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How Did Fla. Therapist Accused of S&M with Patient Obtain Medical License in Va.?

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Before he moved to Virginia, 53-year-old Adam Glatt was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activities—including bondage, domination and whipping—with a former patient in Florida. Before he moved to Virginia, 53-year-old Adam Glatt was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activities—including bondage, domination and whipping—with a former patient in Florida.
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WRIC) - Earlier this month, ABC 8News first brought you the story of Adam Glatt, a Midlothian mental health counselor who was stripped of his license in Virginia after allegations of sexual misconduct with a patient.

Before he moved to Virginia, the 53-year-old therapist was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activities—including bondage, domination and whipping—with a former patient in Florida, where he voluntarily relinquished his license on April 28.

Despite these allegations dating back to 2012, Glatt had been practicing in Virginia for the past two years before his license was finally suspended by the Virginia Department of Health Professions on May 1, 2014.

The big question is how did Glatt ever get a license here in the Commonwealth after what allegedly happened in Florida?

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Feeling lost and alone after the death of her son, the woman who we are calling "Mary Jane" to protect her identity, says she began seeking counseling from Adam Glatt in Florida. But soon those counseling sessions turned sexual.

"I was feeling depressed and overwhelmed," she says. "I trusted him."  

According to a complaint filed by Mary Jane, Glatt began discussing his "role in bondage domination and sado masochism, a BDSM lifestyle. Mary Jane claims she and the counselor began a sexual relationship, attended BDSM events and on one occasion, Mary Jane alleges Glatt "flogged" or whipped her.

Eventually realizing this counselor patient relationship was wrong, she filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Health back in 2012 and Glatt took off to Chesterfield.

It wasn't until April 25, 2014 that Florida did anything about it. The Florida Board of Mental Health Counseling accepted his decision to voluntarily give up his license in lieu of disciplinary action.

Working on a joint investigation with our sister station WFLA in Tampa, we saw what happens when Florida board members are pressed for answers as to why they sat on the complaint for so long?

Mary Bridgman, Florida Board of Mental Health Counseling: "I don't have any further comment on the matter. We've handled it today and we've done our very best to protect the public's matter in the case."

Reporter: "But how is it Virginia is being protected by you when you had this case open since 2012 and he has been practicing in Virginia since 2012?" 

Bridgman: "It's concluded now and I have no further comment."

And while that complaint had already been filed when Glatt got a license to counsel in Virginia, it wasn't until 12 days ago that the Virginia Board of Health Professions suspended Glatt's license.

"That happens almost all the time," says Dr. David Stein, a member of the International Board of Ethics in Psychology and Psychiatry.

He says there is a verification process when counselors from another state seek a license in Virginia, but often no one is doing a thorough background check and checking for complaints in other states.

"It's called linkage blindness and we don't share information," Stein says. "Laws have to change and it has to be a more centralized database."

We asked the Virginia Department of Health Professions if they had ever talked with Florida about Glatt or if that complaint showed up in the verification process before they granted him a license.

Our request for an interview was denied and we were told "under law, health regulatory boards cannot give the appearance of providing commentary regarding disciplinary action taken against a licensee."

So how do you protect yourself? Stein says choose a therapist who's been recommended by others.

And while it's normal for a counselor to ask questions about your sex life, if they continue to press the issue, touch you or invite you out, stop seeing them immediately and report them.

You can file a complaint against a counselor online at the Virginia Department of Health Profession's website. You can also check the license look-up to see if any disciplinary action has been taking against your counselor.

But again pointing to that flaw in our system where states don't always share information, in the case of Glatt, nothing was posted about his Florida complaint until May 2 of this year.

Glatt's attorney says his client denies ever conducting himself inappropriately during therapy. He says Glatt plans appeal Virginia's decision to suspend his license.


Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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