BANGOR, Maine — A former psychologist pleaded guilty Friday to engaging in sex acts with a client in his Bangor office and billing the therapy sessions to MaineCare, according to a press release from Maine Attorney General William Schneider.
John A. Keefe, 60, of Veazie pleaded guilty in Penobscot County Superior Court to one count of class C gross sexual assault and one count of class B theft by deception. He was sentenced on each count to three years in prison with all but four months suspended, to be served concurrently, and two years of probation.
Keefe was also ordered to pay $14,806.52 in restitution to MaineCare.
He is scheduled to report to Penobscot County Jail on Monday.
From 2007 to 2010, Keefe engaged in sexual acts with a female client while claiming to provide her with mental health therapy, according to the release. Some of the sexual acts occurred at Keefe’s office at Columbia Psychology Associates in Bangor during therapy sessions that Keefe charged to MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
“Medical professionals in Maine are held to high ethical standards and conduct that exploits patients is a breach of trust,” Schneider said in the release. “Committing sexual assault of a patient is not only immoral, it is illegal and punishable by jail time.”
Keefe surrendered his license to practice psychology in Maine on June 22, 2010, according to the release. His license was previously suspended in 1996 after he was reprimanded by the Maine Board of Examiners of Psychologists for engaging in “sexual intimacies” with a client. He was fined $6,000, and his license was reinstated in 1998.
Further proceedings regarding Keefe’s license are expected, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The recent case was investigated by the Bangor Police Department and Attorney General Schneider’s Criminal Division, Healthcare Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
The Healthcare Crimes Unit is the Medicaid fraud control unit for the state of Maine charged with investigating and prosecuting financial fraud and other crimes committed by MaineCare providers or their employees, and investigating and prosecuting abuse, neglect or exploitation that occurs in health care facilities or is committed by health care providers.
Keefe formerly wrote a column for the Bangor Daily News in 1997 and contributed to the newspaper’s “Finding a Fix” column about substance abuse.