Patient Sues Newark Psychotherapist Over Alleged Sexual Abuse
A woman has filed a lawsuit against Sachin Karnik, owner of Psychotherapeutic Meditation Center in Newark for allegedly taking advantage of her mental condition and sexually abusing her during therapy sessions.
According to the lawsuit, Karnik treated the patient for depression and past abuse with meditation and psychotherapy between July and November 2014. However, their relationship wasn’t like the typical patient-therapist relationship. She had dinner at his mother’s house and went on social outings with him.
After a month of treatment, Karnik reportedly persuaded her to remove her clothes and straddle his lap during a therapy session. The two had sex on multiple occasions, which Karnik called deep meditation.
“Karnik led plaintiff to believe that he was ‘healing’ her while performing the acts described,” the lawsuit said. “Karnik represented to plaintiff that the sexual acts were clinical and part of her treatment plan.”
The lawsuit also claims that Karnik convinced the plaintiff to stop taking her psychiatric medications and offered her money to keep their relationship a secret. When she wouldn’t do that, he told that police that she was suicidal when she wasn’t.
“Karnik used his position of power as [the plaintiff’s] therapist to gain her trust, blur the lines of the therapist-patient relationship and groom her for sexual abuse,” the plaintiff’s attorney, Lauren Cirrinicione, said.
The state suspended Karnik’s license to practice clinical social work in March for falsifying business records, health care fraud and theft by false pretenses.
This isn’t the first time a mental health professional has had sexual contact with a patient. According to a survey, nine to 12 percent of mental health professionals admitted to having sexual relations with their patients.
Andrea Celenza, a psychoanalyst who studies therapist-patient sexual misconduct, said that some of these therapists are predators with a desire to control their patients, but about 60 percent of them fall prey to their own weaknesses.
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