Oregon Psychologist Erin C. Moran Sued for $10 Million for Sex with 20-Year-Old Patient

September 30, 2019

He started seeing a psychologist after he tried to kill himself with a gun while immersed in the depths of bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and insomnia.

He was 20. His psychologist was more than twice age, in her 40s, and married with two school-age children.

Over the course of more than a year, she took him on long walks in Forest Park, held hands, kissed, met him in hotels and became sexually intimate with him. Their inappropriate relationship spilled out into public view when she broke up with him -- and he soon showed up at her Lake Oswego home, unwelcome, and squeezed her neck until she struggled to breathe.

That’s according to court records and a $10 million lawsuit that the young man, Roland Lester Jr., and his mother filed against his former psychologist, Erin Cook Moran. Much of that also is according to a disciplinary order filed by the Oregon Board of Psychology and signed by Moran that revoked her professional license.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

The suit also lists as defendants some of Moran’s co-workers and Moran’s employer, the Portland Autism Center in Tigard, for allegedly failing to intervene as Moran treated Lester and violated professional boundaries, such as driving him to nature parks in her personal car, according to the suit.

The Oregonian/OregonLive couldn’t reach Moran for comment. Portland attorney Rod Norton -- who is representing the Portland Autism Center and employees, but not Moran -- declined to comment because of the active litigation.

The lawsuit doesn’t say whether Lester has autism.

The suit says Moran began treating Lester in September 2016, and he sought treatment elsewhere for the first part of 2017. In October 2017, Moran transferred Lester’s care to a co-worker who was a psychiatrist, and the next day Moran “met Lester to express her romantic feelings for him,” according to the suit. The suit states that after that, “Lester and Moran began having sexual intercourse.”

The sexual relationship lasted until March 13, 2018, the suit says, when Moran broke it off after Lester told his psychiatrist at the Portland Autism Center that he and Moran were sexually intimate.

The suit says the psychiatrist immediately ended his treatment of Lester without connecting him to a new psychiatrist, and Lester ended up running out of his prescription medications because he couldn’t get a refill and his existing supply was stored at Moran’s house.

According to the suit, that caused Lester to have a mental health breakdown and -- about a week after the breakup -- show up at to Moran’s home and choked her. Lester was convicted of burglary and strangulation, and sentenced to 15 days in jail and five years of probation, according to court records.

After Lester’s arrest, the Board of Psychology began investigating Moran. It ultimately found that Moran violated rules barring “immoral or unprofessional conduct or ... gross negligence in the practice of psychology.” The board determined that the “sexual intimacies” occurred while Lester was a client and after Moran dropped him as a client.

The board also found Moran took “advantage of her position of power as a therapist and adult authority figure in regard to a much younger, sexually naive client who presented with serious mental health disorders ... for her own prurient interests.”

In addition to revoking her license, the board ordered Moran to pay a civil penalty of $60,000. The board allowed for Moran to apply for a license again in two years.

After Lester’s arrest, Moran and her husband also filed for divorce.

The suit seeks $8 million for Lester for his “permanent mental and emotional injury” and other noneconomic damages. The suit seeks $2 million in noneconomic damages to Lester’s mother, Tosha Anderson.

Newport attorneys William Barton and Brent Barton are representing Lester and his mother. Lester, given his psychological status, also is represented by a conservator in the lawsuit.

Source: “Portland-area psychologist sued for $10 million after having sexual relationship with young adult patient,” The Oregonian, September 27, 2019. URL: https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/09/portland-area-psychologist-sued-for-10-million-after-having-sexual-relationship-with-young-adult-patient.html


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