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.