Husband and wife file suits against psychotherapist Alan Shulik, charged with sex assault on same client in late ’09

A New Haven therapist charged with second-degree sexual assault for allegedly having a relationship with a suicidal and depressed client is being sued by the client and her husband.

The couple, named as John and Jane Doe in the lawsuit to protect their privacy, list 13 counts against Guilford resident Alan Shulik, 58, in a complaint filed recently in Superior Court in New Haven.

The state Department of Public Health is investigating Shulik, and an attorney for the couple says the state shouldn’t allow him to continue practicing.

The husband and wife have each filed counts of reckless infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The wife also filed counts of reckless battery and negligent battery, while the husband filed a count of loss of spousal consortium.

“She and her husband come for help to keep their marriage together because they had a very ill child, which was putting a lot of stress on the marriage, and he (Shulik) does everything possible to separate them and take advantage of her,” said New Haven lawyer Steven Errante, who represents the couple along with New Haven lawyer Marisa Bellair. “It’s the most egregious thing a psychologist can do to a patient.”

While they hope to possibly prevent Shulik from continuing as a therapist, Jane Doe and her husband also want compensation for medical bills and lost income, since the incident has affected the woman’s career, Errante said.

Shulik allegedly had a sexual relationship with Jane Doe for more than a year beginning in 2008 after she came with her husband for marriage counseling to his practice, Bishop Street Counseling.

He advised the pair that separate sessions would be more effective, and began an on-again, off-again relationship with Jane Doe, often making degrading remarks about her husband, according to Shulik’s arrest warrant.

The two had intercourse at Shulik’s home and office and at hotels. The woman tried to commit suicide in February 2009 by swallowing pills after Shulik broke up with her, but the relationship resumed a few months later until Shulik claimed he got married.

Jane Doe reported Shulik to police in August. He was arrested in October on a charge of second-degree assault, which involves a psychotherapist and a patient engaging in sexual intercourse either during a psychotherapy session, when a patient or former patient is emotionally dependent on the psychotherapist, or when there is therapeutic deception.

Shulik pleaded not guilty in March and is due again in court July 9. Stamford lawyer Alexander Hernandez represents Shulik in his criminal case.

A call asking if Hernandez will represent Shulik in the civil case was not returned, and Shulik could not be reached for comment Monday.

Shulik continues to practice, according to an attendant at his office’s answering center, and the state Department of Public Health is investigating him, according to spokeswoman Diana Lejardi. Lejardi declined to specify how long the investigation has gone on or what prompted it.

Source:  Susan Misur, “Accused Guilford therapist now faces suit over sex with client,” New Haven Register, July 1, 2010.


2 responses to “Husband and wife file suits against psychotherapist Alan Shulik, charged with sex assault on same client in late ’09

  1. It is great that this person (Alan Shulik) is being prosecuted for this criminal act. This is worse than a rape; it is the rape of the soul and body. It is knowingly hurting and taking advantage of a person (or persons) who is sick and looking for help.
    He has misused the state issued license and the office and position given by the law to serve the people who need help.
    On the other hand, it is very strange that he is still practicing! The licensing board is allowing a person who has been arrested for second-degree sexual assault to be a provider of marriage and depression counseling services to patients?
    I am curious to know whether the licensing board issues new license (or renew license) to a person who has been arrested for sexual abuse of a patient and is under investigation? If the answer is yes, then the legislators should step in and protect the public by prohibiting the licensing board to offer or renew the license to healthcare provider who is under arrest for sexual abuse, and suspend the license of a person who is under arrest for sexual abuse. This is absolutely necessary to protect the public and also discourage this type of criminal act.

    • Dear Jen,

      Indeed, it is strange that he is still practicing! Some health care licensing boards are required by law to refer the crimes of their licensees (which they discover in complaints filed by patients) to law enforcement. Other states have the discretion to do it but are not required. One of the problems is that he is being “disciplined” by a panel which is made up largely of peers (i.e., other doctors and psychiatrists). How strict to you think they are going to be with “their own”?

      Any mental health practitioner who preys on their patient’s vulnerability by exploiting them for their own sexual gratification should be stripped of their license and not be allowed to treat people ever again.

      However, don’t lose heart. He is under investigation and there is certainly nothing stopping you from filing a complaint as a citizen, protesting his still being licensed after pleading guilty to a sex crime.

      I think I might just do that myself.

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