Training ordered for therapist who advised family of abused girl

BOTHELL — A mental health therapist has agreed to take additional classes and reimburse the state $3,000 to end a state investigation into a complaint that she once recommended a 15-year-old girl sleep in the same bed as her adoptive parents.

The family heeded Lynne Slaeker’s advice and about a month later the girl’s adoptive father began sexually assaulting the teen. Years later, the victim revealed the weekly abuse to Slaeker, who immediately reported the allegations to Child Protective Services.

The man was convicted of several sex crimes in 2012 in Snohomish County Superior Court. He is serving a six-year prison sentence. The Herald isn’t naming the man to protect the victim’s identity.

The state Department of Health launched an investigation after police detectives turned up evidence that Slaeker had recommended “family bed therapy.”

The therapy was suggested to help the girl’s “anxiety and promote bonding of the new family,” according to health department records. This was despite the teen “being a post-pubertal adolescent with a history of abuse,” state investigators said.

The Snohomish couple had adopted the girl after she was rescued from a polygamous clan in Utah, where she was sexually and physically abused.

The girl was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and Slaeker began treating her in 2006. She also began seeing the girl’s adoptive parents for marital issues and individual therapy. The therapist “undertook the treatment of this complex family situation and did not refer (the teen) for individualized treatment,” state records said.

Investigators concluded that Slaeker didn’t document that she had assessed each family member. She also didn’t develop a treatment plan for the trio. State investigators didn’t find any documentation that Slaeker set treatment goals or monitored her clients’ progress toward those goals.

Last month, Slaeker entered a stipulated disposition with the state Department of Health to resolve the complaint. She didn’t admit any wrongdoing but agreed to increased monitoring by the state. As part of the agreement, the state may audit her records and make unannounced visits to her Bothell office twice a year for two years.

Slaeker also agreed to take 12 hours of classes in the area of treatment plans and referrals of difficult complex situations. She also must pay the state $3,000.

A stipulated agreement is not viewed as formal discipline against a provider, health department spokesman Donn Moyer said.

“It means that both parties have resolved a charge informally, as a way to move ahead,” he said.

Slaeker sent the following statement to The Herald when contacted Tuesday: “Allegations made were the subject of a very thorough and extensive investigation by the Washington State Department of Health. The Department of Health found nothing wrong with the quality of professional care provided.”

The stipulation is reported to the federal National Practitioner Data Bank, which is available to hospitals, medical, dental and licensing boards and other health care providers. Records are not open to the public.

The statement of allegations and the agreement, however, are available to the public on the state Department of Health’s web site, as part of the provider credential search.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com

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