CA Psychology Board Charges Davis Psychologist Emily Katonah Hartley for Sex with a Patient

February 7, 2023

On December 13, 2022, the California Board of Psychology issued a former Accusation against Woodland, CA psychologist Emily Katonah Hartley for sexual relations with a patient; and other ethical violations stemming from engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient.

The Board’s document states the following:

Hartley is a licensed psychologist, who has maintained a private practice in Davis, California for approximately the past eight years. Between February and April of 2021, the Board received multiple complaints from members of the public that Hartley has been having a relationship outside of therapy with a patient since approximately November of 2019.

One of the complaints stated that the complaining party believed the therapy began in approximately 2014, and the outside relationship became romantic and sexual in nature either during or shortly before termination of the therapist-patient relationship.

Investigators working on behalf of the Board began investigating these complaints and learned that a patient had in fact been a therapy patient of Hartley since at least 2019, and ended the therapist relationship at some point before May of 2021.

Board investigators interviewed Hartley in approximately May of 2021. Board investigators asked Hartley if she had a sexual relationship with a patient, and she responded that she did not. During the interview, Hartley declined to state whether the patient which investigators had identified was a therapy patient of hers, citing patient confidentiality. When Board investigators asked her whether the patient was a friend or had any relationship with her outside of a therapy relationship, she responded that he had not. Hartley denied to investigators that she had ever had a sexual relationship with a patient.

Board investigators then interviewed the patient on or about May 17, 2021. During this interview, the patient confirmed that he did have a therapist-patient relationship with Hartley. He stated that he began receiving therapy from Hartley in 2019, but has since ended the therapist relationship with her. When asked to release his therapy records with Hartley, he initially agreed and signed a release. After he signed the release, but before Hartley’s deadline to provide the records to the Board, the patient withdrew his release. Board investigators then attempted to subpoena the records, but the patient objected to the subpoena.

Board investigators interviewed several members of the Davis community, including Hartley’s friends and neighbors, as well as the former spouses of Hartley and the patient. The former spouses of Hartley and the patient were aware that he was in therapy with Hartley during 2019. Both the former spouses of the patient and Hartley eventually also became aware that Hartley and the patient were having a romantic relationship outside of therapy. Hartley’s husband separated from her in approximately February of 2020 due to concerns of infidelity. Hartley’s husband received information including text messages and photographs from neighbors showing that the patient frequently stayed at the home previously shared by Hartley and him.

Hartley’s husband received photographs showing the patient performing yardwork on the residence, and parking his vehicles outside the residence during 2020 and 2021.

Similarly, the patient’s wife learned that patient had parked his truck outside of Hartley’s personal residence for approximately an hour and a half late on the evening of March 14, 2020.

In April of 2021, when exchanging a bag of personal effects with the patient, his then-estranged wife discovered a current receipt for takeout food with Hartley’s contact information on it, evincing that Hartley and the patient were continuing to have a personal relationship outside of therapy.

Hartley’s friends, colleagues, and neighbors also spoke with Board investigators and provided information about the relationship between Hartley and Patient. A friend and colleague of Hartley had a conversation with Hartley during the fall of 2019 during which Hartley confided that a therapy patient of hers was pursing having a romantic relationship with her. The colleague advised Hartley to end all contact with the patient. Later, in March of 2020, Hartley called that same colleague and confided to the friend that she was worried about the ethical implications of her relationship with the patient. The colleague was seriously concerned that Hartley had ignored her advice to cut off all communications with the patient and chose not to discuss the matter any further with Hartley.

A neighbor spoke with Hartley multiple times about her relationship with a man whom Hartley initially referred to only by his first name. The first name Hartley used was the name of the patient. When Hartley first told the neighbor about the man, she did not provide specific details about the nature of the relationship and did not explain to the neighbor that the man was a therapy patient. Hartley told the neighbor that the man had expressed his love for her. On or about March 15, 2020, Hartley called the neighbor in distress. Hartley confided in the neighbor that she had sex with the man, that the man was a therapy patient, and that the man’s wife had learned of the relationship. Hartley told the neighbor that she was concerned that the patient’s wife would report the ethical violation to the Board.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Amended Accusation against Emily Katonah Hartley, Psy.D., Psychologist License No. PSY 20900, Case No. 600-2021-000141, Board of Psychology, Department of Consumer Affairs, State of California, Dec. 13, 2022.

Curious citizen
2023-02-17 12:42:10
How is it possible that this people that outrageously violate their ethics code can still practice? Why is it taking so long for her to lose her license?
Emily is an embarrassment to the psychology community.

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