Psychologist John William Visher arrested on charge of sex crime with 8-year-old; lawsuit
October 29, 2012
SANTA CRUZ -- A civil lawsuit has been filed against a Capitola psychologist who is facing criminal charges of sexual abuse against a child.
Dr. John William Visher was arrested last month at his La Selva Beach home after Capitola police investigated allegations that he committed lewd acts against an 8-year-old girl. The girl had been his patient and detectives believe the incidents occurred at Visher's former Bay Avenue office in 2009.
Last week, the girl's family filed a personal injury suit against Visher in the civil divisions of Santa Cruz County Court. It charges him with sexual harassment, professional negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks unspecified damages.
Visher pleaded not guilty on Oct. 9 to five felony charges that include lewd acts upon a child, sending obscene material and possession of material depicting a minor engaging in sexual conduct. He is due back in court Nov. 14.
The family is being represented in their civil suit by attorney and psychologist Joseph C. George.Capitola police detective Sarah Ryan said earlier this month that the alleged acts against the girl were first reported in January but the investigation was complicated by doctor-patient privilege issues.
Ryan said her continued investigation has uncovered complaints about abuse of two boys who were ages 6 and 10 at the time. Ryan has re-interviewed the boys and her investigation into those incidents is ongoing.
"While Ms. Doe is very sad that her daughter was abused by the defendant after two minor patients had previously been harmed by Dr. Bill, she is also extremely grateful to law enforcement officials who investigated this case against a trusted, child psychologist who has treated Santa Cruz area kids for 30 years," George said.
Visher's license to practice psychology was suspended by the California Board of Psychology on Sept. 24 after his arrest on those charges. He was first licensed to practice psychology in the state in August 1982 and has no prior administrative citations or disciplinary actions on record with the agency.He has posted bail and is no longer in custody.
Capitola police urge anyone with more information to contact the department at 475-4242 and ask to speak with a detective.
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