Michigan psychologist Robert McIntyre convicted of criminal sexual conduct with young girl
December 16, 2010
On December 13, 2010, Michigan psychologist Robert McIntyre was convicted on three counts of criminal sexual conduct and two misdemeanor charges of giving alcohol to two teenage girls.
Investigators say McIntyre, who works at Bridgman Psychological Services, had sexual contact with a teenage girl he was counseling.
Although she was old enough to consent to sex, State Law prohibits such contact between doctors and patients.
He denied the contact on the stand, stating the patient and her mother made up the story and their claims lacked evidence.
The former patient, a now-18-year-old girl of psychologist Robert McIntyre testified Wednesday that she had a sexual relationship with him that lasted for months in 2009 while he was counseling her.
McIntyre's lawyer, Tat Parish, offered a radically different view in comments to the jury. He said the young woman was an "extremely emotional child" who fabricated the story of having sex with McIntyre.
The young woman, who testified in the second day of McIntyre's trial on criminal sexual conduct charges, said she sought help from McIntyre because of problems at home. She said the relationship was professional at first but became more of a friendship and eventually led to sex.
Questioned by Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Travis, the witness said she liked the 58-year-old McIntyre because he was older.
"I thought I could trust him," she said. "So I put myself out there."
McIntyre denies any wrongdoing, asserting that the woman made up her story of sexual contact.
The woman testified that, after seeing a different psychologist initially, her mother allowed her to switch to McIntyre in January or February 2009, and he counseled her at his office at Bridgman Psychological Services, 7889 Red Arrow Highway, Stevensville.
The relationship changed from conventional counseling to "laid back," she said. McIntyre had her call him Rob, and he spent time with her away from the office teaching guitar and in other activities, she testified.
Eventually, the counseling talks led to kissing and then sex, according to her testimony. The young woman told the jury they engaged in sex about seven times, usually at his office but once at her home while her parents were at work.
She said McIntyre picked her up at her house on occasion, and she described how she became intoxicated drinking liquor he bought for her.
Their first sexual contact occurred after McIntyre picked her up at her residence around 8 p.m., supposedly for a guitar lesson, testimony showed.
After stopping at a store to buy liquor, they drove to McIntyre's office, the witness said, where she had some drinks and, after talking, they had sex. She said he later dropped her off at home.
The young woman told the jury that she and a girlfriend smoked marijuana one night in McIntyre's office after he brought them there.
According to her testimony, the woman's parents broke off her contact with McIntyre in October 2009 after several incidents.
On one occasion her mother caught her coming home drunk, she said, and another time her parents found it inappropriate when she sat on McIntyre's lap while he was at their home.
McIntyre is on trial for three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (contact) and two misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The age of consent for sex is 16 in Michigan, but it is illegal under state law for a mental health professional to have sexual contact with a patient or client who is receiving treatment or has had services with the counselor within two years.
The trial in Judge Sterling Schrock's courtroom began Monday. Jury selection was completed Tuesday morning, and the alleged victim was the first prosecution witness to testify. The trial was to continue today.
Defense attacks story
In his opening statement, defense lawyer Parish told the jury that McIntyre will testify.
Parish said the psychologist's profession makes him vulnerable to false accusations, especially because he is a proactive professional who goes "above and beyond" to help his patients.
Parish told the jury that the alleged victim is an "extremely emotional child" who had a lot of problems at home and in school, and that she invented the story of a sexual relationship with McIntyre.
McIntyre does not drink, Parish said, and people were living in the office building at the time the alleged contact was going on.
Parish said there is no confession and that no DNA evidence was recovered from the couch in McIntyre's office, allegedly the place where the sexual activity took place.
"He will testify that on many occasions she propositioned him and he turned her down," Parish said.
Source: Scott Aiken, "Victim, defense stories starkly different in McIntyre case," Herald-Palladium, December 9, 2010 and Sarah Rodts, "Bridgman psychologist convicted of five sex charges," WNDU-TV, December 14, 2010.
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