It turns out Santa Barbara County’s Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services department might have more than just budget problems. Sheriff’s detectives arrested a former clinical psychologist employed by the department on November 9 on allegations that he sexually assaulted at least two patients, with the possibility that there may be a third victim.
According to Sgt. Erik Raney, detectives were first told about the 65-year-old doctor’s alleged behavior by a 44-year-old female on October 25. The woman, currently in County Jail on theft-related charges, contacted Jail Mental Health Services and said that the doctor had coerced her into a sexual relationship three years ago by threatening to have her put back in jail if she didn’t give in to his demands. The woman was the doctor’s patient three years ago at the county’s ADMHS department on Foster Road in Santa Maria. “According to the victim, she felt she had no choice but to comply, for fear of being sent back to jail,” Raney said in a news release. “She told detectives she was raped at the doctor’s office, as well as the victim’s home in Santa Maria,” and it continued for more than three years.
While investigating the woman’s allegations, another former patient with similar allegations was found. She told detectives she was propositioned for sex and physically accosted by the man, Raney said.
In addition, a third woman has come forward who authorities believe may also be a victim, and they believe there may be more. “It is apparent that [the doctor] has targeted Hispanic females with past abuse, mental health issues, and questionable legal status in the United States,” Raney said. “These victims are primarily afraid of reporting [the doctor] in fear of not being believed, being sent to jail, or deported.” All of the alleged victims are Spanish speakers only.
Authorities arrested the man at his Orcutt home, after hearing the allegations and gathering information and evidence. He was booked into County Jail on charges of rape while in a position of authority. He posted $100,000 bail and is awaiting his first court appearance.