Stalking order granted against Veterans Affairs psychiatrist

May 3, 2010

A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ social worker has requested and been granted a temporary stalking protective order against the chief of psychiatry at the VA’s Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics.

In the complaint filed May 3 with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the 43-year-old female social worker alleges that psychiatrist Beverly Kay Young, 45, had made repeated unwanted sexual advances toward her.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Dan Harris granted the temporary stalking protective order on May 4, and has set a hearing for June 21.

Michael Steadman, the Medford attorney representing Young, has requested a June 14 dismissal hearing on the civil case. Noting the two women’s work invariably brings them in contact via e-mail, Steadman has filed a request with the court for an allowance of incidental contact between Young and the plaintiff.

Steadman declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Mail Tribune. The plaintiff did not return a call from the paper.

SORCC spokeswoman Anna Diehl also declined to comment, saying it was a private matter unrelated to the women’s professional work.

Both continue to work at the facility, she said.

‘‘That’s outside the realm of the VA we would have no comment,’’ Diehl said of the alleged charges in the civil case.

According to the complaint filed with the court, the issue was continued unwanted sexual advances.

‘‘Petitioner states respondent (Young) repeatedly approaches her for the purpose of engaging in sexual contact; respondent has been asked multiple times by petitioner and petitioner’s supervisor and respondent’s supervisor (to stop),’’ sheriff’s deputy Jason Penn wrote in his report. ‘‘However, the unwanted contact has continued.’’

It is unclear where the alleged harassment occurred. But in a May 3 letter addressed to Young that is among the court papers, Dr. David A. Donnelly, the SORCC’s chief of staff, reiterated that ‘‘concerns were raised by (plaintiff) last fall that you had contacted her outside the normal work environment and that she had felt uncomfortable with that.’’

His letter continued, ‘‘At that time you and I had a conversation and I verbally counseled you to keep your contact with (plaintiff) purely work-related.’’

That discussion was around Nov. 1 of last year, he wrote. Since then, no one, including the plaintiff, had contacted him about a reoccurrence of the issue, he stressed in the letter.

‘‘If anyone wishes to inquire of me, I am happy to give them my impression that you pose no threat or concern to (plaintiff),’’ he wrote, adding, ‘‘It is unfortunate that she perceives differently.’’

Dr. Randall R. Nelson, associate chief of staff for primary care, submitted a May 3 letter to the court strongly supporting Young.

‘‘I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Beverly K. Young over the past several years both as a physician dealing with challenging patients and as a fellow supervisor managing staff,’’ he wrote. ‘‘Dr. Young continually behaves in a professional, caring and ethical manner setting the standard for those qualities.

‘‘She is a dedicated, hard-working, conscientious physician and supervisor who is respected and appreciated by patients and staff,’’ he added.

Source: Paul Fattig, "Stalking order granted against VA psychiatrist," Mail Tribune, May 21, 2010.


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