Michigan Psychologist Melvin Hoberman Suspended and Fined for Sexual Conduct with Patient

October 28, 2022

On April 2, 2021, the Michigan Board of Psychology suspended the license of psychologist Melvin Hoberman for one year and fined him $1,000.

This was the final result of a case which the Board brought against Hoberman in February 2020, when it charged him with negligence, incompetence, lack of good moral character, and unprofessional conduct for engaging in sexual conduct with a patient or providing therapy services in exchange for sexual favors.

The Board’s Administrative Complaint against Hoberman contains the following:


In 1981, Hoberman treated a female patient named J.R., who was 17 years old at the time, and who recently had attempted suicide. J.R. has recently come forward with information regarding her experiences with Hoberman, saying she wanted to spare others who were undergoing trauma similar to what she experienced.

In his first session with J.R., Hoberman asked her why she had attempted suicide and asked her questions about her sexual activity. Hoberman told J.R. that be wanted to hypnotize her, but she declined, she said, because Hoberman "gave her a creepy vibe."

In subsequent sessions, Hoberman would sit next to J.R. on a couch in his office, and would place J.R.'s hand on his penis over his pants, and use her band to rub his erect penis. He would also fondle her breasts over her shirt.

At the outset of sessions, Hoberman would hug and kiss J.R. on the neck.

At the end of one therapy session, Hoberman kissed J.R. and began to rub her buttocks.

On another occasion, Hoberman pulled a $20 bill from J.R.'s back pocket and asked her if she would like to make more money.

J.R. says that she did not resist Hoberman or tell anyone about his conduct at the time because she was "an emotionally wrecked 17-year-old" who was "intimidated" by Hoberman because be held a "position of authority."

Some years later, J.R. attempted to make a report about Hoberman to state authorities, who told her that nothing could be done because too much time had passed.

Eventually J.R. published a Facebook post about Hoberman, which came to the attention of J.M.., another former patient of Hoberman, who mentioned it to state investigators in the course of the investigation of her complaint against him. An investigator then interviewed J.R.

Hoberman provided therapy J.M. from February 2014 through October 2018.

In the course of providing therapy to J.M., Hoberman inappropriately crossed professional boundaries with her in pursuit of a personal, romantic, and sexual relationship. Among the particulars of Hoberman's conduct toward J.M. are the following:

  • Telling her that African-American men like her boyfriend do not know how to treat women properly, whereas Jewish men like himself treat "their women" like "queens."
  • Giving her large amounts of money on a number of occasions, including a check for her condominium deposit, seven thousand dollars to furnish her condominium, paying for her car repairs, and giving her several hundred dollars for hairdressing and fashion show tickets, and compensating her for days when she missed work. 
  • Booking a hotel room for J.M. and her young daughter, and coming to the hotel room, where he attempted to initiate sexual intercourse. J.M. declined, but did permit him to massage her feet, which he did for the sake of sexual gratification. 
  • Unwanted touching, including kissing and touching of J.M.'s vagina. 
  • Admitting to police who interviewed him after he suffered an assault (in which J.M. and her boyfriend were implicated) that he was attracted to J.M., that he had hoped that their relationship would become intimate, and that he had paid money to her.

While providing therapy to J.M., Hoberman was simultaneously providing therapy to her boyfriend, whose initials are E.T.V.

On information and belief, Hoberman never sought a waiver from either J.M. or E.T.V. for any conflict of interest that might arise due to his providing therapy to both of them.

For Hoberman to seek to convince J.M. to break up with E.T.V. and to form a relationship with himself instead, was a conflict of interest.

The Board’s document also states, as background information, that Hoberman was previously disciplined by a final order entered on January 23, 2003, in two cases that involved allegations of, among other things, developing a personal relationship with a married patient.

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Psychcrime note: E.T.V. and J.M. were later identified in news stories as Emmanuel Vaughn and Jasmine Moore, both former patients of Hoberman. Both Vaughn and Moore were criminally charged for the assault of Hoberman, in which he was stabbed 16 times. Vaughn was convicted of felonious assault and sentenced in July 2019 to one-to-four years in prison. Moore was convicted of being Accessory After the Fact to a Felony and was sentenced in May 2019 to 24 months’ probation.

The media stories about the criminal case fail to mention that Moore and Vaughn, who were receiving counseling from Hoberman separately, were a couple. Media also failed to mention what the Michigan Board of Psychology later revealed: that Hoberman was making sexual advances on Moore and suggesting she leave Vaughn.

Source: Final Order in the Matter of Melvin Hoberman, LLP, License no. 63-61-001441, Docket no. 20-004931, File no. 63-19-155735, State of Michigan Dept, of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Professional Licensing, Board of Psychology, April 2, 2021 and “Every hit, punch, shove and stab," psychologist recounts assault at attacker's sentence,” Fox 2 News Detroit, July 1, 2019, URL: https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/every-hit-punch-shove-and-stab-psychologist-recounts-assault-at-attackers-sentence   


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