Patient is awarded $650K in lawsuit against "voyeuristic" NY psychiatrist Allen Collins
October 11, 2010
She went to a highly respected Manhattan shrink to help her cope with years of sexual abuse -- and his twisted treatment was to set her up for sex trysts with other patients.
The doctor, Allen Collins -- founding chairman of Lenox Hill Hospital's psychiatry department and a perennial on New York magazine's "Best Doctors" list -- would then pester her for a salacious, detailed rundown of their romps, said disgusted former patient Finele Carpenter.
"It was a living horror," said Carpenter, a stunning, 57-year-old former Ford Model who recently sued Collins in Manhattan court and was just awarded $650,000.
Carpenter -- an Arkansas native whose rise to fame and fortune as the Jordache jeans girl led The New York Times to label her life a "Manhattan fairy tale" in 1979 -- was struggling when she was referred to Collins in 2000.
"I went to him very vulnerable and very trusting. I was an easy mark," Carpenter told The Post yesterday.
A survivor of sex abuse as a child and rape in her 20s, her marriage to a California millionaire -- her fourth -- had fallen apart, and she was engaging in self-mutilation.
Her lawsuit described Collins, 68, as unusually carefree about sharing her with other patients.
During their second session, she said, he gave her the name of a good divorce lawyer -- a patient -- and recommended she use him. The lawyer wound up scoring a multimillion-dollar settlement on her behalf.
Then came the "dating" referrals with Collins' patients, which began a few weeks after she started seeing him.
"He said he had this friend of his who would be good for me . . . [H]e was accomplished and interesting, unhappily married," Carpenter said at her deposition. He "asked if he could give my phone number to him and unfortunately I eventually said yes."
After she and the man -- who was one of Collins' patients -- had sex, the doctor made clear he knew all about it, her filings say.
Collins "told me I should never ask a man if he [was] on Viagra, which I had done" and told her the man wouldn't be calling her again because his wife smelled perfume on him when he returned home, her filings say.
She wound up carrying on a months-long relationship with Patient No. 2 and said Collins would pester her for all the dirty details.
He "would ask me if I had an orgasm, what it felt like, how I felt, did it please me," she recalled in her deposition.
Carpenter said they broke up because of the man's unusual sexual "proclivities."
Patient No. 3 was another unhappily married man, and Collins told her he hoped that a relationship between them would "push or shove" the man out of his marriage, her filings say.
Patient No. 4 was an unhappily married billionaire, but Carpenter said she didn't sleep with him because he was "aggressive" and "not nice."
Patient No. 5 was also "too aggressive," and Collins was "very upset" that their date didn't lead anywhere, Carpenter said.
"It was sexual voyeurism, all for the doctor's titillation," she said, adding he'd kept her off balance the entire time she was seeing him -- scheduling her for three 90-minute sessions at different times every week and loading her up with nine medications a day.
Collins' lawyer refused comment on the case, and the doctor didn't return a call.
In his court filings, Collins admitted setting Carpenter up with other patients but said it was for her good, not his.
He said he was encouraging "positive social encounters," and "if things developed, things developed. I was not specifically recommending the development of a relationship in one way or another."
His expert said in court papers that the referrals were "reasonably intended to address" Carpenter's "expressed feelings of isolation, inability to meet people on her own, depression and worthlessness," and were preferable to leaving her to "the mercies and uncertainties of a dating service."
He also downplayed other things she described as inappropriate, including soliciting her for the board of his charity, and urging her to get her society pals to donate to it.
"He denied it, but the jury didn't buy it," said Carpenter's lawyer, David Taback.
It took jurors took just two hours to find he'd crossed the line of ethical behavior this past Tuesday, awarding the former Ford model $400,000 for her conscious pain and suffering and reimbursement of $250,000 she'd paid Collins over the five years she was his patient, Taback said.
"He controlled her for his own purposes," and now he's paying a price, Taback said.
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