Court Dismisses Appeal of Convicted Psychologist Joshua Popkin

November 28, 2018

A former Gillette psychologist who was sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting two patients has had his appeal dismissed by the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Joshua Popkin, 33, met the two patients while interning at Campbell County Health (CCH) in 2015 and went on to see them at his private practice.

One of the patients was seeking treatment for mental health issues related to a previous rape by an assailant elsewhere, according to court documents. After treating her at CCH, he saw her at his private practice, where he made increasingly sexual advances toward her. In June 2016, he had forced sex with her, court documents said.

Since the sexual assault, she has struggled with mental health issues. She can’t trust people anymore and is terrified of men and doctors.

“Even to this day, I still fear leaving my bedroom and often find myself hiding in the closet for long periods of time,” she said. “Most days I wake up thinking of any and every way to end my life.”

The other patient sought counseling for depression at CCH and also later saw Popkin at his private practice. In February 2016, Popkin had forced sex with her on two occasions, according to court documents. As part of a plea agreement, one of the two second-degree sexual assault charges in her case was dropped.

The psychologist made her feel guilty, embarrassed and ashamed, she said. It took nine months after the sexual assault for her to realize that he had manipulated and violated her.

Popkin was sentenced in January 2018 to two consecutive three- to five-year sentences for each count of second-degree sexual assault. He appealed the sentence in April.

Because of the criminal proceedings against him, the Wyoming Board of Psychology asked Popkin to surrender his license, and he is now unable to receive a license in any state. He must also register as a sex offender and pay $5,202 in restitution to the crime victims compensation fund.

Source: “Supreme Court dismisses former psychologist's appeal,” Gillette News Record, November 27, 2018; “Prison for psychologist who had sex with patients,” Gillette News Record, January 12, 2018; and “Psychologist appeals sexual assault conviction to Supreme Court,” Gillette News Record, April 6, 2018.


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