Psychologist Michael Walczak suspended for sex with patient's mother

November 27, 2011

A Margate (Florida) psychologist has had his license suspended and must undergo treatment as a result of allegations that he had an improper sexual relationship with the mother of a 16-year-old patient.

In May 2009, a Broward civil jury ordered that Dr. Michael Walczak pay the woman, Pam Gustin, nearly a half-million dollars over the same matter.

Gustin, 53, said the mental-health professional enticed her into a nearly two-year sexual relationship, then dumped her, leaving her suicidal and psychologically scarred.

Walczak, 61, who practiced in Margate and lives in Boca Raton, denied the sex allegations at trial. They were friends until Gustin expressed deeper feelings, he said. Upon rejection, she went into a tailspin and then set out to ruin him, he said.

A licensed psychologist since 1983, Walczak's practice included patients referred to him by the courts.

Walczak "neither admits nor denies the factual allegations" under the terms of a settlement agreement with the state Board of Psychology.

But at an Oct. 14 board hearing, he said "I would like to publicly apologize to Pam for any problems I caused her."

Walczak agreed to immediate suspension of his license and a professional evaluation, according to a Nov. 14 final order issued by the board.

The evaluation, conducted in September, deemed Walczak "unsafe to practice" and he was referred to an in-patient treatment center for sexual boundary issues, according to an audio recording of the hearing.

After treatment, Walczak will be re-evaluated and the board will decide whether to reinstate his license.

Gustin first took her son to Walczak in February 2002. By that summer, she said, she and Walczak had begun a romance that overlapped with her son's treatment.

It's a shame that a doctor that I went to for help took advantage of me when I was at a very low point in my life," Gustin said Friday. "I'm getting on with my life, but I will certainly be at the next Board of Psychology meeting, I don't care if it's in one year or five years. I'm going to make sure he never practices again."

Source: Tonya Alanez, "Margate psychologist's license suspended over sexual relationship allegations," Sun Sentinel, November 26, 2011.


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