POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA – According to a Detective in the Polk County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of psychiatrist Robert Morgenthal for “Sexual Misconduct by a Therapist”. This comes on the heels of the “voluntary relinquishment with discipline” of his license to practice in Florida – his only choice other than a full investigation resulting in an inevitable revocation. In the words of the Final Order from the Florida Department of Health, “…relinquishment specifically provides that Respondent [Morgenthal] agrees never again to apply for licensure as a physician in the State of Florida.”

CCHR Florida initially documented and filed a complaint regarding Dr. Morgenthal’s excessive prescribing of psychotropic medications to his patients. Yet the more grievous of his crimes came to light later on, when the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance issued 33 Emergency Suspension Orders (ESOs) and Emergency Restriction Orders (EROs) in June 2016 for serious violations, which could include the commission of crimes, violations of standards of care, drug use, impairment, drug diversion, sexual misconduct or student loan defaults. [i]

Included in this list was none other than Dr. Morgenthal, whose license was suspended on June 20, 2016 for gross sexual misconduct incidents that occurred between 2013 to 2015.[ii]

Scenes of the Crimes

The incidents occurred in two different facilities in Florida, at Peace River Center in Lakeland (Polk County), and at Central Florida Behavioral Health, which is in Orlando (Orange County), and part of a chain of for-profit psychiatric facilities owned by Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS). This facility is no stranger to controversy and criminal activity, shockingly still in business despite continuous reports of violations including:

  • Local attorney Mac McLeod wins settlement of more than $10 million in Orange County wrongful death case. Date: April 23, 2016
  • Feds widen fraud probe of Universal Health Services to include headquarters. Date: April 1, 2015
  • Questions surround man’s death while in care of Central Florida Behavioral Date: October 9, 2014[iii]

Meanwhile the fiscal report for Central Florida Behavioral Hospital looked like this in 2015:

  • They showed total assets of $39,854,335.58
  • Their General Revenue income for the year was only $7,121.75
  • But their Contract Income from Medicaid, The Dept. of Children and Families and the Juvenile Welfare Board was $80,429,807.50[iv]

However that’s the subject of another investigation…

Filing Criminal Complaints

After learning of the ERO, CCHR stepped up their filing of complaints on Morgenthal and immediately sent formal criminal complaints to the State Attorney’s Office Ninth Judicial Circuit, the State Attorney’s Office Tenth Judicial Circuit (Polk County), and the Orange County Sheriff’s office.  The result was that a Detective with the Polk County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations Special Victims Unit contacted CCHR and stated that he had been assigned to investigate the case.

After an extensive investigation the Detective reported to CCHR that a case was submitted to the State Attorney’s Office and a warrant was issued for Robert Morgenthal’s arrest for Sexual Misconduct by a Therapist.

Meanwhile, in Georgia…

Morgenthal was not only licensed in Florida but also held an active license in Georgia. To ensure that he wouldn’t simply head north and continue to practice in another state, CCHR filed a complaint at the same time with the Georgia Composite Board of Medicine.

The Georgia Composite Board of Medicine accepted a voluntary surrender of Morgenthal’s license and as stated in the Final Order, “this surrender shall be considered to be and have the same effect as a revocation of my [Morgenthal] license, and I [Morgenthal] knowingly forfeit and relinquish all right, title and privilege of practicing medicine in the State of Georgia.” [v]

And that is how CCHR Florida is working to reform mental health and bring criminal psychiatrists to justice!

 

[i] FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ISSUES 33 EMERGENCY SUSPENSION AND RESTRICTION ORDERS IN JUNE 2016

http://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2016/07/071416-june-eso-ero.html

[ii] ROBERT JOSEPH MORGENTHAL License Number: ME86083 Data As Of 8/25/2017 

https://appsmqa.doh.state.fl.us/MQASearchServices/HealthcareProviders/LicenseVerification?LicInd=83526&Procde=1501&org=%20

[iii] FOR-PROFIT PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS RAKE IN MILLIONS WHILE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD

http://www.cchrflorida.org/for-profit-psychiatric-hospitals-rake-in-millions-while-under-investigation-for-fraud/#_edn8

[iv] FOR-PROFIT PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS RAKE IN MILLIONS WHILE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD

http://www.cchrflorida.org/for-profit-psychiatric-hospitals-rake-in-millions-while-under-investigation-for-fraud/#_edn8

[v] ROBERT JOSEPH MORGENTHAL, M.D. License No. 052221, Respondent https://services.georgia.gov/dch/mebs/retrieveBoardOrder.do?licenseNumber=052221&boardTypeId=2