Tag Archives: psychologist

New Jersey prison psychologist under investigation by state for affair with patient

In late June 2010, it was reported that Natalie Barone, a psychologist and administrator of psychological services with the state of New Jersey’s civil commitment program (which incarcerated sex offenders considered to dangerous to release following their prison sentences) is under investigation by the New Jersey State Board of Psychology the on allegations of having had an affair with a patient—an inmate of one of the sex offender “special treatment units” in Avenel, New Jersey.  In June 2009, an off-duty corrections department security officer spotted Barone, who had provided one-on-one counseling to the inmate (who had been convicted of sexual assault of two teenage girls), walking together on a boardwalk on the Jersey Shore, prompting a report which resulted in an internal investigation and Barone’s suspension.  She attempted to resign but was terminated from her position in the Department of Corrections.  It was further reported that she closed her private practice and left the state for Pennsylvania, where she had earlier been granted a license to practice.  If the she loses her New Jersey license, she will likely lose her Pennsylvania license as well.

Source: Chris Megerian, “N.J. psychologist fired, faces loss of license after alleged relationship with sex offender patient,” The Newark Ledger, July 1, 2010.

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Psychologist Michelle Mair suspended by Australian tribunal for sexual affair with patient

A PSYCHOLOGIST who started an affair with a brain-damaged child killer she had treated because she believed her feelings would be the ”best therapy” will be allowed to practise again in nine months.

Suspending Ms Mair until next February, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal noted ”that in some circumstances, it may be appropriate for a psychologist to have a personal and sexual relationship with an ex-client”, but that it should not start until at least two years after therapy ends.

// Ms Mair confessed to the affair 2½ years after it began because she was forced to report her former lover to police for stalking.

While Ms Mair has continued to work for Corrections Victoria since admitting the affair, a spokeswoman last night said her ”ongoing employment will be examined in light of the court’s decision”.

Dr Ian Freckelton, SC, for the Psychologists Registration Board, had argued Ms Mair’s registration should be cancelled, but the tribunal ruled otherwise.

Ms Mair began treating the killer, who was on parole, in 2005 and eventually stopped resisting him holding her hand in therapy. In January 2006, she stopped treating him. The following month – knowing he was diagnosed with a brain injury and post-traumatic stress – she drove to his house and told him she also had feelings for him.

She told the tribunal she was looking for love and had developed a rescue fantasy that her feelings ”would have the most therapeutic value for him”.

She left the man in April 2006 after he became violent. A week later, he was jailed again. Two days after he was released, she had sex with him because she was scared what might happen if she did not.

The tribunal found Ms Mair had engaged in ”unprofessional conduct of a serious nature” and ordered her to continue seeing a psychologist for a year. When she resumes practising, she must be supervised for at least two years.

Source: Selma Milovanovic, “Psychologist’s licence suspended for affair with killer,” The Age, May 6, 2010.

Psychologist David A. Zoll suspended by state board for sex with former patient

On January 21, 2010, the Virginia Board of Psychology suspended the license of psychologist David A. Zoll for a period of no less than 18 months for a violations of state Regulations Govern the Practice of Psychology.

The Board’s document states that Zoll began a sexual relationship with a former patient in November 2007, following the termination of the therapeutic relationship with the patient, who had been his client for more than six years and who had a history of sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, stress and marital issues.

Zoll testified in his hearing that he chose to enter into the relationship with the former client despite having legal knowledge of the prohibition and the possible consequences.

Source: Order In Re: David A. Zoll, Ph.D., License No. 0810-001462, Case No. 123156, Before the Virginia Board of Psychology, filed January 21, 2010.

Judge orders psychologist Michael Degileo to trial on charges of sex crime against patient

A psychologist from Carbon County faced the woman Friday who said she was forced to preform a sex act on him.

A magisterial district judge decided there was enough evidence against Michael Degileo to face trial.

“It wasn’t a surprise. The burden at a preliminary hearing is lower than at trial but we got what we needed, was a look at the alleged victim and see how she testified and heard her testimony,” said defense attorney John Waldron.

The 40-year-old mother from Lehighton testified she suffered a nervous breakdown, was depressed and had suicidal thoughts when a mental hospital referred her to psychologist Degileo for treatment.

The woman testified during an office visit Degileo kissed her, told her he loved women and sex and forced her to preform a sex act on him.

“She was claiming these things happened and I took the position today, if they did happen she consented,” said Waldron. He added it’s not a question of whether or not Degileo crossed the professional line. He explained that is a different issue and it’s not criminal.

Prosecutors would not talk publicly about their case.

Michael Degileo’s next appearance will be in May at the Carbon County courthouse. He has surrendered his license to practice and a decision on whether he will ever be able to practice will be decided after the court case.

Source: Bob Reynolds, “Psychologist Ordered to Trial for Sex Crimes,” WNEP-TV 16 (Moosic, Pennsylvania), April 9, 2010.

Board suspends psychologist Michael Streppa on charge of “abusive” and “dangerous” sexual relationship with patient

Officials with the state psychology board have suspended a Morganton psychologist’s license.

He is accused of having a sexual relationship with a patient.

The North Carolina Psychology Board suspended Michael Streppa’s license on March 9, said Martha Storie, the board’s executive director, and he is not allowed to practice as a psychologist while his license is suspended.

The board received two complaints against Streppa, 45, that allege he “engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient” over the course of about two years.

The patient is not named in the board’s order of summary suspension or in a letter it sent to Streppa.

The letter from Storie and the board, dated April 1, says Streppa started treating the patient in 2004 when she was 16 years old, but an intimate relationship didn’t begin until June 2008. By that time, the patient was 21 years old.

The letter says Streppa terminated the patient’s treatment on April 27, 2009. According to the order of summary suspension, the intimate relationship continued until the patient was hospitalized in February.

The letter states, “The sexually intimate relationship between you and patient X, which was abusive in nature, also included dangerous situations that you participated in with patient X, involving individuals that were not known by you or patient X, are all documented in electronic mail correspondence.”

The patient was hospitalized on Feb. 15, the letter says, and told hospital staff about the relationship with Streppa.

Staff psychologists and the state psychology board’s investigators met with Streppa on March 5, but he refused to be interviewed, according to the board’s letter.

It details the state statutes and ethical standards the board believes he violated, including a prohibition against engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient.

Based on the complaints and Streppa’s unwillingness to respond to the board’s investigation, “the board finds that the public health, safety and welfare require that the board take emergency action” to suspend Streppa’s license.

Streppa resigned on March 12 from Broughton Hospital, where he served as a senior psychologist 1, said Mark Van Sciver, a spokesman for the state. Streppa started at Broughton on Dec. 12, 1998. Van Sciver said Broughton has no complaints or investigations against Streppa.

Storie said the alleged relationship developed through Streppa’s private practice.

The state first licensed Streppa on April 30, 1997. Storie said Streppa has not been the object of any board actions in the past.

Streppa may answer the allegations against him during a hearing expected to occur during the state psychology board’s meeting May 5-7 in Greensboro. Streppa or the board has the right to request a postponement of the hearing, Storie said, but the suspension would remain in effect.

Streppa also could negotiate a consent order with the board before the hearing, Storie said. Both parties have to agree on a consent order. She said such an order could result in anything from dismissing the charges against Streppa to revoking his license.

After the hearing, the board will issue a final decision regarding the allegations, the board’s letter says.
Numerous efforts by The News Herald to reach Streppa for comment were unsuccessful.

Source: “Board suspends psychologist’s license,” The News Herald, April 9, 2010.

“Top” UK psychologist Malcolm Cross “offered male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself at meeting”

A distinguished psychologist offered a married male colleague sex and threatened to expose himself during a drunken meal with staff, it was alleged today.

Malcolm Cross confessed his love to Owen Hughes and attempted to put his arm round him as they dined.

When his advances were spurned, Cross touched himself in the crotch and threatened to expose himself, the Health Professions Council hearing was told.

He also flirted with waiters and rubbed the upper thigh of another man as his shocked wife looked on, it was claimed.

Dr Cross, a dean at London’s City University,  makes frequent media appearances on BBC and boasts on his website of his ‘warm, vibrant and understanding personality.’

He also claims to appreciate the real concerns facing people today, especially ‘those affected by issues of sexuality.’

But he faces being struck off the register practitioner psychologists over his alleged behaviour at a meeting he was due to lead to discuss the accreditation of PHD students at the University of West of England in Bristol last June.

A ‘very drunk’ Cross arrived late unsteady on his feet and slurring his speech, the hearing was told.

He showed no interest what was being discussed by his four colleagues and instead urged to them go for a drink.

The meeting ended early because of his state and the group took a taxi to the Glass Boat restaurant where Cross continued to drink.

As Cross got drunker he flirted with waiting staff and launched into a rambling account of his troubled love life, Mr Hughes told the hearing.

‘He said he had been unfaithful to his current partner and admitted to a lot of inappropriate sexual behaviour that he was not proud about.

‘I tried to be understanding, but then he started telling me that he loved me.’

Cross repeatedly asked Mr Hughes to kiss him and eventually stood up and tried to plant a kiss on him from across the table.

Mr Hughes, who is a father, managed to rebuff him, but Cross then offered him oral sex.

‘The way he put it made me in no doubt as to his seriousness about it,’ Mr Hughes said.

‘He had no reason to think that I was anything other than heterosexual. It made me feel very uncomfortable. It was clear that his behaviour was unprofessional and I asked him to stop.’

But Cross also attempted to kiss Mr Perrett and rubbed his inner thigh.

Simon Perrett, another member of their group, attempted to laugh his behaviour off, but his wife who was also at the dinner was ‘not amused’, the hearing was told.

Another diner, Molly Ross from the British Psychological Society, said Cross also threatened to expose himself and asked Mr Hughes to do the same.

Dr Cross also picked on Miss Ross throughout the night accusing her being a ‘spoil sport’ because she was concerned about the amount being drunk.

The following morning, Cross smelt of ‘vomit and stale alcohol,’ but was still able to fulfil his role at the accreditation of students, the hearing was told.

Australian born Cross is chartered as a Counselling Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and is registered as such with the UK Health Professions Council.

He is a regular contributor to radio programmes including BBC London’s Late Show and  BBC 94.9FM’s and has appeared on Radio 4’s Last Word and BBC Radio Five Live.

His page on City University website claims: ‘Malcolm has consistently charmed and advised clients, colleagues and students alike with his sense of humour and ability to translate complicated psychological concepts into easy to understand language.’

Cross denies misconduct or that his fitness to practice is impaired.

The hearing continues.