Monthly Archives: November 2013

Puerto Rican psychiatrist arrested in sexual predator investigation

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A psychiatrist was arrested Thursday for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and sex trafficking of a minor. The arrest was made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force officers.

HSI special agents arrested Gerardo V. Navarro-Rodriguez at his medical office in Caguas after an investigation revealed he allegedly induced, coerced and enticed at least one 17-year-old male minor to engage in commercial sexual acts. The investigation was spurred by a referral from the Puerto Rico Police Department.

According to the criminal complaint, Navarro-Rodriguez was a psychiatrist working for APS Healthcare Puerto Rico. APS is a private corporation contracted by the Puerto Rican government and is the sole provider of mental health services under The Puerto Rico Health Reform, “Mi Salud.”

In his position as a psychiatrist for APS, Dr. Navarro-Rodriguez provided, among other things, psychiatric therapy sessions to children and adolescent victims of sexual abuse. From approximately October 2011 through May, a male minor identified as John Doe was a patient of Dr. Navarro-Rodriguez. The criminal complaint alleges during this period the doctor committed lewd acts and sexual assault against the victim on several occasions.

“Predators who victimize innocent children for selfish gratification must know that we will not rest until they are brought to justice, regardless of where they live and who they are,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Words cannot describe the harm that these crimes inflict on children.”

“We request all parents to talk to their children and report any illegal sexual conduct. Furthermore, if you are a current or former patient of Dr. Navarro-Rodriguez, or if you simply have information you’d like to share with law enforcement, please do not hesitate to call,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Velez. “This office is committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals who feel they can take advantage of their positions of trust and abuse our children.”

If convicted, Navarro-Rodriguez faces between 10 years and life in prison.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Source: “HSI arrests Puerto Rican psychiatrist on child exploitation, sex trafficking charges,” news release of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, September 27, 2013.

Psychiatrist–leader of Russian sex cult–jailed for 9+ years; forced children to worship sexual promiscuity

The leader of a ‘sect of perverts’ which encouraged orgies and striptease in front of children was jailed in Russia for nine years after being found guilty of indoctrinating dozens of minors to worship sexual promiscuity.

Members of the so-called Self Improvement Foundation ‘were encouraged with psychological pressure to have uncontrolled sexual relations with each other, including in the presence of minors’, disclosed investigators.

Psychiatrist Vyacheslav Vesnin – who called himself the ‘master’ and ‘guru’ of the sinister group – held a magnetic attraction for women, it was claimed.

He is believed to have had friends in high places in the city of Orenburg where his sinister sect operated for around 20 years. It had several hundred members.

Four female acolytes of the burly and bearded 47-year-old cult leader were jailed for a total of 30 years, and Vesnin, who was arrested three years ago, will serve nine years and nine months, a judge ruled this week.

The father of two was described as ‘charismatic’ and ‘powerful’.

Members of the ‘depraved’ sect included government officials, bankers, teachers, lawyers, and security officers in the far-flung southern Russian region, more than 900 miles south-east of Moscow.

‘The worst thing was that they brought their under-age children with them,’ reported one newspaper.

Children were encouraged to watch orgies involving adults, it was claimed.

One shocking picture shows a scared-looking girl aged three during a striptease performance by a near-naked female Vesnin follower.
Sect: Vesnin poses surrounded by scantily-clad ‘adepts’ in his order

Sect: Vesnin poses surrounded by scantily-clad ‘adepts’ in his order

Smirking: Vesnin appears to wave as he leaves the court room. During his trial photographs showing children around naked adults were used as evidence

Smirking: Vesnin appears to wave as he leaves the court room. During his trial photographs showing children around naked adults were used as evidence

He was convicted after an accomplice – Marina Abrosimova – co-operated with prosecutors to expose his sinister cult. She received a five year suspended sentence.

‘Children were taught anti-social and depraved behaviour, and accustomed to early sexual relations,’ said one newspaper which branded his organisation a ‘sect of perverts’.

‘Minors were forced to engage in sexual promiscuity.’

A total of 15 children required psychiatric help from a top Moscow clinic. More than two dozen were released from the sect.

They were aged between seven and 16, and had suffered from ‘premature sexualisation’, though no adults were charged with having sex with children.
Leader: Vesnin was described as ‘powerful’, ‘charismatic’ and somebody who held a magnetic attraction for women

Leader: Vesnin was described as ‘powerful’, ‘charismatic’ and somebody who held a magnetic attraction for women

Vesnin, shown smirking in pictures from court in Orenburg, was convicted this week of ‘the creation of a religious association that infringes on the individual and the rights of citizens’, ‘actions aimed at inciting hatred or enmity’, and ‘depraving minors committed as part of an organised group.’

Some surprise in Russia was expressed at the ‘leniency’ of his sentence, given the way children were brainwashed by his ‘perverted beliefs’.

When police and the security services moved in on the group, 110 members were ‘completely naked’ at a campsite near Orenburg, it was reported.

A dozen children were present at the time.

Hundreds of photographs showing children in the presence of naked adults were recovered from Vesnin’s plush country home.

Source: Will Stewart, “Leader of sinister cult that carried out orgies in the presence of children is jailed in Russia for making youngsters worship sexual promiscuity,” Mail (UK), 6 November 2013.

Ohio psychiatrist takes plea deal to avoid trial in pregnant woman’s death

DELAWARE, Ohio — The doctor charged with raping and killing a pregnant Pataskala woman who answered his Craigslist ad said nothing about the night she died yesterday while admitting to causing her death and the death of her unborn child.

Dr. Ali Salim, 44, said only that he “took issue” with the charge that he had raped the woman, but he conceded that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him of doing so.

Salim, on house arrest since being charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering 23-year-old Deanna Ballman and with murdering her unborn daughter, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter. He also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and abusing Ballman’s corpse. He entered an Alford plea to the rape charge, which allows him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that he likely would be convicted if the case went to trial. It carries the same weight as a guilty plea.

Prosecutors dropped charges that Salim kidnapped and drugged Ballman and feloniously assaulted her baby. They also dropped one count of tampering with evidence.

As Salim acknowledged his guilty pleas to each charge, Ballman’s mother and sister sat in the courtroom, brushing away tears.

Ballman’s family asked that reporters respect their privacy, and said they planned to testify at Salim’s sentencing hearing, scheduled for Dec. 10. He faces up to 37 years in prison.

Prosecutors said they did not know what sentence they would seek.

“Nothing we can ever do in the legal system can compensate the Ballman family for the loss of their daughter and their granddaughter,” said Kyle

Rohrer, assistant Delaware County prosecutor. “This gives a certainty of the outcome of the case.”

Ballman’s body was found in her car along a rural road in the southeastern part of Delaware County on Aug. 1, 2012, a day after she told her mother she was answering a Craigslist ad to clean a house. She was nine months pregnant at the time and planned to name her daughter Mabel.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial next week.

Rohrer said evidence would have shown that Salim met Ballman at a Kroger grocery in New Albany and took her back to his home on Turner Close, on Columbus’ Northeast Side.

Rohrer said Salim gave Ballman heroin, and that there was evidence to suggest that he had injected it into her leg.

An autopsy showed that she died of a heroin overdose. It was unclear whether Ballman used the heroin willingly or whether Salim forced her to be injected.

Ballman began feeling ill and called her mother, Lori Ballman, Rohrer said. Deanna Ballman had left her two young children, then 1 and 3, with her mother when she went to answer the ad. Other than Salim, Lori Ballman was the last person to talk with Deanna.

Salim eventually put Ballman’s body in the back of her car, drove it to a field and left it there.

Salim, who will remain on house arrest until his sentencing, declined to comment after changing his plea yesterday.

His attorney, Sam Shamansky, said that as the case evolved, a plea deal seemed like a good idea.

“We believe that this agreement is in the best interest of everyone,” Shamansky said.

Rohrer said he was satisfied with the plea agreement. “He took responsibility for everything he did,” Rohrer said of Salim.

Salim, who until his arrest was an emergency-department psychiatrist at Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon, is not a U.S. citizen and could be deported to Pakistan after he is released from prison, Delaware Common Pleas Judge W. Duncan Whitney said. He also will be required to register as a sex offender.

The State Medical Board suspended his medical license in April.

Ballman’s family has sued Salim, the hospital and Craigslist, saying all were negligent.

Source: Laura Arenschield, “Doctor takes plea deal, avoids trial in pregnant woman’s death,” The Columbus Dispatch, October 25, 2013.

Judge revokes bond of psychiatrist convicted in deaths of pregnant woman, unborn child

DELAWARE, Ohio — In the year and a half since Deanna Ballman’s body was found in the back seat of her car, the doctor who ultimately was convicted of raping her and killing both her and her unborn daughter has been free.

After he was charged with two counts of murder in February, Dr. Ali Salim was released from the Delaware County jail on a $1 million bond. Salim pleaded guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter last month, and again was allowed to go home to await sentencing in December.

Yesterday, a judge put him back behind bars.

Andy Califf Bailiff Bonds, the company that posted bond on his behalf, had been monitoring Salim, 44 and a former emergency-room psychiatrist. But the company filed a request last week that his bond be revoked.

Before a judge could rule on that request, Salim’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, worked out a deal with the bond company’s lawyer. Under that agreement, Salim would have paid the bond company additional money and lived at his home under tighter restrictions.

Delaware County Common Pleas Judge W. Duncan Whitney didn’t care about the new agreement.

“The court obviously is not going to ignore the fact that the bonding company has real concerns that he’s not going to be there,” Whitney said. “There’s no longer the presumption of innocence.”

Salim is facing up to 37 years in prison. In addition to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, Salim also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and abusing Ballman’s corpse. He entered an Alford plea to charges he raped Ballman, which allows him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging he would likely be convicted if the case went to trial.

Salim, who is not a U.S. citizen, also could be deported to his native Pakistan after he is released from prison.

Ballman’s body was found in her car in a field in a rural part of Delaware County on Aug. 1, 2012, a day after she told her mother she was answering a Craigslist ad to clean a house. She was nine-months pregnant when she died.

Prosecutors said that Salim gave Ballman heroin and that there was evidence to suggest he injected it into her thigh. An autopsy showed she died of a heroin overdose.

Paul AuCoin, who represented the bond company, said that when Salim was convicted, he became a flight risk.

“Our thought was if he’s going to be deported anyway, why wouldn’t he leave the jurisdiction and go now?” AuCoin said. “He has the financial wherewithal to leave.”

AuCoin said the bond company asked Salim to agree to tighter restrictions on his freedom and Salim refused.

“That was another red flag,” AuCoin said.

Shamansky said Salim has complied with detectives, bondsmen and the court throughout the investigation and trial.

“I don’t know, really, what more this man can do to establish the good faith that he’s showed for the last year or so,” Shamansky said. “He’s going nowhere. He’s got no passport, nothing.”

Until his arrest, Salim was an emergency-room psychiatrist at Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon. The State Medical Board suspended his license in April.

Shamansky asked that Salim’s sentencing hearing be held as soon as possible. The hearing had been set for Dec. 20.

Source: Laura Arenschield, “Judge revokes bond of doctor convicted in deaths of pregnant woman, unborn child,” The Columbus Dispatch, November 8, 2013. 

Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center in Springfield

Are you a current or former employee of Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center in Springfield, Illinois?

Have you witnessed incidents of patient abuse or injury at the facility?

Please contact Steve Wagner at Citizens Commission on Human Rights to make a report: 800-869-2247 or swagner@cchr.org.

New York revokes license of psychiatrist Barlow Smith

On June 5, 2013, the New York Office of Professional Medical Conduct revoked the license of psychiatrist Barlow Smith.

According to the state’s documents, Smith was disciplined by the Texas Medical Board in May 2009 for engaging in sexual contact with a patient at Smith’s invitation. He was required to pay a penalty of $3,000 and complete professional boundaries course.

In August 2011, the Texas board again disciplined him, requiring him to obtain at least eight hours continuing medical education in the area of medical recordkeeping based on finding that, among other things, he failed to maintain records to support the treatment regimen of four patients to whom he prescribed pain medication and stimulants.

Psychiatrist Ruby Siddiqui Nadel loses license in New York

On September 8, 2013, psychiatrist Ruby Siddiqui Nadel surrendered her license to practice medicine in the state of New York.

In February 12, 2013, Nadel surrendered her medical license to the California Medical Board. That board initially suspended Nadel’s license in May 2012, following a call from Nadel in which she reported an attempted lawsuit against her for sexual harassment. Nadel is reported to have spoken in an illogical, disjointed and confusing manner, and admitted to engaging in conduct that violates the state Medical Practice Act. The investigator who subsequently interviewed Nadel in July 2011 noted that her home was in disarray, cluttered, and smelled strongly of cat urine due to her 22 cats. The investigator established that, among other things, Nadel’s disorganized and illogical speaking patterns were widespread; Nadel engaged in sexual relationships with patients; and did not keep medical records for patients she treated.