State suspends mental health counselor Robert D. Baize's license for sexual misconduct
March 24, 2009
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) issued a Final Order on licensed mental health counselor Robert D. Baize, suspending his license pending completion of requirements set forth by the DOH. According to the DOH’s documents, Mr. Baize began treating “Client A” in March 2007, for chemical dependency, following prosecution for DUI. Client A also was contending with an eating disorder, a pending divorce and low self-esteem related to her physical appearance. During one of her sessions, with Mr. Baize, he told her that she was beautiful or gorgeous. In July 2007, Baize notified the members of his chemical dependency counseling group (which included Client A) that he had taken another position elsewhere. He offered to stay in touch with the clients and collected their contact information. On July 18, 2007, Baize began sending e-mails and instant messages to Client A. He taught Client A how to activate the web cam feature on her messaging program, so that she could see him (he could not see her as she did not have a web cam). During one such session, Client A was on the telephone at the same time she was messaging with Baize and received distressing news from the caller, which caused her to end her messaging with Baize. However, neither actually took the steps to log off and fully disconnect the session, hence Client A could still see into Baize’s residence. Between the time they ended off and she returned to the computer, Baize had changed into biking shorts but had neglected to put on a shirt. This gave him the appearance of being naked over the web cam, which caused Client A sufficient distress that she fully ended the session. It was her last communication with him. She then filed a complaint with the DOH. In a message of August 2007, Baize wrote that he was concerned having not heard from Client A, and, in regard to their last web cam session, “[I] did not know how much you might have caught…. If your cam was still on, I hope you didn’t mind (actually if your was cam was still on and you were watching, I hope you rather liked what you saw!)” Mr. Baize is required to undergo a psychosexual evaluation and other conditions before he can request reinstatement.
(Amended Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, In the Matter of Robert D. Baize, Credential Nos. LH00005969 and CP00005724, Case nos. M2008-118318 and M2008-117154, State of Washington Department of Health, March 24, 2009.)
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