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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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