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Judges uphold revocation of counselor’s license

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision to revoke a mental health counselor’s license after she developed a personal attachment to a patient and ignored the patient’s request to leave her alone.

Elaine Williams was a licensed mental health counselor when she treated Patient A, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. The evidence shows that Williams involved herself in Patient A’s personal life and continued to contact her despite Patient A’s requests to be left alone. In her emails to Patient A, Williams expressed her love for Patient A and the pain caused by Patient A’s rejection of her. Williams’ behavior caused Patient A to call the police twice, move away from her home, change her phone number, and change her email account. The situation with Williams was traumatic for Patient A and caused her to feel fear, according to the court record.

The Office of the Attorney General filed an administrative complaint against Williams, and in a hearing before the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board an AG investigator and Patient A testified. The board found that Williams had committed two violations under I.C. 25-1-9-4 and two violations under I.C.25-1-9-6.7, and revoked her license pursuant to Indiana Code section 25-1-9-9(a) (2001).

The trial court initially affirmed the board’s decision, but then reversed on Williams’ motion to correct error. Madison Circuit Judge Dennis Carroll was troubled with the board’s severe sanction of revocation, not with any determination that Williams’ conduct warranted a sanction. The judge found the board’s decision to be arbitrary and capricious and ordered with instructions to impose a lesser sanction or hold a new hearing.

In Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board, Kimble L. Richardson, George Brenner, Andrew Harner, Geneva Osawe, Rex Stockton, Carla Gaff-Clark, and The State of Indiana v. Elaine Williams, 48A05-1304-PL-185, the Court of Appeals affirmed the board’s decision, finding it afforded Williams fair proceedings and acted within its authority in revoking her license. The judges also held that the trial court improperly substituted its judgment for that of the board when it determined that revocation was too severe a sanction.

“We simply cannot conclude that the proceedings before the Board were unfair or that Williams was prejudiced,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote.
 

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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