U.P. psychologist summarily suspended for alleged sexual misconduct with patients

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LANSING – An Upper Peninsula psychologist, who has practices in both Iron River and Kingsford, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct with patients.

Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office, on behalf of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), filed an administrative complaint against Psychologist Michael Varney which resulted in a summary suspension of the licensee due to allegations of sexual misconduct with patients.

The Michigan Public Health Code provides for summary suspension of licenses when the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.

The complaint alleges that Varney behaved inappropriately with 10 patients dating back to 2009. Varney’s inappropriate behavior with patients includes:

  • Sending sexually suggestive and inappropriate messages;
  • Requesting sexually suggestive photos;
  • Providing prescription pills in exchange for sexual contact; and
  • Divulging confidential information about other patients.
     

According to the complaint, Varney’s behavior violates nine counts of the Public Health Code including: providing practice-related services in exchange for sexual favors, sexual conduct with a patient while acting within the health profession, betrayal of professional confidence, negligence, incompetence and lack of good moral character.

The summary suspension and administrative complaint is strictly an action on Varney’s psychology license in the State of Michigan.

LARA encourages all concerned residents, patients, parents and peers to file complaints against health professionals who may allegedly be risking public health, safety or welfare.

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