TALLAHASSEE — A psychotherapist practicing in Oviedo has been denied the appeal of his emergency license restriction that prevented him from treating female patients due to allegations of sexual misconduct.
According to the April 16 Florida District Court of Appeal filing, petitioner Gerard Kruse asked the court to review the September 2017 emergency restriction placed on his license by the respondent, the State of Florida Department of Health, that prohibits Kruse from treating patients of the opposite sex. Kruse's suspension stems from allegations made in June 2017 by a 27-year-old female patient Kruse was treating for post-traumatic stress caused from her being sexually abused and the victim of a violent sexual attack.
After about a month of treatment, during one of her sessions, the patient claims Kruse grabbed her buttocks and attempted to kiss her as she tried to pull away. The patient also alleges that in previous sessions, Kruse was "flirtatious" and had asked to see photos of her and then remarking that she was attractive.
Kruse argues that the incident was "a single act of insufficient seriousness" and did not amount to having his license restricted. The State of Florida Department of Health claimed Kruse violated state law by "committing any act upon a patient or client which would constitute sexual battery" or "sexual misconduct." In their license restriction order, the State of Florida Department of Health concluded that Kruse disregarded the health of his patient and lacked the "judgment or moral character to hold a position of power or trust" with patients.
The court disagreed with Kruse and stated that the allegations against him "are clearly sufficient" and that his "misconduct is readily concealable, as evidenced by allegations" of him "forcibly" grabbing and kissing the patient as she tried to leave. The court cited case precedent and that the Florida Department of Health's order restricting Kruse from seeing female patients "is necessary to protect the public."
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