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COLUMN ONE : The Dark Corner of Psychology : Sex with patients triggers 50% of complaints about psychologists to state's Medical Board. As the case of one therapist shows, victims' private revelations can become tools of exploitation.

April 15, 1993|NORA ZAMICHOW | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Charles Hansen set a date to come to my home. It was mutually agreed that it was for the purpose of a sexual encounter," Jenny said. "He had worked on me in therapy and outside therapy to set me up for this. I was depressed and needy. It was the same thing I experienced with (my stepfather). There was this part of me that knew right from wrong, and part of me thought this was OK," Jenny said. "There was nothing romantic about the sex. It was very cold and mechanical."

Immediately afterward, Hansen drove off in his Mercedes. On the table, he left a partially used drug vial. Jenny was surprised--after all the buildup, after the months of heavy campaigning, the sex was "unsatisfying," she said. This is just another man who hates women, she remembered thinking.

After that evening, Hansen cut her off. He would not return calls.

"Looking back, he so pressured me, set me up and pushed this on me. After that, he dropped me like a hot potato," Jenny said. "I felt betrayed, abandoned, embarrassed and humiliated. I had been abandoned by every male in my family, and here was another major rejection.

"In my mind, he didn't do anything different than (my stepfather) had done."

Today, Jenny is bitter.

"Now I can say it was a deliberate campaign and that it was a control thing. He had a need to control, conquer and when it was done, he walked away. Why was that so important to Hansen? Why did he have to do that to so many women?" she said. "Over time, I'd like to look at Chuck Hansen like a bad dream that's behind me."

She and the others are trying to rebuild shattered lives. For Jenny, it has taken years. Others say they will never fully recover. They ask themselves painful questions: Had they seen another therapist, would their marriage have been salvaged? Would they have made better professional choices? Would their children be healthier today?

"I am so deeply infuriated, it's hard to describe. I feel robbed of a period of my life that should have been much happier. I didn't have to come out of therapy needing more help than when I went in," said Ann, crying during an interview in a Santa Monica restaurant. "There were serious problems between me and my husband. If we'd gotten proper help, we might have ended our marriage sooner or we might not have done it all.

"Hansen robbed all of us of a life we might have been able to have. It's not just bad therapy, it is the loss of what might have been."

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