On June 9, 2022, Palm Coast social worker, Robert Batie, had his license to practice as a clinical social worker in Florida revoked following a disciplinary action brought by the Florida Department of Health Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling just eight months following the Emergency Order. Batie has been a licensed social worker in Florida since 2017.
A Final Order of discipline was entered following Batie’s arrest back in August and subsequently charged with one count of sexual battery on a minor 12-18 by a person in custodial authority, two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and one count of sexual misconduct by a psychotherapist. According to law enforcement, Batie admitted to each act of unlawful sexual activity, as well as his awareness that the victim was a minor.
According to police records, the victim’s school referred the child to Palm Coast Counseling to treat generalized anxiety. Batie met with the alleged victim alone for approximately eleven sessions, each lasting about one hour. During those sessions, police reports indicate Batie engaged “in a course of conduct that could be interpreted as grooming.” Towards the end of the victim’s treatment with Batie, reports revealed that Batie spoke to the victim in a suggestive manner. Florida’s Department of Health says Batie wrote in the treatment notes that the patient was dressed in a “seductive manner” a day before the assault.
On June 28, 2021, during the victim’s last therapy session, Batie reportedly made inappropriate sexual comments and continued to escalate his sexual advances. Reports say Batie positioned himself behind the victim and asked her about her sexuality. Batie also forced the victim to perform and receive oral sex. When the assault ended, Batie warned the victim not to tell anyone because Batie could get into “big trouble” since he was an adult and the patient was a minor.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued an Emergency Order restricting Batie’s social work license on October 13, 2021, on account of this complaint. The allegations made against Batie were deemed credible as there was sufficient evidence. Subsequently, Batie’s license has been revoked, along with a $1,500 fine. He also must pay the investigation fee of $3402.
Batie violated the therapist-patient relationship. A social worker may not use his relationship with a client to induce or attempt to induce the patient to engage or to engage or attempt to engage the patient in sexual activity outside the scope of practice or the scope of generally accepted examination or treatment of the patient.
“Mr. Batie’s conduct of sexually assaulting a minor patient under his care, who trusted him to act professionally and in their best interest, indicates that he is unable to practice as a clinical social worker with reasonable skill and safety to patients,” the Department of Health said in its emergency suspension order. Given the nature of the abuse and Batie’s conduct, the Department of Health labeled Batie’s behavior “an immediate, serious danger to the public health” and decided against allowing him to keep his license with restrictions.
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against medical professionals on behalf of patients who were inappropriately touched in their care. Under no circumstances is a doctor or nurse permitted to have sexual contact with a patient. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery at a medical office or facility, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.