Dallas News reports that Dr. William Olmsted pleaded no-contest to charges of child molestation, and is still able to practice as a psychiatrist:
Editorial: Sex offender should not hold medical license
04:57 PM CDT on Monday, September 14, 2009
Few yardsticks in life are better than the headline test. Try it on this one: “Sex offender keeps license to practice psychiatry.”
It gets worse, as in: “Doctor’s offense involved a 10-year-old neighbor.”
To say that something is out of whack in state law is an understatement. The case involves Dr. William Olmsted, a child psychiatrist who pleaded no contest to a molestation charge in Dallas County but was able to skate past the State Medical Board with his license intact, albeit with restrictions.
Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, has vowed to look into the matter, and we’re encouraged that he will. Those who have a state license to treat people at their most vulnerable must be beyond reproach. Those listed on the state’s sex-offender registry could not fit into that category.
State law should be tightened up so future Olmsted-like cases don’t fall between the cracks of separate state codes governing criminal, licensing and administrative law. By the time the State Medical Board got the Olmsted matter, it was six years old and involved a sentence of deferred adjudication – probation, essentially.
The age of the case and absence of a guilty verdict did not permit the board to immediately suspend Olmsted’s license. Pursuing revocation could have involved proceedings lasting as long as two years before a separate state hearing agency, and all the while the doctor could have continued to practice as a child psychiatrist.
The deal cut with Olmsted involves treatment and a fine, but it let him keep his medical license with the restriction that he treats only adult males in group or institutional settings. The fact that he has any kind of professional license at all leaves us aghast, but not nearly to the level as the psychiatrist’s victim and her family.
Changes in state law might seek to insert deferred adjudication as a license-suspension trigger, or cases involving sex offenses may need to be expedited through the hearing process. We’ll watch Carona’s conclusions with interest as he looks for ways to bring sense to the licensing process.
The spirit of his inquiry ought to be driven by the determination to hold state-licensed physicians to the highest standard in Texas.
An earlier press released from the Citizens Commission On Human Rights, a mental health watchdog group, includes this dramatic statement:
“A 1998 review of U.S. medical board actions against 761 physicians disciplined for sex-related offenses found that while psychiatrists and child psychiatrists account for only 6% of physicians in the country, they comprised 28% of perpetrators disciplined for sex-related offenses.”
Question for readers:
Do you believe a psychiatrist already convicted of sexual abuse should be allowed to retain their license and continue to practice?
Also see Child Psychiatrist Is A Child Rapist, Keeps License on Open Salon for more comments.
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