminal charges have been filed.

The board’s complaint alleges that in two cases Pines told young men he needed to practice giving massages to naked bodies to maintain his medical license and improperly touched them, including one who was 14.

Pines acknowledged taking naked pictures of another patient who was about 14 while they were at Pines’ cabin in Garden Valley and acknowledged taking money to that patient before Pines was interviewed by Boise police in March 2011, the board’s complaint alleges.

In January 2011, the board alleges Pines told a former foster child that he needed a “test patient” on whom to practice hernia exams and that he acknowledged giving that person $2,000 after the incident.

The board also alleges Pines prescribed controlled substances to an adult patient with whom he had a three-year affair without records showing that the patient needed the medication. The board said the last prescription, for acetaminophen and codeine, was filled in June 2010.

Pines has been licensed to practice medicine in Idaho since June 1997 and has worked at several places including Boise Public Schools and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Source: “Medical board files complaint against Boise doctor,” Associated Press, August 27, 2012.

Maine psychologist had sex with patient and billed her insurance for it

AUGUSTA, Maine – Attorney General William J. Schneider announced today that former psychologist John A. Keefe, 60, of Veazie, pled guilty to one count of Class B theft by deception and one count of Class C gross sexual assault for engaging in sexual acts with a client and billing MaineCare for mental health therapy services for that client.

Penobscot County Superior Court Justice William R. Anderson sentenced Keefe on each count to three years imprisonment with all but 120 days suspended and two years of probation, to be served concurrently. He also required Keefe to pay $14,806.52 restitution to MaineCare.

From 2007 to 2010, Keefe engaged in sexual acts with a female client while claiming to provide mental health therapy to that client. Some of the sexual acts occurred in Keefe’s office at Columbia Psychology Associates in Bangor during mental health therapy sessions that he billed to MaineCare. On June 22, 2010, Keefe surrendered his license to practice psychology during the pendency of the criminal action through entry of a consent agreement with the Maine Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

“Medical professionals in Maine are held to high ethical standards and conduct that exploits patients is a breach of trust,” said Attorney General Schneider. “Committing sexual assault of a patient is not only immoral; it is illegal and punishable by jail time.”

This case was investigated by the Bangor Police Department and Attorney General Schneider’s Criminal Division, Healthcare Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit. Assistant Attorney General Valerie Wright handled this matter for the Healthcare Crimes Unit.

The Healthcare Crimes Unit is the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for the State of Maine charged with investigating and prosecuting financial fraud and other crimes committed by MaineCare providers or their employees, and investigating and prosecuting abuse, neglect or exploitation that occurs in health care facilities or is committed by health care providers.

Source: “Former Bangor Psychologist Sentenced for Sexual Assault and MaineCare Fraud,” press release of the Maine Attorney General, August 31, 2012.

UK psych nurse who had affair with patient predicted she’d end up stocking shelves at a supermarket. She was right.

A MENTAL health nurse has been struck off after cheating on her boyfriend with a patient.

Aberdeenshire nurse Linda May Thomson, 47, has been barred after drinking cava with the patient, visiting pubs and going to football matches with him.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel said the case was an “extremely serious” breach of professional boundaries.

Allegations

The 47-year-old faced 19 charges of misconduct including having a sexual relationship with “Patient A”, who suffers from manic depression, while working at Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen.

The charges, which relate to early 2009, say they had a “sexual relationship”, “kissed on one or more occasion” and “engaged in sexual touching on more than one occasion.”

Thomson, who worked in the hospital’s Corgarf ward, was also charged with staying overnight at the man’s house and accepting a key to his flat.

She admitted only one charge, saying their relationship was platonic, but the panel found all allegations against her proved.

The NMC hearing took place behind closed doors but the written decision of the panel has now been made public.

Relationship

Ms Thomson’s relationship with the man, referred to only as “Patient A”, began after she returned some of his possessions which he had left at the hospital after being discharged on 9 January.

The NMC’s detailed statement said one of Ms Thomson’s colleagues, Dr Pauline Larmour, gave evidence that: “Any unauthorised contact with patients currently under care or patients who have been released from care would be inappropriate in all circumstances”.

Despite this, the nurse accepted a key to his flat and exchanged gifts with him, and as the relationship developed they exchanged gifts.

The NMC statement said: “[Patient A] describes these occasions in graphic detail and was able to relate places, and dates and circumstances and he was consistently able to recount these instances to a variety of people over the period of a year.

“Ms Thomson in her evidence, to [a colleague], when asked if she had kissed or cuddled Patient A, she replied “a wee bit further than that”.

Drunk

The panel noted that at one point Ms Thomson said “I’m going to be stacking shelves in Tesco” while discussing the patient with a colleague, suggesting she knew she was doing something wrong.

The panel said: “She also was in a relationship and lived with her partner at the relevant time.”

Evidence was taken from a doctor who had known Patient A in a professional capacity for a number of years. He said Patient A’s medical condition did not give him a “propensity to lie or fantasize”.

The same witness also told the panel that Patient A’s account of his sexual relationship with Ms Thomson “has never changed”.

“Patient A’s medical condition means that he is good at recalling times, dates and conversations in great detail,” said witness.

“Vulnerable”

The panel also heard from a Ms Hawcutt that on an evening out around March 2009, when they had both been drinking and were drunk, Ms Thomson had disclosed to her “that she was seeing another man”.

Ms Hawcutt asked Ms Thomson if it was Patient A as “she had an instinctive feeling that it was him”.

She said that Ms Thomson had said to her “How do you know?” or words to that effect.

She then asked if she had had sexual intercourse with Patient A. Ms Thomson did not say anything, but Ms Hawcutt formed the impression from the look she had given her that she had.

The panel concluded that the case was “extremely serious”, adding that the man was a “vulnerable patient who appeared to have low self esteem”.

Ms Thomson said her relationship ended after Patient A assaulted her at a bus stop in April 2009.

The panel said: “This incident led to his arrest and subsequent conviction.

“Ms Thomson reported this incident to the Hospital which led to an investigation and subsequent referral to the NMC.”

Ms Thomson was neither present nor represented at the NMC hearing.

But admitted at an earlier stage in the proceedings that she “wholeheartedly regrets the consequences of her actions”.

Source: “Nurse struck off after cheating on boyfriend with patient,” Neil Pooran, Deadline (blog), August 31, 2012.