State v. Mr. Z (DMC No. 13839) – (5 Counts) Felony Sexual Misconduct with Patient & (2 Counts) Attempted Sexual Misconduct with Patient – Reduced to Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor with Probation and Zero Days in Jail – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-005788).
Mr. Z. was employed by Terros as an Independent Licensed Counselor. He was treating a young lady who was a convicted felon. Her treatment was for alcoholism, addiction to pills, meth, and heroin. She also suffered from depression. Somewhere during the course of their counseling sessions, a sexual relationship developed. She eventually became married and then sought out a civil attorney and attempted to secretly tape Mr. Z in order to get admissions. She reported the conduct to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, and their Investigator interviewed Mr. Z.
Mr. Z. stated that he had colon cancer and could not achieve an erection. However, he did admit to developing a relationship which included oral sex and digital penetration. He was unaware that this was a violation of the law, as he thought it was only an ethical violation. He was subsequently charged with Sexual Misconduct with a Patient per ARS 13-1418(B).
We became involved in the case and we began defending the criminal allegations. We also entered into a Consent Decree with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners which included a revocation of Mr. Z’s license. We presented Mitigation to the prosecutor regarding the fact that his patient was an adult and they had a consensual relationship. It now appeared that she was trying to make it sound as if their relationship was nonconsensual in order to file a civil lawsuit. The Prosecutor agreed that the only violations were under ARS 13-1418(B), and an offer to a Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor plea was made. At Sentencing the judge imposed Probation with Zero Days in Jail. The judge also set a hearing for a year later to determine whether there would be Sex Offender Terms and whether the case could be designated as a Misdemeanor at that time. Originally, Mr. Z. was facing more than 11 years in prison if he were to be convicted on all charges and sentenced to the maximum.