Many relied on U.W. faculty member's expert opinion
Last updated July 13, 2007 11:23 p.m. PT
By CLAUDIA ROWE
A noted psychologist, now under investigation for voyeurism, had such a successful practice evaluating both sexual abuse victims and priests accused of molestation that several lawyers said the allegations against him might call into question numerous cases settled on the basis of his expert opinion.
"This guy had his finger on every single Catholic church perp in the state -- if not the region," said John Manly, an attorney who has sued the Jesuit Order for ignoring deviant priests and took testimony from the therapist.
At least once, Manly said, the psychologist evaluated a priest who had sexually abused dozens of women and girls, but apparently missed the signs.
"He was integral to the church's system of putting abuser priests back into service," the lawyer said.
The therapist also worked for the Seattle Archdiocese in the 1980s and '90s, though there has been no business relationship between the two for several years.
He was arrested July 3, after a female psychologist discovered that she had been videotaped while using the restroom in his Montlake office, with a camera hidden inside an air freshener.
On the tape, police say, they saw the 36-year-old woman pulling down her skirt and soon after she left the room, they watched the therapist -- a nationally known expert in child psychology -- masturbating toward the camera, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
Because no charges have been filed, the Seattle P-I is not naming the psychologist, but detectives with the Seattle police Sexual Assault Unit are continuing their investigation.
When questioned by investigators, the 59-year-old man -- a faculty member at the University of Washington -- admitted that he had concealed two cameras "to view his employees in the nude," court records say. He insisted, however, that he had never filmed patients.
Dozens of divorcing parents hired the psychologist to weigh in as a court-appointed expert in their child-custody battles.
"If your evaluator turns out to have some kind of personal problem, does that mean his forensic judgment was impaired?" wondered attorney Ruth Edlund, who has used the man several times during the past five years.
"Who's to say?"
Almost to a person, however, those who recalled their interactions with the analyst expressed shock at the news.
"He is the sort of fellow I'd least expect to be the subject of a dragnet like this," said Joseph Greene, an electrical engineer who paid the man $14,000 to determine Greene's fitness as a parent.
"This guy's got a wall full of credentials."
Attorney Tim Kosnoff, who has long valued the psychologist's judgment as an expert in church abuse cases, was stunned.
"It's terribly ironic," he said. "Here he is evaluating victims of sexual harassment and abuse and he apparently has a problem with it himself."
So highly recommended was the expert that Ryan Greenley was willing to pay $9,500 for his opinion -- one he could present to the courts in a custody battle over his daughter.
"This is the go-to guy, kind of like the dean of parent evaluations in Seattle," Greenley recalled. "Anything he says is pretty much of rubber-stamped."
But now their final conversation rings differently.
"The last thing he told me when I left his office was 'You reap what you sow.' "
P-I reporter Claudia Rowe can be reached at 206-448-8320 or email@example.com.
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