A new civil lawsuit charges that a Capitola psychologist performed lewd acts with an eight year old girl under his care.
The suit against Dr. John William Visher (a.k.a. "Dr. Bill"), was filed in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on October 19. In January 2012, she disclosed what had happened during her sessions with Dr. Visher. As a result of that conversation, her family filed a report with the Capitola Police Department. A search warrant was issued for Visher’s residence and place of business, and following the search, an arrest warrant was issued for Dr. Visher on September 19, 2012.
A week after his arrest, Judge Paul Burdick ordered that Visher cease practicing psychology until the criminal trial is over. On October 9, Visher pled not guilty to five felony charges including lewd act upon a child, sending harmful matter and several counts of possession of matter depicting minor engaging in sexual conduct in Santa Cruz County Superior Court. The State Board of Psychology has restricted his license as a condition of his release.
Leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are praising the young victim for her courage.
“It is incredibly difficult to speak up about sexual abuse at such a young age, especially when it involves a trusted authority figure,” said David Clohessy, SNAP Director. “This young girl is tremendously brave, and by speaking out now she is likely preventing other kids from being hurt by this alleged predator.”
During the course of the investigation, Detective Ryan of the Capitola Police Department uncovered complaints about abuse of two boys who were ages six and ten at the time.
“While Ms. Doe is very sad that her daughter was abused by the defendant after two minor patients had previously been harmed by Dr. Bill, she is also extremely grateful to law enforcement officials who investigated this case against a trusted, child psychologist who has treated Santa Cruz area kids for 30 years,” said attorney/psychologist Joseph C. George (916-641-7300, firstname.lastname@example.org) who is representing the child.
Specifically, the suit charges Visher with sexual harassment, professional negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified damages.
“Please contact Detective Sarah Ryan at (831) 475-4242, extension 211, if anyone has any information that might be helpful to the police” urged Karen Doe, the mother of the victim.
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