Monthly Archives: July 2010

Board disciplines psychologist Anne Marie Wells for affair with patient

On May 17, 2010, the Indiana State Psychology Board placed Anne Marie Wells, Ph.D on probation for no less than three years.

According to the Board’s Final Order, Wells provided counseling services to a married female patient during the fall of 1999.

Wells admitted to a romantic and sexual relationship with the patient, beginning approximately one month after the termination of the clinical relationship.  The patient separated from her husband during this time.

During the sessions, the patient told Wells she’d developed “romantic feelings” for her. Wells conferred with her supervisor and they determined that the patient might be experiencing transference. Wells however continued to treat the patient for approximately a year.

Wells began to develop “romantic feelings” for the patient during the time she treated her and eventually terminated the clinical relationship but remained in contact with the patient via telephone.

Wells admitted to a romantic and sexual relationship with the patient, beginning approximately one month after the termination of the clinical relationship.  The patient separated from her husband during this time.  The relationship between Wells and the patient continued for three years.  Terms of her probation include practice monitoring.

Source: Final Order in the Matter of the License of Anne Marie Wells, Ph.D, License Number 20041315A, Before the State Psychology Board, Cause Number 2010 ISPB 001.

Indiana psychology board places George W. Berry on probation for sexual e-mails to patient

On September 25, 2009, the Indiana State Psychology Board placed George W. Berry, Ph.D on probation for four years for violations of state code governing the practice and behavior of psychologists.

The Board cited particularly that Berry “continued to practice although he had become unfit to practice due to a failure to keep abreast of current theory and practice.”

According to the Board’s document, Berry violated professional boundaries with the patient in e-mails he sent to her.

Berry treated the patient during ten sessions between March 5, 2008 and August 13, 2008.  On August 14, she sent an e-mail asking for advice on how to handle her recent break-up with her boyfriend and the subsequent feelings of sadness and remorse.

“First thing I want to get on board is that I would love to take care of all your physical, emotional and personal needs.  I’m relatively stable psychologically, financially comfortable, intellectually adequate and sexually adept.”

Berry’s reply, which was noted by the Board to be lengthy, contained the statement, “As far as no one ever wanting you, you can rest assured there.  You are an attractive and interesting person with much offer.  I remember thinking that…before I even knew you very well.  If I were a few years younger I might have hit on you myself.”

Following the patient’s reply, Berry sent another lengthy message which stated, among other things, “First thing I want to get on board is that I would love to take care of all your physical, emotional and personal needs.  I’m relatively stable psychologically, financially comfortable, intellectually adequate and sexually adept.”  He states that it is probably delusional on his part but that “I’d be willing to take the risk.”  The message included a drawing from a tantric text depicting a man and woman engaged in sex.

Source: Findings of Fact, Ultimate Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order In the Matter of the License of George W. Berry, Ph.D, License No. 20040577A, Before the State Psychology Board, Cause No. 2009- ISPB 0001.

San Fran psychologist Steven A. Korn charged with sexual exploitation of patient

Criminal charges have been filed against a San Francisco based psychologist who allegedly had sex with one of his patients, according to a press release from the DA’s office. The defendant, Dr. Steven Allen Korn, was arrested today.

Korn, 61 at the time of the alleged crime, is said to have had sex with the twenty something female patient in his office, on two occasions, during her therapy sessions.

“Based upon the allegations, the defendant betrayed a vulnerable patient who trusted him,” said District Attorney Kamala D. Harris.

The allegations come from court documents filed in 2008. The prosecution is the result
of an investigation by the Medical Board of California Investigator Tracy Tu, and San Francisco District Attorney Lieutenant of Investigations Carlos B. Sanchez. Assistant District Attorney Evan Ackiron is prosecuting the case.

Dr. Korn is charged with two counts of Sexual Exploitation by a Psychotherapist, both misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for each count is six months in county.

Anyone with information regarding professional misconduct by Dr. Korn should contact Lt. Sanchez at (415) 551-9569.

Source: Samantha Bell, “SF Shrink Accused of Sexual Exploitation of a Patient, SFPD Wants To Know If He Exploited You, Too,” San Francisco Appeal (online newspaper), July 21, 2010.

New Hampshire psychologist Burton Hollenbeck facing trial on 30 counts sexual assault on patient

On April 28, 2010, a Cheshire County grand jury indicted New Hampshire psychologist Burton G. Hollenbeck on 30 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, alleging that he engaged in sex with a patient.

Hollenbeck was indicted as well in March on eight counts of felonious sexual assault, two counts of violating a protective order and one count of witness tampering.

It is not clear if the April charges are additional to the March ones or replacing them.

The March indictments allege that Hollenbeck had sex eight times with the patient between March and October 2008.  The current indictments specify that it was between February and December 2008.

The alleged victim and her husband began seeing Hollenbeck for marriage counseling in mid-2006.  Upon learning that the wife had been abused when she was younger, Hollenbeck asked her to go into one-on-one therapy with him.

Hollenbeck’s office manager “blew the whistle” on the alleged affair.

Both the wife and husband have filed separate lawsuits against Hollenbeck for mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, legal fees and other damages suffered due to his “wanton, malicious and oppressive” actions.

In late January  2010, Hollenbeck agreed to quit practicing psychology in New Hampshire while under investigation by the state Board of Psychology.

Source: “Keene psychologist faces additional charges,” The Keene Sentinel, “April 28, 2010.

Therapist William Jefferson loses license for ongoing sexual harrassment

On February 5, 2010, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners revoked the licenses/certificates of marriage & family therapist and professional counselor William Jefferson.

According to information made publicly available by the Board, Jefferson has a minor criminal history and a history of being involuntarily terminated by his employer.

Jefferson is reported to have answered “no” on subsequent license renewal applications to questions about arrests/charges and involuntary terminations.

Specifically, the Board’s document states that Jefferson was arrested in July 1995 for the crime of resisting arrest. He was charged with the same crime in March 1997.

In 2003 and 2005, he answered “no” on multiple renewal application background questions regard arrests and charges.

He was terminated from employment at an agency he’d worked at for 12 years for inability to comply with the agency’s policies and procedures and to perform at the expected level of professionalism.

He was terminated in October 2002 from another agency he’d worked at concurrently for sexual harassment.  He was terminated in December 2008 from yet another agency he worked at, for ongoing sexual harassment. During the Board’s investigation, Williams minimized and misrepresented his employment terminations.

Source: Entry on William Jefferson, Case No. 2009-0082, License nos. LMFT-0065 and LPC-0229, as published in the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Adverse Action Tracking Form (as found on their website).

State suspends psychiatrist Jasung Kim, alleged to have engaged in sexual relationship with two patients

On February 4, 2010, the Nebraska Medical Board issued a summary suspension on the license of psychiatrist Jasung Kim and will be seeking formal disciplinary actions against him, based on allegations that he twice pursued sexual relationships with patients and once revealed confidential information.  According to Board documents, Kim had relationships with two female patients in 2009.  The first allegedly occurred in May, while he was prescribing the patient the opioid Suboxone.  The second is alleged to have occurred between July to September after obtaining her phone number through patient records.

Source: “Lincoln psychiatrist’s medical license suspended,” Lincoln Journal Star, February 22, 2009. No data about Dr. Kim was found on the Nebraska Medical Board’s website; the Board has been contacted to account for this and to provide the current status of the case against him.

New Jersey prison psychologist under investigation by state for affair with patient

In late June 2010, it was reported that Natalie Barone, a psychologist and administrator of psychological services with the state of New Jersey’s civil commitment program (which incarcerated sex offenders considered to dangerous to release following their prison sentences) is under investigation by the New Jersey State Board of Psychology the on allegations of having had an affair with a patient—an inmate of one of the sex offender “special treatment units” in Avenel, New Jersey.  In June 2009, an off-duty corrections department security officer spotted Barone, who had provided one-on-one counseling to the inmate (who had been convicted of sexual assault of two teenage girls), walking together on a boardwalk on the Jersey Shore, prompting a report which resulted in an internal investigation and Barone’s suspension.  She attempted to resign but was terminated from her position in the Department of Corrections.  It was further reported that she closed her private practice and left the state for Pennsylvania, where she had earlier been granted a license to practice.  If the she loses her New Jersey license, she will likely lose her Pennsylvania license as well.

Source: Chris Megerian, “N.J. psychologist fired, faces loss of license after alleged relationship with sex offender patient,” The Newark Ledger, July 1, 2010.