Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dallas psychiatrist Barry Fenton charged with making sexual advances on patient…again

In July of 2006, Dr. Barry Fenton began treating a woman for depression and anxiety at the office of the Uptown practice of Live Oak Counseling Center. It was 16 months later that the relationship moved outside of his office, not to mention the bounds of the typical relationship between mental health provider and patient.

They dated only briefly, ending their relationship in February 2008, four months after it started, and Fenton took steps to ensure the woman continued to receive psychiatric treatment. Word of the relationship made its way to the Texas Medical Board, however, which frowns upon such things. On August 10, 2009, Fenton entered into an agreed order with the board, submitting to a public reprimand, a requirement that he attend a “professional boundaries” course, and pay a $5,000 penalty.

The agreement also required that Fenton be accompanied by a chaperone when treating female patients, though that provision was rescinded once he completed the required coursework.

That may have happened too soon, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Dallas County. An elderly patient of Fenton’s, identified in court filings only as Jane Doe, claims that Fenton sexually exploited her for years. The petition doesn’t give specifics, saying only that Fenton made sexual advances and had sexual contact with the woman. He also engaged in “therapeutic deception” by telling the patient to keep his behavior secret.

The woman is seeking unspecified damages for past and future mental anguish and other injuries from Fenton and Live Oak Counseling Center. The office has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Source: Eric Nicholson, “Dallas Psychiatrist Accused of Making Sexual Advances on a Patient — Again,” Dallas Observer (blog), October 3, 2012.

UK psych nurse David Swankie loses license for sex with former patient

A MALE nurse has been struck off for having sex with one of his former psychiatric patients.

David Swankie approached the woman at the hospital where he worked and asked her to become Facebook friends, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

He claimed he believed the woman, who he had treated in the past but was no longer his patient, had been discharged two weeks before the start of their six-month relationship in June 2010.

She was, however, awaiting a post-discharge meeting.

During an investigation by NHS Fife in July 2010, it came to light that Swankie had also become Facebook friends with three other female patients who were on his caseload at St Andrews Memorial Hospital.

His behaviour came to light after a colleague raised concerns.

Swankie was struck off this week after admitting 24 charges of misconduct, which also included repeatedly failing to see patients referred to him between February 2009 and July 2010.

In one case, a patient who took an overdose waited almost 12 weeks to be seen, despite two letters from her worried GP requesting an urgent appointment.

Swankie was dismissed by NHS Fife after a disciplinary hearing in November 2010.

Source: “Male nurse struck off for having sex with psychiatric patient,” The Daily Record and Sunday Mail,” October 13, 2012.

Florida counselor Norman Tow loses license for sexual misconduct

On May 22, 2012, the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling accepted the voluntary relinquishment of the license of mental health counselor-sex therapist Norman Jay Tow for sexual misconduct. According to the Board’s Order, Tow discussed intimate details of his sexual history with a 36-year-old married female patient and then engaged in sexual contact with her.

Source: Final Order, Department of Health vs. N. Jay Tow, LMHC, License No. MH 7063, Case No. 2010-19908, State of Florida.

State revokes psychologist Tyler Gould’s license for sex with patient

On October 15, 2012, the Vermont Board of Psychologist Examiners revoked the license of psychologist Tyler Gould. The Board’s document states that Gould engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient and behaved toward her in a threatening and violent manner.

The client is described in the Board’s documents as “a very fragile person” who was “grieving from a profound personal loss…trying to cope with the aftermath of a prior relationship” when the she first went to Dr. Gould. “From his records, it is clear that Dr. Gould recognized immediately that the client was socially isolated,” the records state.

The Board found that Gould terminated the therapeutic relationship “to pursue his desire for her”; told her that if she revealed their relationship to anyone, he would kill himself. When the patient became ill with a debilitating physical illness, Gould supported her financially and “at some point in the relationship…became intimidating and threatening.” When she attempted to leave him, he grabbed her by the throat and told her he could kill her.

Gould attempted to dissuade the patient from participating in the Board’s proceedings against him.