State: Take license from Sebring clinician
By ROBERT BOYER | Highlands Today
May 3, 2011
ARCADIA – The state of Florida wants to strip the professional credentials of a licensed mental health counselor from Sebring who was charged in 2010 with sexual misconduct with a sexual predator under her care.
The counselor, Leanne Paynter, was charged last May 19 after authorities said she had sex with a 42-year-old male inmate at the Florida Civil Commitment Center, a 660-bed secure treatment facility in DeSoto County for sexual predators and those who have been detained or civilly committed under the Sexually Violent Predator Act.
The center contracts with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
On Sept. 24, 2010, Paynter signed a pre-trial intervention program agreement, DeSoto County court records show. Although not probation, the program is supervised through probation, a DeSoto County clerk of court said. The felonious charge against Paynter will be dropped if she completes the requirements of the program, the clerk added.
The inmate, identified only as “GM,” told authorities he and Paynter had sex about 17 times on the floor of Paynter’s office, according to the petition from the Florida Department of Health filed April 15 that seeks to permanently revoke or suspend Paynter’s license, deny her any future license, impose a reprimand and fine, and place her “on probation, corrective action, continuing education, and/or any other relief that the Board (of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling) deems appropriate.”
On April 19, April 23, May 3 and May, 7, 2010, security cameras captured Paynter and the inmate “alone for extended periods,” the petition stated. During the last three dates, “The pair would remain on the floor together” for 90 minutes to 3 hours.