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Home > Child Custody & Divorce > Item

Therapist Loses License and One Million Dollars

>From the False Memory Syndrome Foundation News Letter


Psychotherapist surrenders counseling license prior to hearing of California regulators

San Diego Union-Tribune, March 21, 1996

John Wilkens and Jim Okerblom

A La Mesa psychotherapist facing state disciplinary hearings has surrendered her counseling license amid allegations that she coerced an 8-year-old rape victim into falsely identifying her father as the attacker. Kathleen King Goodfriend was accused by government regulators of being "grossly negligent or incompetent" in her treatment of the child, Alicia Wade. The California Board of Behavioral Science Examiners said that "pressure" by Goodfriend over a period of 13 months finally led the girl to falsely accuse her father. As a result, her father, James Wade was arrested, charged and faced 16 years in prison. Alicia was nearly placed for adoption. Alicia's mother, Denise Wade attempted suicide. Authorities overlooked DNA evidence which proved the father had not assaulted his daughter and disregarded a suspect already convicted of attacking other girls in the neighborhood.

Under the agreement that takes effect April 15, Goodfriend admits no wrongdoing, but she will no longer be allowed to practice as a marriage, family and child counselor in California. By law, Goodfriend could apply for a new license in three years. But in doing so, she would have to acknowledge that her treatment of the child was "unprofessional" and "recklessly caused emotional or physical harm" to Alicia, according to the agreement. "The burden would be on her to show that she is rehabilitated," said Susan Fitzgerald, a deputy state attorney general who prepared the case against the therapist. Although regulators had looked forward to a full airing of the case against Goodfriend, they felt the settlement was merited, Fitzgerald said.

Two years ago, the Wade family settled a multimillion-dollar civil suit filed against Goodfriend, social workers, detectives, prosecutors and others involved in the case. The settlement was about $3.7 million. Of that, $1 million came from Goodfriend.

Courtesy of Patrick Wharton and Fathers' Manifesto.

--> UPDATE: Zealous Sex Prosecutor and Therapist Lose Lawsuits. <--

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