Monthly Archives: May 2012

New York law could allow therapist sex assaults to go unreported?

Note from Psych Rape Reporter: Anyone who files a complaint of sexual abuse/assault with a medical or other health care licensing board in any state should also forward a copy to Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 6616 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028, Attn: Public Advocacy Secretary. They will review the complaint and, if it contains criminal acts, will be forwarded to the appropriate police department and/or district attorney. However, patients who have been sexually assaulted by their therapist should also file a report directly with the local police and, in the case of sexual intercourse, should go immediately to the nearest hospital for a rape exam (“rape kit”) and should retain any articles of clothing which might have the offender’s biological fluid on them. It’s evidence.

The state authority charged with overseeing licensed psychotherapists in New York is not required to forward complaints of statutory rape to law enforcement, the News 4 I-Team has learned.

A Long Island woman who accused her psychotherapist of rape last year believes that could leave rapists free to prey on patients.

“The agencies that were put in place to help me, failed me, heinously,” Denise Weisbrod told the I-Team.

Under New York law it is third-degree, or statutory, rape when a mental health provider engages in a sexual relationship with a patient undergoing therapy, regardless of age.

“The patient is unable to consent and that’s what the criminal statute here in New York recognizes,” said Weisbrod’s lawyer, Audrey Bedolis. “Consent isn’t there because emotions have been manipulated by the therapist.”

In Nassau County recently, psychiatrist Marshall Hubsher was accused of manipulating a patient into having sex with him in his office. Hubsher has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual misconduct and statutory rape.

“I was infuriated because it mirrored my case, almost exactly,” said Weisbrod.

One difference: Hubsher is a psychiatrist – a medical doctor whose license to practice is overseen by the state Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), a division of the Health Department.

Weisbrod’s counselor was not a doctor, but a state-licensed clinical social worker or psychotherapist whose license was overseen by the state Office of Professional Discipline (OPD), a division of the Education Department.

According to state law, OPMC is required to report to law enforcement any cases where a psychiatrist is in a sexual relationship with a patient undergoing therapy.

OPD has no such requirement for psychotherapists or licensed clinical social workers.

“I don’t think there’s a person out there that’s not going to be outraged by that,” said Kathleen Rice, Nassau County district attorney. “Whether you look at a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist, they’re in that very intimate relationship where someone is very vulnerable and coming to them for help.”

Rice’s office is prosecuting the case against Hubsher.

In neighboring Suffolk County, Weisbrod’s counselor, Scott Burzon, was not charged with the crime. He committed suicide in March 2012, according to sources.

Burzon had both a private practice and was an administrator of the Brentwood Mental Health Clinic – a facility run by Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

“I went to Scott Burzon because I was raped when I was younger and I realized I needed to deal with those issues,” said Weisbrod.

Over four years, Weisbrod said she revealed painful details about once being date-raped and told Burzon she had issues trusting men.

As part of her therapy, Burzon suggested the two have sex in his office as a way to help her trust men again, Weisbrod said.

“I would do anything at that point that I could to get better,” said Weisbrod. “I wanted to get better so I believed him because everything he said for four years seemed to be trustworthy, that he was going to help me.”

While it all seemed consensual, it was illegal.

According to Weisbrod, she was on the verge of a breakdown and confided in a friend who was a registered nurse. She also began seeing a new therapist, and Weisbrod said she was quickly convinced to file a complaint against Burzon. She reported him to OPD in August 2011.

She said she first heard nothing from a state investigator. She called the office again in October and asked about the case and was told another person had also come forward with similar accusations.

“He was called in to be interviewed and admitted to both cases,” said Weisbrod.

An OPD spokesman did not dispute Weisbrod’s story, but explained that confidentiality laws prevent the agency from releasing any details.

Rice believes the confidentiality rules at OPD are the heart of the issue.

“You have to have better communication between law enforcement and the medical community so we can root out the bad people,” she said.

She believes it should be mandatory for OPD to report any and all complaints of therapists having sex with patients — similar to OPMC’s mandate for psychiatrists.

For seven months following Weisbrod’s complaint, Burzon still had his license and could see clients.

Ultimately, Weisbrod did complain directly to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. In a statement to the I-team, a representative from the DA’s office said they declined to prosecute due to a lack of evidence.

In March 2012, Burzon was found dead in a hotel room near MacArthur Airport.

Weisbrod has filed a lawsuit against the estate of Burzon, who was married. His wife did not return calls, nor did the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

Source: Chris Glorioso and Tom Burke, “I-Team: State Law Could Allow Therapist Sex Assaults to Go Unreported, NBC-4 New York, May 17, 2012.

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Sydney psychiatrist Neil Schultz loses license for sex ‘n drugs with 25-year-old patient

A NSW psychiatrist slept with a 25-year-old patient, wrote her scripts for powerful drugs without consultation, paid her $20,000, took ecstasy with her and did not end the relationship because he thought she would get “extremely angry,” the state Medical Tribunal has heard.

The tribunal ordered that Neil Schultz – who has been reprimanded for misconduct before – be deregistered for 18 months.

It found him guilty of professional misconduct, failing to protect patient confidentiality, having an inappropriate personal relationship with a patient and failing to observe professional boundaries.
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A complaint received by the Health Care Complaints Commission last year said Schultz, whose practice was in Richmond, began treating the patient in March 2008, diagnosing her with attention deficit disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Between March 2008 and November 2009, Schultz prescribed dexamphetamine to the patient, the complaint stated, despite knowing she had a history of drug abuse.

Once he stopped consulting her in January 2009, he continued to write her prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs and narcotics.

Schultz told the tribunal it was not unusual for him to do so for friends and co-workers.

In September 2009, two consultant psychiatrists told the Medical Board that Schultz “has admitted to both of us, separately, that he was involved in a physical relationship with a female patient.

“We believe our colleague has been depressed and we are concerned for his safety.”

Schultz told the tribunal that in December 2008 he employed the patient for “a few hours a week” to do admin work, paying her a total of $20,000. He also bought her a car.

According to Schultz’s evidence, on one occasion the patient came to his office, gave him ecstasy and the pair then had sex.

The Health Care Complaints Commission sought expert opinion from a consultant psychiatrist and psychogeriatrician, Janine Stevenson, who stated that Schultz did nothing to stop the relationship progressing by “letting her spend time in the practice, by letting her work in the practice (which I find to be grossly unprofessional given the necessity of confidentiality of the other patients in the practice), by giving her food, money and gifts and by seeking out her advice and support for his own problems”.

Dr Stevenson said that, despite knowing people with borderline personality disorder had problems with boundaries, Schultz invited her to be part of his own family.

The tribunal stated it was “comfortably satisfied that the respondent’s [Schultz’s] conduct was deliberate”.

They accepted Schultz felt “desperately ashamed” of his actions, but ordered his deregistration and to pay the commission’s costs in the proceedings.

It was not the first time Schultz had been investigated. In 2002, an inquiry by the Professional Standards Committee found that as a trainee physician, Schultz, who was married, began a relationship with a patient who was also married.

The pair divorced their respective spouses and married in 2000.

He was reprimanded and ordered to participate in a peer review program.

Source: Melissa Davey, “Psychiatrist struck off for sex and drugs with patient,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 7,

Patient accuses New York psychiatrist of rape during treatment

A 62-year-old Long Island psychiatrist was arrested after one of his patients accused him of raping her during one of their sessions, Nassau County Police said.

Detectives from the NCPD Special Victims Squad arrested Dr. Marshall Hubsher, who lives in ritzy Sands Point, on Wednesday, charging him with third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act, officials said.

The 32-year-old woman, whose name was not released, said Hubsher raped her at his office on Northern Blvd. in Flower Hill around 8 p.m. on April 3, NCPD said.

Hubsher pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday.

His bail was set at $50,000, according to a Nassau County DA spokesman. An order of protection was issued prohibiting Hubsher from contacting the victim.

He is due back in court on April 24.

Source: Sarah Armaghan, “Patient accuses Long Island psychiatrist Marshall Hubsher of raping her during session,” New York Daily News, April 20, 2012.

State suspends psychologist Janet Asay over sex with patient

On January 9, 2012, the Delaware Board of Examiners of Psychologists suspended the license of Janet Asay, Ph.D. for two years. According to the Board’s Consent Agreement, Asay self-reported to the Board that she engaged in a romantic and sexual relationship with a former client within two years of the termination of his therapy, in violation of the state laws governing the conduct of psychologists. When she resumes practice, Asay will be subject to the monitoring of her practice for two years.

Source: Consent Agreement in re: Janet Asay, License No. B1-0000368, Case No. 26-05-09, before the Delaware Board of Examiners of Psychologists.