Category Archives: Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist Brian Cassmassi, Guilty of Indecent Exposure, May Lose License

On March 7, 2018, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against Los Angeles psychiatrist Brian J. Cassmassi. The Accusation seeks to revoke or suspend Cassmassi’s license due to a criminal conviction substantially related to the practice of psychiatry.

The document states that on or about June 29, 2016, a criminal complaint was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court which charged Cassmassi with one count of indecent exposure. According to the Accusation, in October 2015, Cassmassi provided psychotherapy and medication management to a male patient, T.C., to whom he “showed gay pornography on his laptop computer, exposed his penis and began masturbating himself in front of the patient.”

In an interview with the Medical Board, Cassmassi admitted he’d done these things.

Source: “In the Matter of the Accusation Against Brian Joseph Cassmassi,” Case 800-2015-017882, Medical Board of California.
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NY State Refuses to Reinstate Psychiatrist Richard Karpf

On January 4, 2018, the Commission of the New York State Education Department Office of Professional Discipline denied psychiatrist Richard Karpf’s petition to have his medical license restored.

On July 1, 2004, Karpf entered into an agreement with the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct (“Board”) to surrender his license. This surrender was coincident with Karpf’s July 1st guilty plea for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree—an armed felony.

He gave up his license in a plea agreement to avoid going to jail; he faced 25 years.

The Board’s Statement of Charges states that Karpf “inappropriately involved a patient of his psychiatric practice in the procurement of a weapon.” According to later news reports, Karpf told the patient that he needed the gun to kill some of his patients. The patient notified the police, and agreed to cooperate with a sting operation.  The patient, wearing a hidden recording device, recorded his next meetings with Karpf, in which the psychiatrist discussed his plan to kill the people, and how he would dispose of their bodies, by dismembering them, placing body parts in heavy-duty plastic bags, renting a boat and dumping the bags into the shark-infested areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Karpf was arrested upon purchasing a handgun and silencer from an undercover police officer, to whom he’d confided that he wanted to shoot his victims at point blank range in the heart and the head.

Even before his February 2003 grand jury indictment on weapons charges and conspiracy to commit murder, news stories appeared in the New York Post and elsewhere which indicated that one of the patients Karpf allegedly wanted to murder was a female with whom he’d carried on a sexual relationship and that he’d been driven to “a murderous rage when [the] affair went sour.”

Attorney Ruth Bernstein, representing an unnamed female client (and former Karpf patient), stated in a Post story that Karpf “engaged in improper sexual contact with a sick patient who came to him for help.” She stated that her client “was manipulated and abused by him…. He led her to believe that this [sexual contact] was going to be therapeutic.”

Source: “Predator Shrink,” New York Post, Jan. 11, 2003; “Great Neck Psychiatrist Indicted on Conspiracy Charges,” Newsday.com, Feb. 20, 2003, “In the Matter of Richard James Karpf, M.D.” Surrender Order, New Yok State Board for Professional Medical Conduct,” Jul 16, 2004 and “Re: Application for Restoration” [denial of reinstatement], State Education Dept./University of New York Office of Professional Discipline, Feb. 16, 2018.

E. Texas psychiatrist charged with trafficking Indian women for sex, forced labor

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – An East Texas psychiatrist has been arrested and charged in connection with what’s being described as a ‘forced labor conspiracy’ in New York.

Riyaz Mazcuri, was arrested Thursday by the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and booked in the jail on a federal warrant.

According to documents from the federal court in the Southern District of New York, Mazcuri, known as ‘The Doctor,’ was indicted along with three other men accused of organizing a human trafficking organization.

Mazcuri is a psychiatrist who has practiced in Texas for several years in Houston and most recently at a facility in Kilgore.

Federal court documents state the men would hire female dancers in India under the assumption they would perform cultural programs in the United States. Prosecutors allege when they would get to the U.S., the women would be forced to dance in nightclubs in front of men for twelve to fourteen hours per night, seven nights a week. Some of the performers were reportedly engaged in prostitution. The men would reportedly force the women to perform by confiscating their passports and by threatening them with physical violence.

The group reportedly operated in New York and in other locations from 2008 to 2010.

According to jail records, Mazcuri has a Houston address. He was ordered into the custody of the U.S. Marshals until a detention hearing, scheduled for July 29 in Tyler.

Mazcuri’s attorney, listed as Joel Androphy of Houston, was unable to be reached Friday for comment regarding on his client’s arrest.

Source: Cody Lillich, “E. Texas psychiatrist arrested, accused of trafficking Indian women for forced labor, prostitution,” KLTV-7 (www.kltv.com), July 25, 2014. 

Psychiatrist Curtis Steele loses license over teen nude photo allegations

A former psychiatrist who practised in Halifax and taught at Dalhousie University will never practise over allegations that he took nude photos of a teenage patient.

Curtis Steele agreed to give up his licence after an investigation by the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Steele practised in the province from his move to Nova Scotia in 1988 until 2013. In 2013, one of his former patients filed a complaint against him with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The patient was 14 years old when she started seeing Steele in 2003. The decision from the college says one of the girl’s parents worked with Steele and considered him a friend.

A committee that investigated the complaint found a number of concerns about Steele’s behaviour, including Steele allegedly taking nude photographs of his 14-year-old patient, as well as prescribing the drug Paxil without a supporting diagnosis.

“Dr. Steele lacked the necessary insight expected of a psychiatrist in failing to immediately recognize the impropriety of taking the photographs,” the college ruling says.

“The allegations are serious and profoundly disturbing.” – Dr. Gus Grant, College of Physicians and Surgeons

Steele has agreed to the terms of the college’s settlement to stop practising medicine and never apply for a licence again.

He will also have to pay $5,000 to help cover the college’s costs of the investigation. Steele admitted to professional misconduct, but not necessarily the facts outlined in the agreement.

The college released its decision Wednesday morning.

“I can’t imagine complaints of a more serious nature,” said Dr. Gus Grant, the registrar and CEO of the college. “The allegations are serious and profoundly disturbing.”

Grant says the incident could lead to charges.

“The nature of the allegations that the college considered are serious and potentially will involve the criminal court system,” he said.
Two more complaints outstanding

Meanwhile, Steele still faces two complaints from former patients, including another case filed by the patient who was 14 years old when he treated her in 2003.

A second case, filed last year, alleges Steele made inappropriate sexual advances toward a male patient using a dildo.

Steele practised at the Community Mental Health Clinic at the Capital District Health Authority, as well as at a small private practice.

Steele was also a faculty member at Dalhousie University’s Department of Psychiatry, but retired in 2013. He hadn’t taught medical students in over a decade, says Dalhousie spokeswoman Allison Gerrard.

Source: “Curtis Steele loses psychiatry licence over nude photo allegations,” CBC News, July 16, 2014.

University of Alberta head of psychiatry resigns over Ontario sexual misconduct allegation

The University of Alberta’s new head of psychiatry has resigned his position less than two weeks after CBC News revealed he faces an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a female patient in Ontario.

Dr. Claudio Soares resigned as head of the University of Alberta’s psychiatry department.Dr. Claudio Soares resigned as head of the University of Alberta’s psychiatry department. (McMaster University)

Dr. Claudio de Novaes Soares, incoming chair of the department of psychiatry, resigned effective immediately, according to a letter to university staff on Monday.

Soares was to assume the role of chair on September 1, but was placed on a leave.

Documents obtained by CBC News showed the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is investigating an allegation that Soares had sexual relations with a woman who was a patient between November 2007 and May 2009. At that time, he was a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.

A date for the hearing has not yet been scheduled and none of the claims have been proven by the Ontario college.

Soares’ departure was announced by the dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry, Dr. D. Douglas Miller, in a letter to staff and colleagues Monday.

Dr. Glen Baker, currently director of the neurochemical research unit at the University of Alberta, has been appointed interim chair.

Baker served as department chair from 2000 to 2005 and acting chair from 2005 to 2006.

Source: “New U of A psychiatry chair quits amid sex allegations,” CBC News, September 24, 2012.

State charges psychiatrist Richard J. Pines with sex abuse of children

The Idaho State Board of Medicine has filed a complaint against a Boise child and adolescent psychiatrist alleging he had improper sexual contact with four former patients or foster children and had a three-year affair with an adult patient to whom he was prescribing painkillers.

The complaint against Dr. Richard J. Pines was filed on June 28 and alleges abuses dating back to June 2001. He has denied the allegations in his response to the board. Pines’ attorney, David Cantrill, declined comment.

The board is seeking a hearing on whether Pines’ license should be suspended or revoked or if he should face other punishment. No criminal charges have been filed.

The board’s complaint alleges that in two cases Pines told young men he needed to practice giving massages to naked bodies to maintain his medical license and improperly touched them, including one who was 14.

Pines acknowledged taking naked pictures of another patient who was about 14 while they were at Pines’ cabin in Garden Valley and acknowledged taking money to that patient before Pines was interviewed by Boise police in March 2011, the board’s complaint alleges.

In January 2011, the board alleges Pines told a former foster child that he needed a “test patient” on whom to practice hernia exams and that he acknowledged giving that person $2,000 after the incident.

The board also alleges Pines prescribed controlled substances to an adult patient with whom he had a three-year affair without records showing that the patient needed the medication. The board said the last prescription, for acetaminophen and codeine, was filled in June 2010.

Pines has been licensed to practice medicine in Idaho since June 1997 and has worked at several places including Boise Public Schools and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Source: “Medical board files complaint against Boise doctor,” Associated Press, August 27, 2012.

State issues charge against psychiatrist Richard J. Pines for sexual contact with foster children

The Idaho State Board of Medicine has filed a complaint against a Boise child and adolescent psychiatrist alleging he had improper sexual contact with four former patients or foster children and had a three-year affair with a patient to whom he was prescribing painkillers.

The complaint against Dr. Richard J. Pines alleges abuses dating back to June 2001. He has denied the allegations in his response to the board.

The board’s complaint alleges that in two cases Pines said he needed to perform naked massages to maintain his medical license, in one case he took naked pictures of a 14-year-old patient at his cabin and told a former foster child that he needed a “test patient” on which to practice hernia exams.

The board seeks a hearing on whether Pines’ license should be revoked.

Source: “Medical board files complaint against Boise doctor,” The Associated Press, August 27, 2012.