The Law Offices of SJ Spero and Associates - Boston Professional Misconduct Lawyer

The Law Offices of
SJ Spero & Associates

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PO Box 240
Newton, MA 02468
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30 Monument Square
Suite 145
Concord, MA 01742
Phone: 617-491-1200
Fax: 978-631-0795
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175 Federal Street
Suite 1425
Boston, MA 02110
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In The News

Lawyers Weekly USA - Small Firm Specializes In Patient Abuse By Therapists Far More Common Than Many Suspect

In the late 1970s, Stanley J. Spero was a successful trial lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., with a typical roster of medical malpractice and auto product liability cases. That all changed when a deeply troubled young woman with a history of serious psychiatric problems told him that her psychiatrist had sexually abused her numerous times. At the time, no one had ever successfully sued a therapist in Massachusetts for sexual abuse of a patient - and Spero's colleague Linda M. Jorgenson, who later became his law partner, had strong doubts about the case. The woman was a bi-polar schizophrenic and delusional; at one point, when they visited her in a mental hospital, she claimed George Washington had just dropped by.

"I'm embarrassed to say this now," recalled Jorgenson, "but I told Stan, 'You really want to be sure she's telling the truth.' She was very, very ill." But Spero was certain that, in spite of her many delusions, the woman was telling the truth about her therapist. "What made me decide to take the case is one of my strengths and weaknesses," he said. "I'm terribly sensitive to people being abused. Just because they have psychiatric problems doesn't mean they're not telling the truth." Jorgenson, however, remained unconvinced. Her opinion didn't change until she reluctantly agreed to take the deposition of a doctor who treated the woman after the defendant psychiatrist. "I asked him, 'Why do you believe what this woman is saying?' And he said, 'Because when I called up the psychiatrist, he told me he did it.'" Jorgenson shakes her head at the memory, saying that she "decided at that moment" that she would never again doubt a victim's story without looking into the matter further. Spero and Jorgenson set state precedent in 1983 when they won a $280,000 verdict against the psychiatrist. Since then, the team - who formally became partners in 1993 - have handled more than 400 cases of therapist abuse throughout the country and become national experts on the issue.

The five-lawyer firm currently has about 100 open cases a year, most of which settle for between $300,000 and $500,000. But if a case goes to trial the typical verdict is substantially larger. They've settled dozens of cases for more than $1 million, including a recent $1.7 million confidential settlement against a psychologist in a Western state, and they've landed dozens of verdicts of similar size. "From that first case, it just turned into an incredible thing, as more and more people realized they had rights," said Spero. Therapist abuse cases are plentiful, he noted. According to a national survey published in 1986 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, between 7 and 12 percent of therapists admit having sexual contact with one or more patients. Eighty to 90 percent of therapist abuse cases involved female victims, the partners note, usually with male therapists. Some therapists are serial predators, others may stray just once. Studies have demonstrated irrefutable harm to most patients who enter into a sexual relationship with a therapist, including depression, isolation, relationship difficulties, and increased risk of suicide. For that reason, professional ethics strictly forbid therapists from having any sexual contact with patients, and for psychiatrists, the restrictions are even greater: they are forbidden from sexual contact with former patients, too. Twenty-four states regard therapist-patient sex as a criminal act, because the power imbalance in the relationship makes it impossible for the patient to voluntarily consent. And in almost all states, proof of a sexual relationship with a patient will result in the therapist losing his license. "The sex act itself isn't necessarily the damaging part," said Spero. "It's the invasion of all kinds of boundaries, and the violation of trust." "It doesn't matter if the therapist thinks he's in love or not," added Jorgenson. "They should never have sex with a patient. It displaces the primary purpose of the relationship, which is to treat that patient so that they can have healthy relationships with other people." The first order of business when trying these cases is to get a jury to understand these aren't about consensual affairs. "This is about a doctor's fiduciary duty to the patient, and the fact that this duty has been violated," said Spero.

Different From Medical Malpractice

Therapist abuse cases carry their own peculiarities of law and trial strategy, the partners note.

Defendants almost always deny that sexual contact occurred. Since the victims suffer from emotional or psychiatric problems while the defendants are well-spoken, educated physicians or psychologists, it's critical to have corroborating evidence such as telephone records, hotel receipts, witnesses who've seen the therapist and patient together in social settings, gifts, or love letters.

For their first case, the one involving the bipolar woman, Spero and Jorgenson located a nurse who recalled the defendant psychiatrist visiting the victim's hospital room at odd hours. They also found neighbors who testified they saw the doctor's car at the victim's home. Without this kind of evidence, it's almost impossible to win what amounts to a she said/he said contest.

Spero and Jorgenson are currently suing the former director of psychiatry at a major Massachusetts hospital on behalf of two female victims. In that case, the doctor snapped nude photographs of one patient and had her take his photo, too, which shows him naked beneath his framed Yale medical degree, wearing nothing but a black condom that reads "lollipop." But it's rare to have such clear-cut evidence.

"We say to the clients, 'It's your word against his. Do you have something to back you up?'" said Spero. "They have to understand how severe the risk is, and how intrusive these cases are. They're going up against a person who comes cloaked with a professional degree." Defense attorneys delve into the victim's psychiatric history and every other aspect of his or her life - family relationships, romantic history, work failures - all touchy matters that often are the reason the person went into therapy in the first place.

"It's a very different kind of litigation," said Spero. "With regard to the revealing of intimacies and the invasion of privacy, nothing in med-mal compares to it."

The statute of limitations - three years, in most states - often kills many potential cases. But Spero again set precedent in Massachusetts in 1991 in Riley v. Presnell, which recognized that many plaintiffs don't realize until long after the incident that what the therapist did was harmful. (565 N.E.2d 780)

In the Riley case, the male plaintiff began therapy with Dr. Presnell, a male psychiatrist at Harvard who gave him alcohol and drugs and later engaged him in sex.

"Riley could never understand anything was wrong," said Jorgenson. "He was told this was good for him, that it was treatment, so he continued." It wasn't until another young patient revealed that Dr. Presnell had sex with him, too, that Riley thought something might be amiss.

The defendant won summary judgment based on the contention that the statute of limitations had run out. But Spero and Jorgenson appealed the case to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which changed the standard for determining when the patient "discovered" the abuse, and thus when the statute of limitations begins to run. Today, it is up to the jury to decide when the statute begins to run by determining when the plaintiff knew or should have known that the sexualization of the relationship was improper.

"It was a good decision for the victims. It recognizes that for some victims, it takes years to realize what happened," said Jorgenson. "A lot of them regard it as an affair. They never think that their inability to sleep at night or their depression is connected to this relationship [with the therapist]."

Another problem is insurance coverage. Most malpractice policies do not cover sexual abuse of patients, so the plaintiffs must pursue a defendant's assets, which is time-consuming and sometimes fruitless. And these cases have much more emotional impact on the victims than typical medical-malpractice matters, the partners note. Often the plaintiffs have deeply mixed feelings about suing. "Their self-blame is so powerful," Spero said. "They can hear every expert support them, and still they blame themselves. People don't like to feel they were victims."

It's hard on the lawyers, too.

"This litigation is so intense, very few lawyers could tolerate it," Spero said. "You have to spend a lot of time with the clients, where in a regular med-mal, your time is with the expert witnesses." Spero typically spends a full day or longer on the initial interview with the client, getting to know her, garnering her trust, and determining whether she is credible.

Few cases ever get to the jury. Once there is credible evidence that a sexual relationship took place, defendants typically settle, since such behavior is a clear violation of medical ethics. The partners have lost just one jury trial, in a case involving a male patient and a female therapist who was a drug counselor, where the judge was clearly not sympathetic to the cause of action, Spero recalled.

"We've had other cases with male clients and female therapists, and except for a couple of them, all they wanted was their money back for the therapy," said Jorgenson. Male clients often are embarrassed to paint the relationship as anything but positive, she believes.

Important Work

Many victims say their primary goal in these lawsuits is to protect other patients from a doctor's abuse, Spero said.

"We have so many come in here where they don't even want to know the value of their case," he said.

Often, clients choose not to sue civilly. Instead, they testify before the state board that licenses the therapist, hoping to see his license revoked.

Spero and Jorgenson believe therapists should be required to inform patients, at the start of therapy, that sex is never an appropriate part of the therapeutic relationship. They also believe all therapists should be required to meet regularly with a supervisor or a peer group, to discuss whether a patient relationship is becoming too personal and, if so, to get help.

Jorgenson continues her efforts to pass legislation in every state that criminalizes this behavior. In the meantime, the firm has a heavy caseload and continues to get calls from all over the country. But Jorgenson believes that things are slowing slightly, in large part because public awareness of the issue is making it harder for therapists to abuse their patients. Both lawyers find the work deeply satisfying.

"I don't see how you can't feel good about it," said Jorgenson. "In so many kinds of cases, like divorce, you really could take either side. But here there is clearly only one right side."

Spero saves the letters that his clients send him, thanking him for his help.

"I want my children to know that you can make a difference in this world. Not always a big difference, but in your own way," he said. "I know we've made a dent in this problem."

-Written by Elaine McArdle August 18, 2003. Questions or comments can be directed to:

ABA Journal
November, 1992
78 Nov. ABA J. 76
SECTION: Legal Ethics
TITLE: UNFAIR ADVANTAGE: When lawyers have sex with
clients are they violating professional ethics? More and
more, the answer is yes.

It hasn't escaped notice that the ethical codes of other professions -- doctors, psychologists and social workers -- impose a complete ban on sex with clients, while the legal profession has been reluctant even to acknowledge.

Surely, embarrassment is one reason that sexually exploited clients choose not to come forward.
Linda Jorgenson of Spero and Jorgenson in Cambridge, Mass., who represents plaintiffs in psychiatric malpractice, believes that the situation in legal malpractice is comparable. Lawyers often are privy to intimate details about the client's vulnerabilities, sex life, marriage and finances, she points out.

"We [lawyers] take on more than just to do the case in an appropriate fashion," says Jorgenson. "We take on the responsibility not to harm and that means if we do something to gratify ourselves at our client's expense, we should be held responsible."

American Lawyer Media, L.P 1992;
Business Dateline; Miami Review
October 15, 1992
HEADLINE: Attorney/Client Sex Issue Moves to Center Stage

After a prominent Miami attorney was sued for malpractice last month by a client with whom he'd had an affair, the debate of the propriety of sex with clients moved to center stage.

A recent study published in the Arkansas Law Review by Cambridge, Mass. lawyers Linda Jorgenson and Pamela Sutherland, concluded that while some lawyers believe sexual relationships with clients should be absolutely prohibited and others believe they already are under other provisions in the ethics codes, "the vast majority of attorneys and bar associations hold the opinion...that sexual contact between attorneys and their clients is not a problem, and therefore, it does not need to be addressed in any systemic manner."

The Boston Globe August 23, 2001, City & Region
State Revokes Psychiatrist's License

"A top psychiatrist at University of Massachusetts Memorial/Marlborough Hospital took nude photographs of one patient and made 12 loans to another, the state medical board said yesterday in a ruling that revoked his medical license."

"A lawyer for the victim called that a typical evasion, and said [doctor's name] took a bizarre approach to treating the Marlborough woman, using sex and beatings to 'treat" her depression, which stemmed from childhood physical and sexual abuse."

"He believed that helping her meant replicating the abuse she suffered as a child, " said the lawyer,Stanley Spero of Spero and Jorgenson, a Cambridge firm that specializes in psychiatric malpractice cases."

The Boston Globe September 5, 2000, Tuesday ,THIRD EDITION

All of which is mystifying to Cambridge lawyer Stanley Spero, who filed complaints against Bustamante with the state board and in Hampshire Superior Court. Only a "tidal wave of manipulation" unleashed by Bustamante, Spero said, can explain why people would support any adult, let alone a therapist, who would demean and exploit a teenager and refer to her using profanity. "His argument is, 'I'm somebody who has this new technique. I'm a creative therapist and I'm being punished for it,' " Sperosaid. "I do believe that every field requires some creativity. But there are certain principles and ethics that are mandated, that you must stand by."

The Boston Globe
January 14, 1995, Saturday, City Edition

HEADLINE: Law closes psychiatrists' loophole; AG can cite misconduct, halt practice

Linda Jorgenson, a Cambridge attorney who helped draft the bills, said she does not understand why the Legislature has not acted on the two other bills, considering support for the legislation by professional medical and therapist organizations.

The Boston Globe
July 6, 1993, Tuesday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Licenses revoked, therapists still practicing; Disciplinary system is called flawed

"We have tried to get an injunctive relief bill passed for three years now, and it has been not been reported out by Rep. Sal DiMasi," said Linda Jorgenson, an attorney and member of the legislative commission on sexual misconduct by professionals who helped draft the legislation.

The Boston Globe
March 31, 1992, Tuesday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Panel is told therapist-patient sex should be felony

"Why make this a law?" asked attorney Linda Jorgenson. "Because of the numbers, because of the harm, because this is a fiduciary relationship. We have the numbers. We have the harm."

The Boston Globe
December 12, 1990, Wednesday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Push is vowed to outlaw client abuse

The legislation filed last year has several purposes. The main intent is to criminalize sexual misconduct by physicians and psychotherapists, making sexual intercourse with patients punishable by up to 10 years in prison and indecent sexual contact punishable by up to five years.

"We want to send a very clear message that this kind of behavior is very wrong and will not be tolerated," said Linda Jorgenson, a Cambridge attorney and member of the legislative commission that drafted the bills.

The Boston Globe
May 18, 1990, Friday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Daughters win sex-abuse case against father

"These victims have a lot of shame, guilt and humiliation about what happened," said Linda Jorgenson, a Cambridge lawyer and member of the state legislative commission on sexual misconduct. "Just as with women who are sexually abused by their psychotherapists, there is a violation of trust and a feeling of being betrayed due to the inaction of others. If your father abuses you and your mother covers it up, you begin to wonder if you're right or not; you begin to doubt yourself."

The Boston Globe
March 15, 1990, Thursday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Bill seeks reinstatement of physician's license

"If this case is retried in front of the Legislature, you might as well not have a board at all," said Linda Jorgenson, an attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse and who serves on a legislative committee drafting legislation to make it a felony for physicians and psychotherapists to have sex with patients.

The Boston Globe
January 24, 1990, Wednesday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Panel OK's therapist regulation; State bills would criminalize sexual contacts with patients

A special state legislative subcommittee yesterday endorsed two bills that would make it a felony for psychotherapists and physicians to have sexual intercourse or indecent sexual contact with their patients, clearing the way for the measures to be filed with the Legislature. ..... "We want to send a very clear message that this kind of behavior is very wrong and will not be tolerated," said Linda Jorgenson, a Cambridge attorney who helped draft the bills. "Between 7 and 15 percent of therapists self-report that they abuse their patients, and we think the actual percentage is considerably higher. Criminalizing this behavior, we're sure, will deter these therapists." Jorgensonsaid it is "virtually impossible" to prosecute therapists who sexually abuse their patients under existing criminal laws in Massachusetts. In previous cases, defendants have successfully argued that their patients consented to the sexual act, and prosecutors are now reluctant to pursue cases that do not involve rape.

The Boston Globe
December 30, 1989, Saturday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Therapist accused of sex abuse, stock scam

"Right now, there is no way to touch unlicensed therapists," said Linda Jorgenson, a Cambridge attorney who is a member of a special state legislative committee studying the problem of sexual misconduct by psychotherapists. Members of the legislative committee on sexual misconduct say the most effective way to deal with unlicensed therapists who abuse their patients would be to make it a crime for licensed or unlicensed therapists to have sex with patients. The committee recently drafted such legislation and is exploring the possibility of requiring all therapists to register with the state and carry malpractice insurance. "Criminalizing this kind of misconduct would give us a way to stopping therapists who are unlicensed or who have lost their license but are still practicing," Jorgensonsaid.

The Boston Globe
September 27, 1989, Wednesday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Panel is told to toughen penalty for therapists

Linda Jorgenson, an attorney who is co-chairwoman of the subcommittee on civil and criminal statutes, said, "When I started, I was not in favor of criminalization. Now I'm leaning toward making it a felony, not a misdemeanor."

The Boston Globe
July 14, 1989, Friday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Couple awarded $ 1.2m in sex case involving their former therapist

A Cambridge couple was awarded $ 1.27 million Wednesday evening by a Middlesex Superior Court jury, which found that their therapist had taken sexual liberties with the husband while treating him singly, in a group setting and as a couple with the wife. Attorney Stanley J. Spero and his law partner, Linda Jorgenson, who represented the unidentified couple, presented evidence that Fanning had forced the husband into the homosexual relationship under the guise of therapy when the husband sought Fanning's help in coping with a succession of misfortunes and stressful events in 1971.

Boston Herald
August 23, 2001
Headline: Doc's license yanked after affair with patient

"The medical director of psychiatry at Marlborough Hospital carried on a torrid seven-year affair with a patient with multiple personalities, even sending separate love notes to her different personas."

"She had over 20 personalities, and he would encourage and give life to all of them," said Stanley J. Spero of Spero & Jorgenson in Cambridge, the woman's lawyer. 'He did have sex with a number of her different personalities.' "

Corporate Legal Times
December, 1995

"Sexual Abuse by Professionals: A Legal Guide," by Steven B. Bisbing, Linda Mabus Jorgenson and Pamela K. Sutherland, is a treatment of the legal issues surrounding sexual misconduct cases. It explores causes of action from fiduciary relations, and demonstrates how sexual exploitation occurs and how it can be avoided. 950 pages. $ 105.

March 23, 1992, Monday

A Rockland County woman who said she was sexually exploited by her marriage therapist has helped prompt lawmakers to form a panel of experts to study tougher sanctions against patient-therapist sex.

A Massachusetts legislative panel noted in a report last year that between 4 percent and 13 percent of mental-health and health professionals have had sex with their patients - 80 percent of them with more than one. Linda Jorgenson, an author and legal expert, said Monday that 95 percent of the victims are women.

August 17, 2006
"Women complain that doctors get away with pretty much anything"
By Craig Malisow

"To help B* in her civil suit, ...... arranged for her to be represented by Stanley Spero, a Massachusetts-based lawyer who specializes in exploitation cases.

'Physicians, mental health workers, anybody who gets involved in this kind of work, they can identify people who are very, very vulnerable, and they take advantage of these vulnerabilities.... B* was there for simply a consult. That's all she was there for. And look at the life that took on.' "

Los Angeles Times
August 10, 1992, Monday, Home Edition

If a therapist betrays this trust, a patient often can't say no to the seduction, says Linda Jorgenson, a Cambridge, Mass., attorney who has written numerous law review articles on the subject. "It's worse than your first teen-age infatuation," she says.

Verdict Date: July 11, 1989
$ 1,290,000. (verdict)
PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: Stanley J. Spero, Linda M. Jorgenson, Cambridge

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
November 27, 1995

Sexual Abuse by Professionals: A Legal Guide represents the first book-length treatment of the legal issues surrounding sexual misconduct cases by professionals. Authors Steven B. Bisbing, Linda Mabus Jorgenson, and Pamela K. Sutherland demystify the clinical underpinnings of abuse and chart a practical approach for recovering and defending against damages.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
April 15, 1991
HEADLINE: Making Sex Abusers Pay;

Linda M. Jorgenson, one of the plaintiff's lawyers in the Riley case, also was aware of the Plymouth County award and predicted that more such suits will follow. The application of the Riley decision to child abuse is a logical one, she says, because of the "power imbalance" that exists between therapist and patient as it does between adult and child. The problem for plaintiffs lawyers seeking civil damages for child sexual-abuse, Jorgenson points out, is "where they're going to get the money." Property attachments won't always be available, she says.
Read the decision

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
February 4, 1991
'Discovery' Applies To Abuse By Therapist

The Supreme Judicial Court extended its "discovery rule" to psychotherapist malpractice, concluding that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that he may have suffered injury because of his therapist's conduct. Cambridge lawyer Linda Jorgenson, who represents the plaintiff together with partnerStanley J. Spero, said last week that the SJC's extension of the discovery rule to psychotherapist malpractice is significant because it sometimes takes victims of therapist abuse many years to discover the nature of their harm.

The National Law Journal 10/16/95
October 16, 1995
JORGENSON, LINDA MABUS, ET AL, Transference of Liability:
Employer Liability for Sexual Misconduct by Therapists,
Brooklyn Law Review: 1995, Vol. 60, No. 4, pgs. 1421-1482.

The National Law Journal
June 15, 1992
HEADLINE: Lawyer-Client Sexual Contact: State Bars Polled
Special to The National Law Journal; Ms. Jorgenson is a partner in Cambridge, Mass.'s Spero &Jorgensonand a member of the Massachusetts House Committee on Sexual Misconduct by Physicians, Therapists and Other Health Care Professionals.

The National Law Journal
June 1, 1992
HEADLINE: More Sue Their Shrinks For Sexual Misconduct

Even sexual contact after termination of therapy can lead to a charge of malpractice. "The APA has said sex with a patient is not okay since 1973," says Linda Jorgenson of Cambridge, Mass.'s Spero & Jorgenson. "It automatically gives rise to a cause of action for malpractice. In 1988
the APA passed a rule that sex with a former patient is almost always never okay."

Also favoring plaintiffs is a trend found in recent court decisions to extend the time allowed for psychiatric patients to bring suit, according to Ms. Jorgenson and Paul S. Appelbaum, professor of psychiatry and director of the law and psychiatry program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

In a case in which Ms. Jorgenson was a plaintiff's co-counsel, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided last year that so-called "tolling," or suspending the state's statute of limitations, could be applied to a case of psychiatric malpractice. In Riley v. Presnell, 565 N.E.2d 780 (Mass. 1991), the court held that if a psychotherapist's sexual exploitation impairs a reasonable patient's ability to realize he or she has been injured, the statute of limitations would not begin to run until the patient discovered the injury.

Read the decision

New England Jury Verdict Review & Analysis
Vol. 6, No. 5, Page 181
September, 1995
Pamela Bartels vs. Jeffrey Leighton Case No. 91-233
$ 550,000 verdict
PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: Stanley Spero, Cambridge, Ma.

On July 6, 1994 the Court applied 93A and doubled the award to $ 1,100,000. In addition, the Court enjoined defendant from practicing hypnotherapy until he presented the Court with a proper supervision proposal.


Sex between therapists and patients is specifically forbidden by the Hippocratic oath and in the ethics codes of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and other mental-health groups. Yet the practice clearly goes on.

For the last three years, the Massachusetts Legislature has been considering a bill to make therapist-patient sex a felony. "The legislators are opposed," says attorney Linda Jorgenson. "One of the issues frequently raised about patients is, 'They're adults, they're not psychotic. Why can't they say no?'"

The New York Times
The New York Times
September 18, 2005 Sunday
Late Edition - Final Attorney Spero comments on Polk case

A California Murder Case Raises Troubling Issues


.....a big element of Ms. Polk's defense will be what happened in the therapist's office decades ago and whether ethical and other boundaries were crossed that poisoned the couple's relationship.......

The trial will pit mother against son and brother against brother...

The trial of Ms. Polk and the looming questions about her treatment will refocus attention on relationships between patients and doctors.

The taboo of sex between doctor and patient was written into the Hippocratic oath in the fifth century B.C. But the American Psychological Association did not list sexual behavior between therapist and patient as unethical until 1981......
''This is probably one of the greatest acts of betrayal that people can experience,'' said Stanley J. Spero, a Massachusetts lawyer who has represented about 150 patients who said they had sex with their therapists.

''Most of the time,'' he said, ''therapists are aware that this is inappropriate, but because of their own narcissism or midlife crisis they think of it as a special relationship.''

(Excerpted from New York Times 9/18/05)

The New York Times
May 22, 1992, Friday, Late Edition - Final
HEADLINE: At the Bar; On lawyerly lasciviousness and new
efforts to deal with a 'dirty little secret.'

Perhaps, one state bar disciplinary official speculated, this is because lawyers are asexual. More likely it is because until very recently lawyers have been reluctant to acknowledge, much less discuss, what one judge has called the bar's "dirty little secret": that however sex between lawyers and clients complicates and compromises zealous representation, it is hardly extraordinary.

Never has the academy, the American Bar Association or any other lawyers' group sought to chart the dimensions of the problem. The task fell, instead, to two Boston lawyers, Linda Jorgenson and Pamela Sutherland. Their findings, based on reports from cooperative bar officials in every state except Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island, will appear next month in the Arkansas Law Review.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
October 15, 1992, Metro Edition
HEADLINE: Therapists who have sex with patients betray a trust

Circling on the edge of sex-with-client situations are plaintiffs' attorneys such as Linda Jorgenson of Boston, who has represented more than 200 patients in sexual
misconduct cases against therapists.

She has been successful. "My biggest judgment was $ 1.4 million," she said.

Gabbard and Jorgenson were in Minneapolis recently as lecturers at the second national Conference on Sexual Misconduct by Clergy, Psychotherapists and Health Care Professionals.

The Washington Post
November 02, 1995, Thursday, Final Edition
HEADLINE: When a Trust Is Violated; Md. Debates Measure
Making Therapist-Client Sex a Crime

Today, 21 years later, the Baltimore homemaker serves on a Maryland task force that says it should be a crime for a mental health therapist to have sex with a client. If the legislature agrees next winter, Maryland would become the 15th state to make such relationships illegal.

But Linda Jorgenson, a Boston lawyer who has sued numerous therapists on behalf of abused clients, said the stricter regulations certainly would deter some professionals from having sex with clients. "And those who continue to do it, you would be able to discipline," she said.


January 23, 1990, Tuesday, BC cycle
HEADLINE: Heavy sentences recommended in sexual abuse

Doctors or other health care professionals who sexually abuse their patients would face prison sentences of up to 10 years under legislation given tentative approval Tuesday by a special commission.

The Committee on Sexual Misconduct by Physicians, Therapists and Other Health Professionals was appointed by the Legislature last May to find ways to curb the sexual abuse of patients, which appears to be on the rise.

''We're saying that professionals cannot use consent as a defense,'' said Linda Jorgenson, a lawyer who helped draft the bill. ''We're saying that consent is irrelevant. It's can't be your fault if you're the victim.''

September 21, 1992, Monday, FINAL EDITION
HEADLINE: Psychiatrist gives up license, still faces suit

Margaret Bean-Bayog, the Harvard psychiatrist who national headlines portrayed as having an affair with a patient, has quit practicing medicine rather than face a public hearing that was to begin today.

Eight states have laws making it a felony for therapists to have sex with patients, with or without consent: Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Georgia, Colorado, California, Florida and Iowa. Lawmakers in Massachusetts, New Mexico, Pennsylvannia and Maryland consider such laws next year.

''Consent is the sticking point,'' says lawyer Linda Jorgenson, an expert on such cases. ''Many victims of such abuse return time after time to their therapists, and since they return, prosecutors assume that's consent. The only way to get a conviction is if the victim is drugged or raped.''

The Washington Post
August 18, 1992, Tuesday, Final Edition
HEADLINE: Spanking and the Lawyer; After Years of
Allegations, a Misconduct Suit Is Filed in Maryland

Advocates of restrictions on lawyers' sexual behavior say such limits are analogous to lawyers' restrictions on financial activities with clients, intended to avoid conflicts of interest that would violate their fiduciary responsibilities.

"The Arnie Becker syndrome is not cute and it's not harmless," said Cambridge, Mass., attorney Linda M. Jorgenson, citing the unctuous bed-hopping divorce lawyer of TV's "L.A. Law."

"I won't say we need a rule 'You may not spank your client,' but we do need some clear ethical standard that says sex or suggestive behavior with a client is inherently wrong," said Jorgenson, whose recent article on the subject in the Arkansas Law Review was widely reported. "The Arnie Becker syndrome is not cute and it's not harmless," said Cambridge, Mass., attorney Linda M. Jorgenson, citing the unctuous bed-hopping divorce lawyer of TV's "L.A. Law."

The Associated Press
August 29, 2000

The girl, who was receiving therapy for post-traumatic stress syndrome, told the state Board of Registration of Psychology, which oversees licensing, that the 49-year-old Bustamante had made sexual advances during therapy when she spoke of feeling attracted to him. In April, the board found that Bustamante told the girl he wanted to have sex with her. The board said he appeared to have a personal relationship with her that went beyond any conceivable needs of therapy. The board ordered his license revoked for at least three years. "The man is a rogue," McVey's lawyer,Stanley Spero, said Monday. "He has no sense of limits or boundaries.

The Law Offices of SJ Spero & Associates represented victims of professional misconduct and clergy abuse across the country, including Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas and New York. Based in Boston, our local service areas include Newton, Concord, Acton, Lowell, Cambridge, Quincy, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, Middlesex County, Essex County, Suffolk County, Norfolk County and Worcester County.