Monthly Archives: March 2012

Psychologist suspended for sex with patient now working as high school teacher

Dover, Del. — Dover psychologist Dr. Janet Asay has been teaching science at Campus Community High Schoolsince the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, when an investigation into alleged, professional misconduct was well under way, the Dover Post has learned.

That investigation by the Delaware Department of State Division of Professional Regulation culminated in Asay entering into a consent agreement with the Delaware Board of Examiners of Psychologists in December in which she admitted to having sex with an adult patient who was still within the two-year window that forbids intimacy between a patient and counselor.

The state Board of Examiners of Psychologists approved the consent agreement at its Jan. 9 meeting, according to minutes from that meeting.

“Respondent [Asay] self-reported to the Board that she engaged in a romantic and sexual relationship with a former therapy adult client within two years of the termination of his therapy in violation of 24 Del. C. subsection 3514 (a)(5),” according to the consent agreement.

The Dover Post reviewed the consent agreement signed by Asay on Nov. 21, 2011 and Deputy Attorney General Barbara J. Gadbois on Dec. 2, 2011. Delaware Department of State spokesman Christopher Portante confirmed that Asay agreed to the state suspension that prohibits her from practicing psychology for two years.

In addition, Asay has been in therapy with Newark-based Dr. Priscilla Putnam, according to the consent agreement.

Asay’s state license was issued in 1994. She has been affiliated with Perspectives Counseling in Dover.

Asay did not return calls seeking coment, but did email the Dover Post saying her attorney was out of town through Wednesday.

The Department of State and the Office of the Attorney General declined to comment further on Asay’s suspension.

The Delaware Department of Education determines whether to approve or deny teaching licenses according to the requirements and the provisions of State statute and regulations, Delaware Department of Justice spokesman Jason Miller said.

“As legal counsel to the Department of Education and the Professional Standards Board, the Department of Justice cannot comment on this pending matter,” he said.

Campus Community School’s charter was granted by the Delaware Department of Education, which has authorized most charter schools in the state. Secretary of Education Dr. Lillian Lowery was out of town and unavailable for comment, DOE spokeswoman Alison Kepner said Monday.

Asay has a pending, initial license and pending emergency teaching certificate for biology, Kepner said, citing state records.

When asked if Asay’s suspension would affect her temporary certification, Kepner referred the Dover Post to Delaware Code. The code states, in part, that the secretary of education may suspend, revoke or limit a license if a person has “a license or certificate suspended, revoked, or voluntarily surrendered in another jurisdiction for cause which would be grounds for suspension or revocation…”

Kepner referred further questions to Campus Community School.

Campus Community School Board President Marc Coté said school officials were aware of the situation with Dr. Asay and had looked into the matter.

“We believe that the incident has been dealt with by the Board of Examiners of Psychologists fairly,” Coté said. “We do not think that our students are at risk in any way as a result of the incident that occurred with her former patient.”

Source: Antonio Prado, “Special Report: Suspended psychologist teaching at Campus Community High School,” Dover Post, March 14, 2012.

Judge extends restraining order to wife of psychiatrist charged with raping her

A District Court judge ordered a Marblehead (Massachusetts) psychiatrist charged by town police with raping and assaulting his wife on Feb. 22 to stay away from her through September.

Attorneys for Christopher Palacios, 36, and his wife agreed to extend a restraining order the woman sought and was granted on Feb. 22 from March 7 to Sept. 7. Judge Stacey Fortes White granted the request.

“My client is relieved the order is extended for her safety and the safety of her children,” Jorel Booker, Palacios’ wife’s Raymond, N.H.-based attorney, said Wednesday.

In addition to ordering Palacios not to harm his wife, the order bars him from contact with her, including coming within 50 yards of her. A copy of the order filed in District Court also asks the court to keep Palacios from going to the Marblehead school attended by the couple’s 10-year-old son and daughter.

“The defendant is mentally unstable and a danger to myself and the children,” she wrote in the complaint for protection from abuse she filed.

Marblehead Police Lt. Sean Sweeney filed a report in court outlining Palacios’ wife’s account of how Palacios assaulted her and yelled expletives at her on Feb. 21 following an argument over Red Sox tickets she purchased.

On Feb. 22, according to the report, she said Palacios hit her on the side of her face and “smashed her head on the floor” before pulling down her pants and sexually assaulting her. Sweeney stated in the report that he photographed bruises on the woman’s lip, leg and arm that she said were inflicted by Palacios.

Palacios wife stated Palacios “has severe mood swings” and is “obsessed” with “MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting,” according to a report filed by Marblehead Officer David Ostrovitz.

Ostrovitz quoted Palacios’ wife as stating in the report that her husband was previously overweight and works out five hours a day with his home garage “dedicated as a workout facility.”

Palacios pleaded innocent to the rape and domestic assault and battery charge on Feb. 23 and was ordered held for a public dangerousness hearing on Feb. 24. He was released on that date but ordered, according to court paperwork, to not contact his wife, not to possess firearms, report weekly to probation, “not to consume excessive alcohol, prescription drugs,” maintain his employment, post $5,000 bail and abide by the restraining order.

Judge Albert Conlon on Wednesday ordered Palacios to return to court for a probable cause hearing on the criminal charges on April 4.

“He denies all the allegations,” Palacios’ attorney, Marc Salinas of Salem, said Wednesday.

Sweeney, in a supplemental report filed in court, stated that Palacios called the allegations brought against him by his wife “a complete fabrication.”

“None of it ever happened,” Sweeney wrote, quoting Palacios.

He added in the report that Palacios claimed his wife had assaulted him in the past.

Palacios’ wife stated in the restraining order complaint that Palacios “has a long history of anger issues and has physically and emotionally abused me for years.”

“His out-of-control erratic behavior has increased and become more frequent (almost on a daily basis) since January 2012,” she wrote in the complaint.

Salinas and Booker confirmed on Wednesday that Palacios’ wife filed a divorce complaint in Essex Probate Court.

Source: Thor Jourgenson, “Judge extends wife’s restraining order on Marblehead psychiatrist,” Daily Item, March 8, 2012.

Psychiatrist Ray Berard faces S. Africa inquiry over two-year affair with married patient

A VISIBLY traumatised Sylvia Ireland, who has accused her former psychiatrist of misusing their therapy sessions to have sex, related details of the affair to the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

Ireland told members of its Medical and Dental Professions Board during a professional conduct inquiry into psychiatrist Ray Berard how they had a sexual relationship for two years while continuing psychotherapy sessions.

The inquiry follows a complaint Ireland lodged against Berard in August 2008.

Answering questions by Francois Grobler, acting for Ireland, she said she was using three types of medication at the time, all prescribed by Berard.

Ireland’s husband, Stuart Ireland, a high-profile businessman in the beauty industry, was paying for the therapy sessions.

Berard pleaded not guilty yesterday to a number of charges including entering into a physical relationship with a patient.

Other charges included having sex more than once during the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, failing to refer Ireland to another psychiatrist for care, misusing his position of trust and confidence towards Ireland and acting in a way which was calculated to bring his profession into disrepute.

Sylvia Ireland said her husband had recommended she see a psychiatrist because he was unhappy with her spending, the two were fighting and she was often angry.

Ireland started therapy sessions with Berard on Tuesday afternoons in November 2005.

Her husband later insisted on joining the sessions but Ireland said she needed time alone with Berard.

The couple then attended sessions with Berard on Thursdays with Stuart Ireland’s psychologist Anita Badenhorst as co-therapist.

“I resented Stuart coming into any of my personal sessions,” Ireland said.

Ireland described how her relationship with Berard changed from being purely professional to sexual.

“I trusted him. I made a mistake. I thought he was my friend and I got confused about friendship and him being my psychiatrist.

“Then he came to my house one day (about January or February 2006) and we entered into a sexual relationship,” Ireland said.

They had sex at her Claremont house and his practice.

“Anytime. Whatever time he wanted to. Practically every day.”

Ireland said she had ended their relationship in February 2008 when she met someone else.

“I met someone who was normal. I wanted a normal life.”

Ireland had then told her husband about her and Berard’s relationship.

She said her husband had still wanted to be with her, despite hearing about the affair.

Ireland said they continued therapy sessions during the two years of their affair and she had trusted Berard with her care.

“I trusted him implicitly and thought that he was completely on my side.”

Grobler had handed five pages of cellphone records to the committee.

These detailed about 128 phone calls, SMSes and MMSes sent from Berard to Ireland from August 2006 to February 2008.

He also handed up 29 pages of invoices sent from Berard to Stuart Ireland from November 2005 to April 2007.

The hearing continues today with Ireland’s cross-examination.

Source: Michelle Jones, “I had sex with my psychiatrist” Cape Times,  March 7, 2012.

Counselor Thomas Jewell, sentenced to 29 years prison, kept porn-laden hard drive under mattress

A former staff counselor at a Martinez, California juvenile hall facility has been sentenced to 29 years in federal prison for producing pornography of him molesting two teenaged boys.

54-year-old Thomas Perez Jewell, who lived in Pleasant Hill, was sentenced in an Oakland U.S. District Courtroom to prison after he pleaded guilty to one felony count of producing child pornography.

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office had charged Jewell on 49 felony counts.

He was also ordered to pay $234,000 in restitution.

Jewell was arrested at his home in Nov. 2010 after being investigated by Martinez, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek Police Departments, aided by F.B.I. agents. A grand jury indicted him on Dec. 9, 2010.

An examination of Jewell’s home computer files led the D.A.’s office to amend the original single complaint to 46 separate counts of child molestation and one count each of child porn possession, posing a child for the purposes of taking pornographic pictures and showing pornography to a minor, according to Assistant District Attorney Dana Filkowski.

A hard drive hidden under the mattress in Jewell’s bedroom contained thousands of images of the juvenile victims, said a U.S. Department of Justice news release this week.

At the time of Jewell’s arrest Pleasant Hill PD Lt. Dan Connelly said that the investigation into Jewell began when Martinez Police Detective Dave Mathers received a tip from an unknown source. Connelly and his colleagues conducted an “undercover operation … [that] identified Jewell as a … resident who received and distributed child pornography.

Detectives found a very large amount of child pornography on digital storage devices at the residence,” said Connelly.

Area F.B.I agents were brought in to sift through what police described as thousands of photographs and videos depicting child porn.

Filkowski said one victim, identified in a criminal complaint as John Doe, was molested over a three-year period. Doe is now aged 16; Filkowski declined to state whether the victim was a past or present resident at the John A. Davis Juvenile Hall facility at 202 Glacier Drive, where Jewell worked.

Contra Costa Health Services, the agency that staffs medical and mental health personnel at various county-run facilities such as the Martinez jail, Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center and juvenile hall, employed Jewell.

In addition to his CCHS employment since January 2002, as stated on his Facebook page, Jewell operated a consulting business–aimed at both adults and teens–called YES Enterprises, since January 2003.

Source: Greta Mart, “Jewell Sentenced To 29 Years In Prison,” Martinez News-Gazette, March 3, 2012.

Psychiatrist Christopher Palacios, accused of assault, rape over Red Sox tickets, released on bail

MARBLEHEAD — A judge said a local psychiatrist was dangerous but could be released on bail pending conditions yesterday after he was arrested on rape charges earlier in the week.

In Lynn District Court yesterday, bail was set for 36-year-old Salem Hospital psychiatrist Christopher Palacios at $5,000 on condition that he maintain his employment, report weekly to probation, stay away from weapons, remain sober and not contact victim or her family.

Palacios was arrested on Wednesday by Marblehead police, which was the day the alleged incident occurred. The victim said the problem started on Tuesday night with a verbal argument that she said partially revolved around Red Sox tickets. The victim said Palacios “hit her on the side of the head with his hand and kicked her in the leg” Tuesday night, according to police reports.

The next morning around 7 a.m., Palacios insulted her before a physical altercation occurred that resulted in her being raped, she said.

Palacios, in a statement to police after his arrest, denied the assault and rape charges.

Police documented bruises on the victim’s lip, leg and arm, which the victim said were from the confrontation with Palacios. He claimed he was not the source of those bruises and that she may have done them to herself, in a statement to police.

Palacios acknowledged a verbal argument had occurred but told police after his arrest that the victim had likely made up the story and said he had never physically or sexually assaulted her. He said, in fact, that she had pushed him on Tuesday night.

Palacios has worked as a psychiatrist at Salem Hospital since 2005.

“Given the nature of the allegations the North Shore Medical Center has placed Christopher Palacios on administrative leave pending an investigation,” said spokesperson Jean Graham.

Source: Michael Phillis, “Local psychiatrist released on bail,” Salem News, February 25, 2012.

Massachusetts psychiatrist Christopher Palacios arrested for rape

A local man was arraigned in Lynn District Court this afternoon on charges of domestic assault and battery and rape.

Christopher Palacios, 39, of 9 Dartmouth Road, Marblehead, was arrested by local officers at 4:05 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Police said the victim came to the station to request a restraining order against Palacios and told officers that he attacked her and sexually assaulted her around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Palacios, who is a psychiatrist at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, was ordered held without bail until a follow-up hearing could be held Thursday afternoon.

Source: Owen Boss, “Local Psychiatrist Charged With Rape,” Marblehead Patch, February 22, 2012.