Eleven years ago, a Pasco County woman we will call Mary Jane was coping with the loss of a child and sought help from licensed mental health counselor Adam Glatt.
“I was feeling depressed and overwhelmed,” she said.
But instead of relieving her pain, Mary Jane told 8 on Your Side, Glatt quite literally inflicted it after taking her as his lover and introducing her into a sadomasochistic lifestyle she had never known.
Mary Jane was a survivor of childhood molestation and still suffered post-traumatic stress from the death of her 49-day-old newborn son three years earlier. “I was feeling lost,” she said.
Her marriage was broken, she’d lost custody of her two daughters and her job was in jeopardy when she discovered Glatt’s name on a list of counselors through an assistance program from her then employer. “That is how I met him,” she said.
After Mary Jane began counseling sessions, she claims that Glatt, who was married at the time, began introducing her to the fetish lifestyle he lived outside of the office. She says it seemed so intriguing she eventually became Glatt’s “slave” in a sexual relationship that lasted for years.
In 2006, three years after her first office visit, public records show Mary Jane moved into the Paradise Lakes nudist resort in a garage apartment adjacent to Glatt’s residence. That’s when Mary Jane claims the sexual relationship started along with the alternative lifestyle she’d never experienced before meeting Glatt.
“I followed in after Adam because I trusted him,” she said. “I found myself in a space of not knowing what to do, where to go.”
Glatt somehow convinced Mary Jane that having this sexual relationship would help her, public records show. “The way I could heal from being molested as a child was to engage in a sexual relationship with him,” she told 8 on Your Side.
Florida law makes it a crime for mental health counselors to have sex with clients. The Florida Department of Health, which licenses counselors, calls it “sexual misconduct,” and the counseling profession’s national code of ethics also bans it.
A Florida Department of Health complaint in 2012 formally accused Glatt of committing acts of sexual misconduct against Mary Jane, including flogging.
She claims he tied her to a “St Andrews’s Cross” he kept in his bedroom, beat her with a whip, and practiced other forms of domination while she served for five years as his “submissive” or sex slave.
A photo of Glatt front in front of the cross Mary Jane claims he kept in his bedroom is among the exhibits in the DOH complaint. “I would never have believed it myself if I had not lived through it,” she said.
In a letter in the DOH case file, Matt Haftel, an attorney representing Glatt, denied any wrongdoing by his client and insisted that Glatt never engaged “in any form of sexual behavior” with Mary Jane.
(READ the letter from Glatt’s attorney here & here)
In an apparent effort to challenge her credibility, Haftel listed a litany of irrational behaviors and mental problems suffered by Mary Jane.
But several witnesses interviewed by investigators supported her story and spoke of seeing Glatt and Mary Jane appear at social gatherings and parties as boyfriend-girlfriend.
One man reported seeing them engage in public sex during fetish lifestyle parties on “several different occasions.”
“He brought me to private dungeons but also to private parties,” Mary Jane said. “It wasn’t like we were hiding from people necessarily.”
Mary Jane showed 8 on Your Side a photo depicting her in a provocative pose with Glatt at what she describes as one of the annual “Fetish Con” gatherings they attended together in Tampa.
Mary Jane claims her sexual relationship with Glatt continued for about five years until they had a falling out in late 2011.
In October 2012, social worker Nikki Daniels ran the Family Justice Center in Tampa. She filed a complaint with the DOH alleging that Glatt had abused Mary Jane, violated laws banning sexual relationships between therapists and patients, and had threatened to disclose Mary Jane’s medical records.
(READ the administrative complaint here)
“Absolutely, there’s no way he should have been allowed to practice,” said Daniels. “That is so far beyond anything that can be construed as appropriate.”
State DOH Investigators spent five weeks checking out Mary Jane’s allegations of kinky sex, flogging, and abuse by Glatt. They gathered evidence, interviewed witnesses and wrapped up their inquiry the week before Christmas 2012. It seemed like a closed case.
But for the next 16 months, the case floated in limbo while Glatt’s license remained in good standing with Florida and untouched by any of the scandalous allegations raised by Daniels and Mary Jane.
There is no indication in state records suggesting why the investigation appears to have gone dormant for more than a year after DOH investigators finalized their report in December 2012.
(READ investigation documents here, here & here)
During that time there was not even a whisper of Glatt’s troubles on the Florida Department of Health licensing website. No hint anyone had accused him of doing anything illegal or improper in the course of his mental health practice.
The website showed Glatt’s license as active, with no complaints or discipline that might have raised questions or concerns by other patients, fellow practitioners, or the public.
Glatt moved to Virginia in early 2012, before the DOH investigation began.
Based on his clean Florida record, Glatt obtained a Virginia license so that he could open a practice in that state in a community near Richmond known as Midlothian.
After leaving Florida, Glatt practiced as a mental health counselor in Midlothian for nearly two years under his Virginia license.
Daniels thinks that’s wrong, given what she regards as Glatt’s abusive treatment of Mary Jane.
“Someone who is as dangerous as he is to be allowed to practice anywhere is absolutely unacceptable,” said Daniels.
In February of this year—16 months after Daniels first complained to the state–the DOH investigation started moving forward again without explanation. Department of Health administrative prosecutors in charge of disciplining licensed counselors like Glatts had finally set in motion the process that would lead to the loss of Glatt’s Florida license.
Two months later, on April 25, Glatt officially surrendered his license at a Tampa meeting of the State of Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, & Mental Health Counseling.
As part of his agreement with the DOH, Glatt “does not admit any wrongdoing whatsoever.” But he had to give up his right to practice in mental health counseling in Florida.
From start to finish, Glatt’s hearing that day lasted exactly one minute and 55 seconds. Glatt was not present and board members accepted Glatt’s “voluntary relinquishment” without uttering a single word of admonishment about his behavior.
The board chairwoman didn’t have much to say after the meeting either. “We’ve done our very best to protect the public’s interest in this matter,” said Mary Bridgman. ”The case is concluded and I have no further comment.”
Six days later, after receiving official notice of Florida’s action, Virginia suspended Glatt’s license to practice in that state based on the fact that Glatt’s Florida license is no longer valid.
18 months had passed since Daniels first reported Glatt for sexual misconduct.
Richard Samet, Glatt’s lawyer in Virginia, told 8 on Your Side he is preparing an appeal.
Samet told 8 on Your Side that Glatt will not discuss any allegations until he resolves the suspension of his Virginia license. Samet insisted Virginia’s suspension was automatic and no one in that state has made any finding of fault by his client.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane is savoring the notion that Glatt, for the moment at least, is not allowed to treat any mental health patients in Florida or Virginia.
“I’m smiling because it’s a victory for people who seek out mental health services. It’s a victory for all of us,” she said. “I would tell him there’s an extra warm spot in Hell waiting for him.”
Source: Mark Douglas, “Mental health counselor flogged me, introduced me to sadomasochism, says Pasco woman,” WFLA TV-8 (Tampa), May 21, 2014.