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etc. - a little of this, a little of that - by Oliver Del Signore

Was it corruption, incompetence, or both that ruined this man’s life?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Was it corruption, incompetence, or both that ruined this man’s life?

Former Pennsylvania psychologist says he reported child molestation, lost license

Jim Singer, formerly a psychologist working in Pennsylvania, said that he reported a case of child molestation in 1986 to Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services agency, and not only was his report ignored, but soon after, in retaliation, the Pennsylvania Psychology Board prosecuted Singer and eventually removed his license to practice psychology.

Former psychologist Jim Singer

As the aftermath of the Penn State University molestation scandal unfolds, most observers believe that if the proper authorities had been alerted to the crimes much earlier, many children could have been saved. That’s not always the case, says Singer.

Speaking exclusively with The Daily Caller, Singer said that most of the same Pennsylvania government agencies that were outraged over the PSU scandal — Child Protective Services, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and the Pennsylvania State Police — all ignored and buried his report of child molestation.

In 1986, Singer was working as a psychologist at the Dubois Regional Medical Center in Dubois, Pa. During a session with a female teenage patient, Singer said the patient revealed to him that she was being sexually abused by her father. Upon having two more medical professionals confirm this, Singer said that he reported the abuse to the state’s Child Protective Services agency.

TheDC has exclusively acquired a letter from one of the two medical professionals, Dr. Albert Varacallo, vouching for the veracity of Singer’s claims.

“If all this seems hard to believe,” Varacallo wrote to then-Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey, Sr. in 1991, “I agree with you … the events of the past three years have proven to me that this nightmare is indeed a reality and not just Mr. Singer’s imagination from the stand point of any health professional, once he knew all the facts.”

“While the state is supposed to provide immunity for reporters,” Varacallo wrote, “it actually prosecutes those who seek to protect the rights of children.”

Click Here to read the rest of the story.

This is purely conjecture, but what I think happened, after the alleged abuser was informed of Dr. Singer’s report and given his identity, is that he turned to someone pretty high up in government who either put pressure on various agencies or arranged for false reports to be generated and acted upon.

While I feel badly for Dr. Singer, I feel worse for the children who may not have had their cases reported, as the law requires, because the health practitioner knew what happened to Singer and did not want to be similarly treated by the state agencies.

It’s been twenty-six years since Singer filed that report. How many children have suffered horrendous abuse because nobody would do anything to save them?

If I had my way, a very lot of people back then and now, would spend a lot of time in prison for dereliction of duty and abuse of authority.

But then, I’m not a Pennsylvania child welfare bureaucrat or worker. What do I know?

Is anyone more familiar with this case or similar cases elsewhere?

4 Responses to “Was it corruption, incompetence, or both that ruined this man’s life?”

  1. Matt, another Says:

    First I heard of that case. It does not suprise me. I would guess the victim was child of a legislator or someone in the judiciary, possibly a family court judge.

    My wife worked briefely for our states CPS office. She decided to part ways with that organization when she got chastisied for reporting foster parents that were abusing their charges. It was explained that getting new foster parents was to hard so they had to keep the ones they had. She also got chastised for calling the police when one of the parents assaulted a coworker.

  2. Jeffrey C. Anthony Says:

    A very close friend of mine who has done much IT work has told me about at least 3 situations where they found child porn on computers in the workplace at different companies. Each time, it was reported to superiors, 2 of the situations nothing was done by the company, and the 3rd, the person was fired only, never reported. Said friend did the right thing and against their superior’s advice went to the county and state police.

    Let’s also note these instances were not just cached by viruses or other situations not known to the employees, there was evidence that this was sought out by the person involved.

    Nothing of course happened to the supervisors that tried to cover it up out of fear of the company’s reputation.

    The thing that disturbs me the most here, I’d think that actually doing the right thing should look better for a company than otherwise. Any publicity is good publicity. Especially when you are doing the right thing.

  3. Oliver Says:

    I’d think that actually doing the right thing should look better for a company than otherwise

    You’d be correct, Jeffrey. One of my clients is one of the top crisis management experts in the country. His advice to companies is to always get out in front of bad news.

    In the case you describe, were it to come out that the company knew and did nothing but fire they guy, I think they’d likely be pilloried in the press and individuals may well have faced charges.

    On the other hand, if they held a press conference to announce they caught a child porn addict, fired him, reported him to the police, and were taking measures to help prevent their systems from ever being so used again, I think they’d likely get lots of praise and good press and the whole incident would be over by the next news cycle.

  4. Shanethenurse Says:

    As someone who works within healthcare I can tell you this happens a lot. I know of one case where the nurse reported the hospital for Medicare fraud. From the data given the hospital knew who it was and fired him. Then they reported him to the state board of nursing as a drug addict. They had no burden to prove it and the state board said it was on the nurse toprove he did not do drugs while he worked for the hospital. It took 3 years for the board to contact him after they took his license, because he had moved to another state. To compound his problems, because he was a travel nurse he had licenses in multiple states and every one of them was suspended. He then had to gather witnesses at his expense, do drug testing at his expense before he was allowed a hearing. After presenting his case he was cleared of all charges but the record of losing the license will never go away. Even though he was suspended by the other boards because of the first boards action the other boards took up to two full years to reinstate him. The thing that really sucks for the guy is because he was accused of doing drugs nobody will hire him despite there never being evidence that he had done drugs. He was guilty until he proved himself innocent. He was cleared 4 years ago and still cannot get work or get a license in another state.
    Another case a nurse I know found out about a crime from a patient,so she reported it to the police after telling the patient she was legally bound to do so. The police interviewed the patient, who told her husband, who called the hospital CEO, who then fired her, and reported her to the board for a privacy violation. She was suspended and sanctioned financially. She was legally obligated by her board of nursing to report the crime, but by reporting the crime she violated the states law on confidentiality. Catch 22. It took her a year to find another job.
    These are just cases I know of personally and I know there are a lot more. The lesson here, sadly, is if you do the right thing or the legal thing you better be prepared to lose your license.



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