Category Archives: mental health counselor

Prosecutor brings additional charges against therapist already facing kiddie porn charge

In December 2010, Contra Costa (California) County prosecutors amended the charges against marriage and family therapist Thomas P. Jewell.

Jewell had initially been arrested on child pornography charges last November, after police found a large amount of such material in his home.

Jewell had been employed for several years by the mental health division at Contra Costa County Health Services, assigned to Juvenile Hall.

Investigators found 13,000 images of child pornography on computers seized from Jewell’s home in November.

The complaint against Jewell was amended when one of the victims was identified in the images.

Jewell was additionally charged with 46 counts of child molestation, one count of posing a child for the purpose of pornography, one county of showing pornographic material to a child and one count of possession of child pornography.

His bail was increased from $1 million to $5.8 million in light of the molestation charges.

Source: Robert Salonga, “Contra Costa Juvenile Hall counselor arrested in child pornography case,” Contra Costa Times, 18 November 2010 and ”Youth counselor charged with porn, molestation,” Associated Press, December 6, 2010.

Mental health counselor William L. Riedel sentenced to 35 years prison for drugging and molesting 11-year-old girl

On February 11, a judge sentenced a Mesa (Arizona) man to 20 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor and 15 years in prison for child molestation, attempted child molestation, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and unlawful administration of drugs.

In addition to that prison time – the sentences will run back to back – William Lewis Riedel also got lifetime probation on two other charges.

Riedel, a former family counselor, was arrested in January 2008.

According to investigators, Riedel, who was 43 at the time, convinced his then girlfriend to give her 11-year-daughter sleeping pills – they told the child they were allergy pills – and then the couple took pictures as they molested her. This happened in 2006 and went on for three months.

It all came to light nearly two years later when the daughter of Riedel’s new fiance found the pictures on Riedel’s computer. She told her mother and the mother contacted the police.

Investigators confiscated the computer and found a variety of disturbing images or Riedel with the victim. They said the victim appeared to be drugged or unconscious in all of the pictures. Police said they also found other images depicting child pornography.

Riedel allegedly told investigators he “groomed” the victim’s mother, teaching her and encouraging her to take part in the molestation.

Riedel eventually pleaded guilty to the counts for which Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie sentenced him.

Source: Catherine Holland, “Mesa man gets 35 years in child molestation case,”, February 11, 2011.

State fines psychologist Brent Roderick Smith; took “redemptive” approach with colleague who engaged in sex with patient

On August 19, 2010, the Michigan Department of Community Health Bureau of Health Professions (MDCH) imposed a $1,000 fine upon psychologist and professional counselor Brent Roderick Smith for violation of general duty/negligence.

According to the MDCH, in November 2008, Smith counseled a mother and her two children (a son and daughter), as well as supervised a licensed professional counselor named Brent Chilcote.

In late November of that year the daughter told the mother that she’d been involved in a sexual relationship with Chilcote when she was receiving counseling from him. Chilcote admitted the relationship when confronted about it by Smith in early December 2008.

Smith advised the mother he would not report Chilcote to the MDCH, but rather would take a “redemptive” approach to the situation.  Smith urged the mother to believe in redemption and forgiveness.

In Spring 2009, after becoming aware that Chilcote was slated to provide counseling services at a local school, the mother shared with Smith information she’d heard about the possibility that Chilcote may have committed indiscretions with other patients and her concern for the school children he would be in contact with.

Smith dismissed her concerns and advised he would stil not report Chilcote to the MDCH.  During and October 2009 meeting with an MDCH investigator, Smith advised that he did not believe he was required to report Chilcote’s conduct and advised that as his supervisor, he believed he appropriately dealt with the situation (the “redemptive” approach).

Source: Consent Order and Stipulation in the Matter of Brent Roderick Smith, Psy.D., License No. 63-01-008782, Complaint No. 63-09-119939, State of Michigan Department of Community Health.

Counselor Thomas Perez Jewell held in lieu of bail of kiddie porn charge

On November 18, 2010, California licensed marriage and family therapist intern Thomas Perez Jewell was arrested after investigators found a “large amount” of child pornography at his home, according to a new story published in the Contra Costa Times.

Jewell, who has been employed for several years by mental health division of Contra Costa County Health Services, was assigned as a counselor at the County Juvenile Hall.

He is being held in county jail on a charge of suspicion of possessing child pornography, in lieu of $1 million bail.

Source: Robert Salonga, “Contra Costa Juveniile Hall counselor arrested in child pornography case,” Contra Costa Times, 18 November 2010.


Arizona revokes license of mental health counselor James Gorton for sex with client

On May 7, 2010, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners revoked the license of professional counselor James Gorton.

According to the Board’s report, Gorton counseled a husband and wife from December 2007 through August 2008.  Soon after terminating treatment with the wife, he began engaging in social activities with her.

The Board’s report indicates that he engaged in sexual conduct with the wife before she was divorced from the husband.

Approximately six months later, he began a romantic relationship with her that included “holding hands, hugging and kissing, and spending the night at each other’s houses.

The Board’s report indicates that he engaged in sexual conduct with the wife before she was divorced from the husband.

Gorton failed to obtain written, informed consent from the husband or wife and did not maintain progress notes for 63 sessions with the husband and/or wife, among other record keeping failures.

Source: Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Adverse Action Tracking Form 2010, dated 21 September 2010.


State declines to license mental health counselor John Del Signore for sex with client in other state

On September 2, 2010, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) denied John H. Del Signore’s application for a credential to practice as a mental health counselor associate.

According to the DOH’s Order, Del Signore surrendered his license to practice as a professional counselor to the state of Colorado on October 28, 2009, based on his sexual contact with a client, maintaining an inappropriate relationship with a client and with providing services which fell below generally accepted standards.

On December 15, 2009, Del Signore applied for a mental health counselor credential with Washington’s Department of Health Counselor Programs (Program).  The application required him to answer questions regarding previous denials, revocations and/or suspensions of health care license, to which he answered “yes.”  The Program issued a denial on April 9, 2010.

Del Signore filed a request for Adjudicate Proceeding on April 14, 2010.  The Presiding Officer of that Proceeding found that Del Signore is not qualified to practice as a mental health counselor in the state of Washington.

Source: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Final Order in the Matter of John Henry Del Signore, Application No. MHCA. MC. 60133243, Master Case No. M2010-353, State of Washington Department of Health Adjudicative Service Unit.

Therapist William Jefferson loses license for ongoing sexual harrassment

On February 5, 2010, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners revoked the licenses/certificates of marriage & family therapist and professional counselor William Jefferson.

According to information made publicly available by the Board, Jefferson has a minor criminal history and a history of being involuntarily terminated by his employer.

Jefferson is reported to have answered “no” on subsequent license renewal applications to questions about arrests/charges and involuntary terminations.

Specifically, the Board’s document states that Jefferson was arrested in July 1995 for the crime of resisting arrest. He was charged with the same crime in March 1997.

In 2003 and 2005, he answered “no” on multiple renewal application background questions regard arrests and charges.

He was terminated from employment at an agency he’d worked at for 12 years for inability to comply with the agency’s policies and procedures and to perform at the expected level of professionalism.

He was terminated in October 2002 from another agency he’d worked at concurrently for sexual harassment.  He was terminated in December 2008 from yet another agency he worked at, for ongoing sexual harassment. During the Board’s investigation, Williams minimized and misrepresented his employment terminations.

Source: Entry on William Jefferson, Case No. 2009-0082, License nos. LMFT-0065 and LPC-0229, as published in the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Adverse Action Tracking Form (as found on their website).