Florida state hospital psychologist Jeffrey Benoit loses license; had sex with patient, married her

In psychologist, sexual exploitation by a psychotherapist on November 24, 2010 at 5:30 pm

On November 10, 2010, the state of Florida revoked the license of psychologist Jeffrey Lynn Benoit after he violated multiple laws while employed at Florida State Psychiatric Hospital at Chattahoochie.

On July 7, 2010, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued an Administrative Complaint against Benoit, accusing him of having sexual relations with a patient, then marrying her while he was still married to his first wife. The DOH’s complaint states that the patient was committed to Chatahoochie in February 2008 following the commission of two incidents of arson (which the woman stated were suicide attempts) and that by May, Benoit began having sexual relations with the woman in his office at the hospital.

In July 2008, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the arson cases and ordered committed, remaining in the Florida State Hospital. Benoit’s unit supervisor asked him to stop treating the patient because “he seemed to be losing objectivity” with regard to her. She was transferred to the care of another psychologist.

Despite not being her doctor and against orders, he advocated for the woman’s release, resulting the hospital removing him from all resident contact and responsibilities the next day.

The day the woman was released, a hospital employee reported seeing Benoit at the woman’s home.

Before long, Benoit and the woman were living together. Benoit came under hospital internal investigation and resigned shortly thereafter.

DOH’s complaint states that a warranty deed shows Benoit and the woman bought a home together in February 2009 and a certificate of marriage from Houston County, Ala., shows they were married in March 2009 – while Benoit was still legally married to his first wife.

The former patient gave birth to a son in March 2010, the birth certificate naming Benoit as the father. They were both arrested a month later on domestic violence charges, according to the Department of Health complaint.

Benoit is currently wanted in Jackson County, Florida for failure to appear to answer to a battery charges. A warrant for his arrest was issued September 10, 2010.

Source: Administrative Complaint, Florida Department of Health v. Jeffrey Lynn Benoit, Ph.D., Case No. 2008-22227 and Morgan Carlson and Deborah Buckhalter, “Psychiatrist’s license revoked,” Jackson County Floridian, 21 November 2010.

  1. A question that no-one has asked so far: Why did the DOH not issue an emergency suspension as soon as they became aware of this misconduct, which probably was no later than November 2008 as Dr. Benoit’s criminal conduct was generating written complaints to the Psychology Board by horrified co-workers? He could have continued to practice until May 31, 2010 upon which date he allowed his license to lapse. He did continue to practice for a time after leaving Florida State Hospital, but it is not clear whether he saw patients or just served as a consultant. Either way, DOH fell down on the job in its obligation to protect the public.

    • You are asking the right questions. The answers are probably the same as those regarding psychiatrist Emmanuel Falcone, who was hired at the Florida State Prison at Raiford, despite knowledge that he’d had his New York license revoked for sex with a patient. These medical boards are made up in large part of other physicians. They share an often blind loyalty. Never trust a board of physicians to enact swift and meaninful discipline on one of their own.

  2. If the victim wasn’t capable of giving consent to a sex act, doesn’t this make Dr. Benoit a rapist? Shouldn’t he be on a sex offender registry? Therapist=the rapist.

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