Forensic Psychologist 
Member since Dec 15, 2017


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Re: “Oakland Counseling Guru Accused of Sexual Assault

As a psychologist and evaluator of sexually violent predators statewide, I want to start by pointing out that when multiple victims tell nearly identical stories related to crimes they suffered at the hands of one person, psychological probability is significantly increased. That said, Mr. Bearman will have his day in court if his attorney believes that the myriad of victims and witnesses that will testify will not be credible to a jury. Undoubtedly, he will have a parade of witnesses that will tell the jury what a great guy he is.

On the surface, and based strictly upon victim accounts to the newspaper, Mr. Bearman is a sexually violent predator, plain and simple. He is the type of person that would likely be confined to a state hospital after he serves his prison sentence. Crucially, this does not mean that he is only a predator. Hundreds of the men that I evaluate in the state hospital have many redeeming qualities, have loved ones who want their release, people who can't believe they did what they are accused of, have contributed to society in positive ways, etc. and they repeatedly raped people or molested children.

In coming to the conclusion above, I want to emphasize that Mr. Bearman's behavior was not simply the transgression of therapist/patient boundaries. Unfortunately, that happens all too often and when it is uncovered, usually results in a person having their license taken away if they are a member of a licensing board. In recent years, the head of the SF Psychoanalytic Institute has his license taken away from the AMA after it was determined he had sex with a patient. Obviously, manipulation and seduction of a patient is wrong in every instance. However, it is not strictly illegal unless the patient is a minor. Giving a person drugs and then having sex with them against their will is not simply mental manipulation and boundary violation- it is a crime and is behavior that rises to a completely different level. The defense that it happened in drug infested situations that were highly sexualized be design is about as persuasive as the many men who claim that they didn't actually rape a prostitute because there were drugs involved and ultimately their behavior was the result of a disagreement about the financial arrangement.

Ultimately, if we are to believe the victims (which I do and unless there is something very unique about this case, more will come forward in the days to come), Mr. Bearman perpetrated paraphilic acts based upon a sexual arousal to coercive sexual contact. By all accounts, he had access to consenting partners throughout the time that he committed these crimes. There was something compelling about this type of sex for him and it cannot be written off as sexual addiction. The world is replete with sex addicts who satisfy their addiction through pornography, masturbation, prostitutes, multiple consenting partners, etc. When people suffer with underlying paraphilic disorders, their chance of repeating these behaviors and creating more victims goes up significantly. In summary, I am sure Mr. Bearman was a nice man to many, helped many others, and even contributed to the discussion of male sexuality in a meaningful way. None of this negates the fact that he is also a sexual predator and is likely to continue to be one until he receives sex offender treatment which, hopefully, he will get after he serves a lengthy prison sentence.

Posted by Forensic Psychologist on 12/15/2017 at 12:41 PM

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