Category Archives: psychotherapist

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,”, 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.

Mental health counselor Andrew B. Phillips’ license revoked for sex with teen client

On May 6, 2010, the Washington Department of Health (DoH) revoked the credential of registered counselor Andrew Phillips for unprofessional conduct.

The DoH’s charges against Phillips (which were issued in April 2010) state that between July and August 2009, Phillips, who was then employed at at Community Counseling Institute of Tacoma, provided drug and alcohol counseling to a 17-year-old female client.   Between approximately October 2009 and November 2009, the client was placed with Phillips and his wife in the course of a dependency action.  Between these latter dates, Phillips is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct with the teenager, including but not limited to hugging and kissing the client, fondling client’s breasts, sexual intercourse and mutual oral sex.

Phillips was given the opportunity to respond to the charges in a DoH hearing but affirmatively waived his opportunity for a hearing in the matter.

Source: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order (Waiver of Hearing) in the Matter of Andrew B. Phillips, Credential No. RC 60010154, Case No. M2010-314, State of Washington Department of Health, filed May 6, 2010 and Vernal Coleman, “Tacoma Drug Counselor Accused of Having Sex With 17-Year-Old Former Patient,” Tacoma Weekly, April 21, 2010.

Terry Zuehlke, psychologist-clinic exec director, suspended for sex with former patient

The Minnesota Board of Psychology has disciplined Terry Zuehlke, a Golden Valley psychologist, for having a sexual relationship with a former patient.

The board suspended his license indefinitely, it said in a disciplinary action released Tuesday.

The board said that Zuehlke, who was executive director of Pathways Psychological Services in Golden Valley, treated a patient between 2001 and 2004 for individual and couples counseling. Within several months of ending their professional relationship, Zuehlke and his client saw each other socially, then they engaged in sexual activity, the board said.

Zuehlke violated state statute and board rules by having a sexual relationship with a patient within two years of terminating a professional one, the board said. It suspended his license for 21 months. To have his license reinstated, Zuehlke must undergo a psychological evaluation, agree to treatment if recommended, and take courses in professional protocols. He must also pay a fine of $2,500.

Source: “Golden Valley psychologist is disciplined by state board,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 25, 2010.

State charges mental health counselor who failed to disclose conviction involving sexual contact with male teen

On February 25, 2010, the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) charged licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT) James F. Jacobs with unprofessional conduct.  The DoH’s Statement of Charges states that the state of WashingtoJacobs a MFT license on July 22, 2001 and that earlier, on July 2nd, he’d submitted his application for an MFT license.  On the application, he’d answered “no” to the question:

“Have you ever been convicted, entered a plea of guilty, nolo contender or a plea of similar effect, or had prosecution or sentence deferred or suspended, in connection with:

a. the use or distribution of controlled substances or legend drugs?

b. a charge of a sex offense?

c. any other crime, other than minor traffic infractions? (Including driving under the influence and reckless driving)”

On or about August 6, 1998, Jacobs was arrested in Bell County, Texas for indecency with a child by contact, a felony, for sexual contact with a sixteen (16) year old male.  On or about December 22, 1998, Jacobs was convicted of assault with bodily injury, a misdemeanor reduced from the original indecency charge, in Bell County, Texas (Cause No. 2C98-3677).

On or about April 6, 2006, Jacobs’ clinical privileges to practice as a substance abuse counselor for the U.S. Army Medical Department, Kenner Army Health Clinic, Fort Lee, Virginia, were permanently revoked for failure to disclose the above referenced criminal conviction when completing a Department of the Army Malpractice History and Clinical Privileges Questionnaire.

Source: Statement of Charges, In the Matter of James F. Jacobs, Credential No. MFT.LF.00000856, Case No. M2009-999, State of Washington Department of Health.

Washington state suspends license of counselor David E. Eskelin, engaged in personal relationship with former patient

On January 7, 2010, the Washington State Department of Health (DoH) suspended indefinitely the counseling registration of registered counselor and licensed hypnotherapist David E. Eskelin for unprofessional conduct.

According to the DoH’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, Eskelin provided hypnotherapy to a female client from approximately July 1997 until approximately April 1998.  The client testified that during that period, Eskelin hugged and kissed her and had sexual relations with her.  The DoH found that there was insufficient evidence to determine if the client’s allegations were true.

The DoH’s document further states that after the conclusion of the professional relationship, Eskelin went to the client’s house multiple times, took her to a gun range, helped her get a car, took her on a motorcycle ride and gave her money.

It further states that during the summer of 2000, Eskelin and the former client entered into a consensual sexual relationship and that ain May 2001, he provided the client a refund of the fees she had paid to him for counseling services.

Eskelin admitted in testimony that he realized that the meetings with the client were a violation of professional ethics.  The document states that Eskelin’s relationship with the client “resulted in pain and anger for [the client] and necessitated psychiatric counseling.”

Source: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order in the Matter of David E. Eskelin, Credential Nos. RC00021812 and HP10001642, Master Case Nos. M2009-1 and M2009-2, State of Washington Department of Health Adjudicative Service Unit, filed January 7, 2010.

Washington state suspends mental health couselor Erik N. Bracht; married patient

On January 21, 2010, the Washington Department of Health (DoH) suspended indefinitely counselor Erik N. Bracht for unprofessional conduct.  According to the DoH’s Order, from July 8, 2002 through June 16, 2003, Bracht provided counseling services to a female patient who was married and who received counseling in part to “examine issues arising from that relationship.”  The Order states that on several occasions, the client made it clear to Bracht that she was interested in having a personal relationship with him: on one occasion the client invited Bracht on a social outing and on two occasions, contacted him at home.  While Bracht did resist these advances, reporting them to his supervisor and transferring the client’s therapy to another counselor, he shortly thereafter decided he wanted to have a personal relationship with the client and entered into such in August 2003.  He married the client in June 2004—in full cognizance of the fact that state statutes require that counselors allow two years to pass after the termination of the therapeutic relationship before engaging in social or other relationships with former patients.

Source: Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order on Modification in the Matter of Erik N. Bracht, Credential No. MHC.LH.00007519, Docket No. 05-03-B-1014LH, Master Case No. M2005-113570, Washington Department of Health, filed January 21, 2010.