A woman set beds on fire in motel rooms, then got committed to the Florida State Hospital (psychiatric). There she was met by a FSH employee, psychologist Jeffrey Lynn Benoit, who had sex with her (a felony), he married her while Benoit was still married to another woman, he got arrested for domestic violence, etc. etc.
Benoit just got his psychologist license revoked by the state and was fined $30,000. He is also wanted in
Jackson County, Florida for failure to appear on a charge of battery.
Psychiatrist’s license revoked [he’s actually a psychologist]
Doctor wanted in Jackson County
By MORGAN CARLSON and DEBORAH BUCKHALTER
November 21, 2010
A Jackson County doctor has had his psychiatry license revoked after the state found he violated multiple laws while he was employed at Florida State Hospital, including sexual misconduct with a patient.
The doctor, Jeffrey Lynn Benoit, is also wanted in Jackson County for failure to appear on a charge of battery. A warrant was issued on Sept. 10, according to Major Donnie Branch with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
In April of this year, Benoit and his second wife were both arrested in Jackson County n domestic violence charges. They both failed to appear and warrants for their arrest were issued. The woman was picked up on the battery warrant and several other warrants in October.
Benoit is still wanted in Jackson County.
The Chattahoochee Police Department has jurisdiction over Florida State Hospital. The Department of Health is supposed to report criminal violations to the proper prosecuting authority. As of September, the Chattahoochee Police Department had not received any information from the Department of Health in regard to Benoit, according to an investigator with the police department.
Chattahoochee Police Department officials could not be reached Friday regarding Benoit’s case. It is not known if the police department has an open investigation on Benoit.
An official at the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office said Friday there are no active warrants in the county for Benoit.
The Florida Board of Psychology revoked Benoit’s license on Nov. 10, after it reviewed a detailed administrative complaint filed on July 8 by the Department of Health that alleged multiple violations of Florida statutes, according to the final order from the board.
The first count was committing any act upon a patient that would constitute sexual misconduct. The second was making misleading, deceptive, untrue or fraudulent representation in the practice of the profession of psychology.
The third count was failing to meet the minimum standard of performance in professional activities when measured against generally prevailing peer performance, including the undertaking of activities for which the licensee is not qualified by training or experience.
The board found Benoit violated the third count by marrying his patient while he was still married to his first wife, according to the complaint.
According to the final order from the Board of Psychology, Benoit was given the opportunity, but didn’t reply to the administrative complaint, “nor contested the factual allegations.”
The board found the allegations in the administrative complaint to be factual, and approved and adopted the complaint, revoking Benoit’s license and fining him $43,182 in total.
he complaint details a series of events involving Benoit and his patient-turned-wife that occurred over more than three years and started at the Florida State Hospital. According to the complaint, Benoit’s patient was committed to Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee in February 2008, after she was arrested on two arson charges in Jackson County.
In those incidents, she allegedly set a bed on fire in a hotel room on Oct. 22, 2007, and did the same on Oct. 24, 2007 at a different hotel.
An evaluation carried out after the alleged incidents determined her to be incompetent to proceed to trial, due to mental illness. She was assigned to Benoit’s care shortly after being admitted to the hospital in Chattahoochee in February.
The Department of Health wrote that the woman was diagnosed with depression with psychotic features, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
After several treatment sessions, the department alleges Benoit began making sexually suggestive remarks to the woman. The department also alleges that one day he locked his office door and kissed her.
Beginning in or around May 2008, the department alleges Benoit began having sexual relations with her in his office at Florida State Hospital, while she was still his patient.
He allegedly brought her gifts and told her he was not married, although he was, according to the administrative complaint.
In May, the woman’s recovery team determined that she was competent to proceed with her court case. A hearing was set for June 13, 2008.
he day before the hearing was to take place, Benoit wrote to the court advising of the woman’s ongoing need for treatment, her current anxiety and condition, adding he felt she was still competent to proceed to trial.
But later the same day, Benoit sent a second letter to the court, saying he felt she was not competent to face the charges in court. No hearing was held on June 13. A hearing was conducted about a month later, however, on July 15, 2008, and she was determined not guilty by reason of insanity in the Jackson County arson cases. He was ordered committed, and remained at Florida State Hospital.
he administrative complaint states that, a few days later, Benoit moved out of the house he shared with his wife, telling her he wanted a divorce and that he wanted to keep the matter quiet.
Around the same time, in late July, Benoit’s unit supervisor asked him to stop treating the victim because “he seemed to be losing objectivity” with regard to the patient. She was transferred to the care of another psychologist.
In his last progress notes on the woman that month, Benoit noted he believed she was ready for discharge.
In August 2008, he wrote to the woman’s attorney and advised that he’d been taken off her treatment team, and wouldn’t be able to write a report to the court recommending discharge.
He also told the attorney that he and the woman’s current recovery team disagreed on her suitability for discharge. He asked the lawyer to submit paperwork to the ourt on the woman’s behalf seeking her discharge.
Later in August, Benoit allegedly sent an e-mail about her upcoming competency hearing to his superior at Florida State Hospital, the same individual who had taken him off the woman’s case.
Benoit indicated in his e-mail that a court date had been set in her case and that he would be required to testify. He asked permission to meet with the woman twice before the hearing “for a duration of one to one-and-one-half hours for each meeting to evaluate (the woman’s) mental status and functioning.”
he superior wrote back, asking if Benoit was the woman’s private psychologist. Benoit said no, but reminded his superior of his role as a past evaluator and treatment provider.
he next day, the superior denied Benoit’s request to meet with and evaluate the woman, pointing out that Benoit was no longer part of the treatment team. Benoit was also ordered not to testify at the hearing, according to the complaint. In spite of that, he testified at the September hearing “against the orders of FSH,” according to the complaint, and offered an opinion that did not match her newly assigned team’s analysis.
He said in that hearing that she should be discharged. Her current psychologist said she wasn’t ready to leave the facility.
The hearing judge decided to release the woman, but with the understanding that she would follow the terms of a conditional release plan.
After Benoit testified against orders, Florida State Hospital took disciplinary actions, removing him from all resident contact and responsibilities the next day.
he woman was released the day after, diagnosed with major depressive disorder, recurrent and severe, with psychotic features in partial remission and with prolonged post-traumatic stress disorder.
The day of her release, another FSH employee reported seeing Benoit at the woman’s home.
Department of Health investigators also learned that Benoit had sent the woman’s mother a cashier’s check for $1,400, to help pay for rent and other expenses. When confronted about his visits and the check, Benoit admitted having visited the woman several times after she was discharged, but denied having sent the check. Eventually, he admitted giving the money and said he did so “just out of the kindness of my heart.” He said he had no personal relationship with the former patient.
Benoit resigned from Florida State Hospital on Oct. 1, 2008. His notice of separation reflects that he was the subject of an FSH investigation at the time his employment ended, and that he was resigning in lieu of dismissal.
Before long, Benoit and the woman were living together. The Department of Health complaint states that a warranty deed reflects Benoit and the woman bought a home in Marianna for $377,000 in February 2009.
A certificate of marriage from Houston County, Ala., shows they were married in Dothan on March 26, 2009, while Benoit was still legally married to his first wife. His first marriage was not dissolved until October 2009.
As of June 3, 2009, the woman and Benoit were no longer in a steady relationship. According to the department, she stated she was afraid of Benoit. However, the two have reconciled and separated at least once after that time.
She gave birth to a son in March of this year, with Benoit named as the father on the birth certificate.