Massachusetts school psychologist on leave after report of prior license revocation for sex with patient

May 23, 2011

The Grafton High School psychologist is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a state investigation following a report that his state license to practice clinical psychology was revoked two years ago for allegedly having sex with a 24-year-old female patient a decade ago.

Michael Sefton, a Shrewsbury resident, is not accused of any misconduct with students in Grafton.

However, a WBZ-TV report last week revealed that Mr. Sefton's license was revoked by the state Division of Professional Licensure in 2008 for the sexual relationship he had with the female patient in 1998 and 1999.

Mr. Sefton was hired as high school psychologist in 2009.

“He currently holds an appropriate license to do the job he is doing here,” Superintendent Joseph Connors said. That license, Mr. Connors said, is a school pyschologist's license issued by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and that license is still in good standing.

The license that was revoked by the state was a clinical counseling license. Dr. Sefton is a diagnostician at the high school and does not provide counseling services.

Mr. Connors said the school department is monitoring the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education's investigation into the matter.

“(Dr. Sefton) has not made any statements that were inaccurate to us, nor to the DESE, to my knowledge,” Mr. Connors said. Mr. Connors said that before hiring Dr. Sefton, a thorough background check was completed. Dr. Sefton has not been criminally charged, therefore the prior matter would not have shown up in a criminal history check.

“He's had favorable evaluations for as long as he's been here,” Mr. Connors said.

Dr. Sefton is listed as a lecturer in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology 2010-2012 catalog. Dr. Sefton has worked on a semester-long contract at Assumption College. His contract ended with the spring semester.

"We have no contract plants for him in the fall," Renee Buisson, director of Public Affairs at Assumption College, said yesterday, adding that the college was aware of the televised news report.

Source: Donna Boynton, "Grafton school psychologist on leave pending probe," Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Monday, May 23, 2011.


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