Category Archives: sexual exploitation

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.

Prison psychologist engaged in affair with “sexy” convicted murderer

SHE thought he was “sexy” and wanted to be with him forever. The only problem was she was his psychologist and he was a convicted murderer.

Bobbie Bergmeier met the inmate — who can be referred to only as Client A — after she began working as a psychologist at Junee Correctional Centre in the NSW Riverina region in April 2010.

At the time, Client A was serving the final years of his 21-year sentence for murder and malicious wounding.

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) alleges Ms Bergmeier began having intimate telephone conversations with him, declaring “she loved him and couldn’t wait to be with him” and “he was sexy and she wanted him forever”.

She resigned from the prison job in August 2011 but continued to stay in contact with him, visiting his family and friends, and applying to be his sponsor for weekend leave.

Client A was serving the final years of a 21 year sentence for murder and malicious wound

In a bid to cover up her relationship, Ms Bergmeier also used a colleague’s password to log into Client A’s case notes and change them to create “distance” between herself and him, the HCCC alleged.

In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal NSW found her guilty of professional misconduct, saying she “has been involved in a serious boundary violation and placed her client at risk”.

Although Client A was serving time for murder, the tribunal said he had been in jail all of his adult life with little opportunity to explore relationships.

He was “needy and dependent and psychologically vulnerable”, it heard.

Asked why she didn’t end the relationship when the stakes were so high, Ms Bergmeier told the tribunal her feelings were “so strong” that she didn’t think to.

The relationship started in prison but Client A and Ms Bergmeier are believed to still be

The relationship started in prison but Client A and Ms Bergmeier are believed to still be seeing each other. Picture:

Ms Bergmeier said she accepted responsibility for her actions and acknowledged that what she did was wrong.

She understood her conduct had breached her professional code of ethics.

The tribunal cancelled her registration, saying: “Her insight into the seriousness of her conduct and its impact on her client, her colleagues and the profession as a whole remains questionable.” Client A was released on parole in March.

Ms Bergmeier is now enrolled in a degree in primary school teaching at Charles Sturt University.

It is believed the pair are continuing to see each other.

Source: “Prison psychologist Bobbie Bergmeier guilty of misconduct over relationship with murderer inmate,” News.com.au, July 17, 2014.

Psychologist John Cicconi loses license for sexual and abusive relationship with patient

A long-time psychologist who had an intimate and physically abusive relationship with a mentally ill patient has been de-registered.

Vincent Cicconi, who practiced in Moonee Ponds, was reprimanded and found guilty of professional misconduct for the three-year relationship with a female patient 20 years his junior.

The patient, who cannot be named, first met Mr Cicconi in April 2008 for treatment for her depression, anxiety and personality disorder, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.

The patient abused alcohol, ecstasy and cannabis and Mr Cicconi described her to Centrelink as “basically homeless” and “unable to look for work, given her mental state”, the tribunal heard.

After the third consultation, the relationship between Mr Cicconi and his patient became “unorthodox” when he invited her to have lunch with him at a cafe. This was followed by repeated shared meals, him giving her lifts home after consultations, going to the cinema, restaurants and concerts together and him giving her money.

The professional relationship ended after about two months but the sexual relationship began a short time later.

The Australian Psychological Society’s code of ethics states that psychologists cannot have sex with a former patient for at least two years after the professional relationship has ended, and even then, it must be discussed with a senior psychologist. The patient is also encouraged to have independent counselling.

Mr Cicconi allowed his patient to stay overnight at his house and at the end of 2008, she moved into his home for about two months.

In their recently published judgment, VCAT deputy president Heather Lambrick and members John Farhall and Marian Power said the relationship between Mr Cicconi and his patient was “erratic and tumultuous” and “characterised by conflict, recriminations, separations and reconciliations”.

In March 2010, during an argument at his house, Mr Cicconi punched the patient in the face. Police later successfully sought an intervention order on her behalf against Mr Cicconi.

In February 2011, the pair had a “physical conflict” which left her with a bloody hand. Mr Cicconi was granted a diversion on an assault charge in court, meaning no conviction was recorded.

Despite this, contact between Mr Cicconi and the patient continued, and in 2012, they met again and had sex.

Months earlier, Mr Cicconi lied to the Psychology Board of Australia when it asked him for contact details for the patient.

The tribunal, describing the patient as “extremely vulnerable”, said the violence, sexual relationship and living arrangements between Mr Cicconi and the patient were “reprehensible”.

“Mr Cicconi should have realised that his own objectivity and capacity to provide appropriate treatment and care would be impaired,” the tribunal said. “The psychologist and patient relationship should have been immediately terminated with appropriate arrangements put in place for (the patient’s) ongoing care. This did not occur.”

The tribunal said that although it accepted Mr Cicconi was not adequately qualified to deal with the patient’s complex needs, he should have referred her on to someone who was, and not pursued a relationship.

It added that it could not rationalise the patient’s vulnerability and the inherent power imbalance in the relationship and that the entire profession was brought into disrepute when practitioners exploited professional relationships for their own advantage.

Mr Cicconi was reprimanded and his registration was cancelled, effective mid-May. He is not allowed to reapply for registration for 15 months after the cancellation begins, and will need to show that the conduct will not be repeated.

Source: Adrian Lowe, “Sex with patient costs psychologist his job,” The Age, April 30, 2013.

Bill pending in Louisiana legislature would make psychotherapist sex with patients a crime

BATON ROUGE — A Lafourche Parish lawmaker has introduced legislation that he said would better define the sexual boundaries that should be applied to psychotherapists and their patients.

Rep. Dee Richard, no party affiliation, Thibodaux, said he attempted to take the issue in from several different angles when drafting House Bill 226.

The legislation is expected to be debated during the regular session that convenes Monday.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

“When you are under a psychotherapist’s care, you are very vulnerable,” Richard said. “There are a lot of cases out there where sexual contact occurred and it did not end well. This is something we should do a better job of avoiding.”

Richard’s bill would create a new crime that prohibits “sexual contact by a psychotherapist.”

It would not only target psychotherapists but also any person who “fraudulently represents himself as or purports to be a psychotherapist.”

The proposed law would apply more specifically to psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, mental health counselors and “any other person who provides or purports to provide treatment, diagnosis, assessment, evaluation, or counseling of any mental, emotional, behavioral, or addictive illnesses, disorders, symptoms, or conditions.”

As the bill is drafted, none of these individuals would not be allowed to engage in sexual contact with a client or patient, current or former.

Richard’s bill goes into great detail as to what constitutes a sexual act and seeks to cover a wide array of sexual scenarios.

”Some people may have a problem with the bill, in terms of consensual sex, and I am trying to address that,” Richard said.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

Under the bill, a psychotherapist would be allowed to have sexual contact with a former client as long as it occurs one year after their professional medical relationship ends.

There must also be a paper trail showing that the psychotherapist referred the former patient to an “independent and objective psychotherapist, recommended by a third-party psychotherapist, for treatment.”

According to the legislation, the consent of the patient alone “shall not be a defense.”

The penalties for breaking the proposed law would be imprisonment for no more than 10 years, a fine up to $10,000 or both.

If the sexual contact occurs by means of “therapeutic deception,” the bill calls for a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

Therapeutic deception, as defined in the bill, means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact is “consistent” with part of their patient’s treatment.

Richard said a local constituent brought the idea for the legislation to him, and the person is expected to testify during the regular session although the person was not prepared to be interviewed this week.

The legislation has been assigned to the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

Source: Jeremy Alford, “Bill examines psychotherapists’ sexual relationships with patients,” HoumaToday.com, April 6, 2013.

Study concludes that psychiatrists almost four times as likely to be sanctioned for sexual misconduct

The new analysis of a decade of discipline cases across Canada more than confirmed anecdotal evidence and a previous study that suggested a problem with psychiatry, said Dr. Chaim Bell of Toronto’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, who co-authored the paper.

Psychiatrists are twice as likely as other Canadian doctors to face professional discipline generally and almost four times as apt to be sanctioned for sexual misconduct, concludes a new study that underscores long-held concerns about the speciality.

Experts blame the problem in part on psychiatrists’ unusually close and long relationships with their patients, compared to surgeons and some other specialists who often have relatively brief contact with the people they treat.

Past research has suggested many of the wayward therapists may also be “lovesick,” middle-aged men in isolated practices who fall for younger women, the study notes.

Regardless, the new analysis of a decade of discipline cases across Canada more than confirmed anecdotal evidence and a previous study that suggested a problem with psychiatry, said Dr. Chaim Bell of Toronto’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, who co-authored the paper.

“This is surprising in how consistent it is across the various provinces, how consistent it is in different years, and how consistent it is with penalties and fines,” he said. “It’s also consistent with the sort of sensational, one-type anecdotal coverage you might get…. The [discipline case] that gets the front page is often the psychiatrist.”

Just this month, in fact, at least two psychiatrists have been in the news for sexual-abuse allegations. A London doctor under investigation by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons for allegedly masturbating and inappropriately videotaping female patients was charged by police with sexual assault and voyeurism. In Calgary, meanwhile, a psychiatrist is being tried on charges of sexually assaulting 10 male patients.

Dr. Bell, an internal-medicine specialist, stressed that it is still a small percentage of psychiatrists — about two per thousand — who get in trouble with their regulatory colleges. Given the “catastrophic” effect even rare cases of misconduct can have on patients and the public trust, however, psychiatry must do more to curb wrongdoing, the study’s authors say.

At the same time, the average psychiatrist who faced discipline over the 10-year study period had been practising for more than 30 years, perhaps reflecting a shrinking generation of practitioner, said Dr. Molyn Leszcz, Mt. Sinai’s chief of psychiatry.

Younger psychiatrists have been exposed to training on appropriate boundaries with patients, are more conscientious about their own emotional health and actually do their jobs differently, said Dr. Leszcz, who was not involved in the study. They are more likely to practise with groups of other doctors and spend less time in one-on-one psychotherapy sessions, he said.

“If you sit in your office and experience the kinds of strong feelings that get generated in psychotherapy all the time, in isolation, then it becomes harder to maintain professional perspective,” said Dr. Leszcz.

Still, the results from Dr. Bell’s study are “disappointing” in light of the measures taken to combat sexual abuse, said Dr. Donald Addington, chair of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

“This kind of report makes us think about ‘What more could be done?’ and at this point, we don’t have a particular new plan or direction,” said the University of Calgary professor.

Dr. Bell said the regulatory colleges in each province do little tracking themselves of trends in discipline, so he and his colleagues developed a database of physicians punished for wrongdoing from 2000 to 2009, a total of just over 600 cases.

Psychiatrists made up 14% of that number, twice their percentage in the medical profession, concluded the study, just published in the journal Plos One. They were 3.62 times more likely than other physicians to be found guilty of sexual abuse of patients, had 2.32 times more chance of being convicted of fraud-related discipline offences, and were three times as apt to be found guilty of unprofessional conduct, the paper said.

Little research has been done on psychiatrists who “violate boundaries” with patients, but one 1989 study suggested a small number are actually psychotic, a somewhat larger group show antisocial or exploitative behaviour, and the largest category are the “lovesick” — typically neurotic, socially isolated middle-aged men who fall for much younger patients.

A 1997 Canadian study that followed a group of new psychiatrists over time concluded that the two who were eventually convicted of sexual abusing patients had identifiable personality problems even while still in training.

That raises the “ethically challenging” prospect of screening medical students for sexually exploitative tendencies before they are assigned to specialty training, the new study noted.

It is simply unclear, meanwhile, why a disproportionate number of psychiatrists are found guilty of fraud-related discipline charges, he said.

Source: Tom Blackwell, “Psychiatrists four times as likely as other Canadian doctors to be disciplined for sexual misconduct: study,” National Post, December 6, 2012.

Yet another UK psych nurse is struck off for sex with a patient

A mental health nurse who started a sexual relationship with a patient in her care before bombarding him with texts when he broke it off has been struck off.

Deborah Boulton was said to have met a male patient and given him her mobile number, texted him messages saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I love you’.

The band 6 nurse’s actions fell ‘seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse’, a tribunal ruled, saying her ability to practice is impaired by reason of her misconduct.

She was said to have met the man, known as Patient A, at the Sutherland Centre, for people with poor mental health, in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, in early 2009.
Relationship: A tribunal heard Deborah Boulton had sex with one of her patients five times after meeting him at the Sutherland Centre in Stoke-on-Trent

Relationship: A tribunal heard Deborah Boulton had sex with one of her patients five times after meeting him at the Sutherland Centre in Stoke-on-Trent

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing was told Boulton gave the patient, who had previously been treated in hospital for an alleged overdose of diazepam and alcohol issues, her mobile number and texted him, telling him ‘I miss you’ and ‘I love you’.

During their relationship the pair had sex around five times: once in a hotel, once in his mother’s house and approximately three times in Boulton’s house.

The patient claimed when he tried to finish the relationship Boulton bombarded him with calls and texts until he destroyed his mobile phone to avoid contact from her.

The panel heard Boulton went on to take sick leave leading to her case load being re-allocated, which eventually resulted in claims of their relationship emerging.

The allegations came to light when Patient A attended a counselling session in August, where he suggested to a counsellor that he had suffered a relapse because of the relationship, the hearing was told.

Boulton was not present and not represented at the hearing in central London last week, but had denied the allegations.

The NMC Competence and Conduct Committee panel struck Boulton off, finding she breached professional boundaries by giving Patient A her phone number and instructing him to call her, and also found she had failed to maintain accurate records and failed to create a care plan for him.

The panel accepted evidence given by Patient A that Boulton left voicemail messages on his phone saying words to the effect of: ‘If you do not come and see me now then you will never see me again’, and ‘I will end the relationship and you will be alone because you will never see me again’.

It also found proved allegations that the Boulton took the patient to Frankie and Benny’s in Newtown, Stoke-on-Trent, between May and June 2009, and to dinner with a friend in May 2009, and also that she bought him alcohol on two occasions.

‘By placing her own needs above the needs of Patient A, Ms Boulton breached the fundamental tenets of the profession.’

The panel also found proved claims that the couple had sex on around May 12, 2009, in Patient A’s bedroom at his mother’s house in Longton; and that they stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Stoke-on-Trent near Britannia Stadium, where they also slept together.

It was also found proven that during May and/or June 2009, the pair had sex approximately three times at Boulton’s home.

Deciding whether the facts proved amounted to misconduct, the panel ruled Boulton’s actions fell ‘seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse and amounts to misconduct’.

Striking her off, it said her failings were ‘significant departures’ from the standards expected.

‘By placing her own needs above the needs of Patient A, Ms Boulton breached the fundamental tenets of the profession and the panel is of the view that to allow her to continue practising would fail to protect the public, and undermine public confidence in the profession and in the NMC as a regulatory body.’

An 18-month Interim Suspension Order was also put in place to allow for the possibility of an appeal. If Boulton does not appeal within 28 days, then the order will be replaced by the striking-off order.

Source: “Mental health nurse who had sex with patient then bombarded him with texts when he ended relationship is struck off,” Daily Mail Reporter, September 18, 2012.