Heather Lynette Sinclair relays her story via xoJane on Huffington Post of a therapist who seemingly was helping her for a time, and then eventually sexually assaulted her. It turned out, she writes, that the therapist had previously been convicted and served time in prison for assaulting a child. “How did a violent convicted felon get a license to become a therapist?” asks Sinclair. She recounts how she has set out to change the laws.
“In November 2011, my therapist was reported to the board, but it wasn’t until July 2012 that the board allowed him to voluntarily surrender his license in lieu of criminal prosecution,” writes Sinclair. “I would never see justice. He would never face a jury and never spend one day in jail.”
“The reality is not many states actually require criminal background checks for all mental health professionals and none have a prohibition from violent felons, sex offenders, or anyone who surrendered or had a license revoked in another state for a crime of moral turpitude from getting a license in another state,” she adds. “State boards don’t communicate with one another and that makes it all too easy for professional predators to state-hop. I found others just like me who have been sexually abused by a mental health professional and they, too, were denied justice.”
For these reasons, Sinclair started Lynette’s Law. “It’s a two-bill package piece of legislation. One bill requires criminal background checks for all mental health professionals and the other criminalizes sexual exploitation in therapy. I passed HB 56, which required criminal background checks for mental health professionals in Maryland in 2013. I’m still fighting to pass the bill that criminalizes sexual exploitation in therapy in three states which mental health associations largely oppose.”
She invites contact at her website.
My Therapist Assaulted Me — And I Passed A Law To Keep It From Happening Again (xoJane, Huffington Post, January 25, 2015)