Washington-Wyoming psychiatrist Bruce Bennett disciplined for sexual contact with patient
June 4, 2009
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issued an Agreed Order on psychiatrist BRUCE C. BENNETT, placing his physician and surgeon credential on probation until January 30, 2010 (the date on which his Washington license would expire). Should he renew his license at that time, the probation would continue for three additional years.
In February 2009, DOH charged Bennett with for having "crossed professional boundaries in treating Patient A” and that “On at least two occasions in or around March 2006, [he] had sexual contact with Patient A. He also spoke to Patient A about his wife and compared her to his wife” while counseling the patient at Lourdes Medical Center.
Bennett later became the medical director at Sunderland Family Treatment Services. The patient transferred her care to Sunderland. The document further states that in March 2008, the patient, who was receiving psychotherapy from another Sunderland therapist, approached Bennett as he entered a supply room at Sunderland and inquired of him about medication for sleep. Bennett “turned and walked past Patient A without acknowledging her, ran down the hallway to his office and slammed the door.”
The patient later disclosed Bennett’s sexual boundary violations at Lourdes to her therapist.
A day later, the Operations Manager at Sunderland asked Bennett if he’d every been inappropriate with the patient. Bennett “admitted that he had been inappropriate a few times, including kissing Patient A while seeing her at the night clinic. [Bennett] became very angry during the discussion, referring to Patient A as a ‘bitch’ and easily victimized…. [Bennett] expressed no concern for his patient or for betraying her trust.”
Sunderland then fired Bennett.
He is currently employed at the Wyoming Behavioral Institute in Casper.
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