Tag: social worker sex abuse

Palm Coast Social Worker Robert Batie Get License Revoked Due to Sexual Misconduct With Teen Client

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 Subsequently, Batie’s license has been revoked, along with a $1,500 fine.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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.

Gari Tookes Horowitz Law

FAMU Professor Gari Tookes Arrested On Three Counts of Child Molestation

According to a Leon County Sheriff’s Office press releaseon April 29, 2021, Professor Gari Tookes was arrested on three counts of child molestation charges (sexual battery, lewd and lascivious battery, and lewd and lascivious molestation) in Tallahassee, Florida.  

Gari Tookes, age 36, a prominent professor at Florida A&M University and Social Worker, was charged with sexually abusing a minor.  Investigators say the abuse began when the child was in elementary school and continue until the boy was a teenager. 

Media reports indicate that on February 23, 2021, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office received information from the Florida Department of Children and Families stating that they received a report through the state hotline detailing the sexual abuse and battery of a minor allegedly made by Gari Tookes. The Sheriff’s Office stated, “Through investigative means, LCSO Violent Crimes detectives learned Tookes had criminal sexual contact with the victim for several years before the report. Detectives also learned Tookes had communicated through text messages about the sexual contact with the victim, which corroborated the victim’s initial report.”

The victim told investigators that Tookes touched him inappropriately and that the abuse “literally happened all the time.” Tookes was arrested and transported to the Leon County Detention Facility. 

Tookes has been an assistant professor at the Florida A&M University’s College of Social Sciences and a research grantee at FAMU’s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative. In a March 2020 announcement from the university, he was listed as the school’s Master of Social Work program director. The university originally hired him in August 2018. His relationship with the university is under review.

According to Florida Department of Health records, Tookes is also a clinical social worker, with a license issued in 2016 and valid through 2023. 

Schools are educational institutions in which children can learn and develop skills in a nurturing environment. It is expected that they are safe from violence, bullying, harassment, and sexual abuse.  Teachers are entrusted to facilitate learning and support the educational needs of their students. Someone who sexually violates young children has no place working in the school system. Any school in which such a crime is committed must take responsibility for failing to properly screen potential teachers and protect their students. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse in schools and other educational settings. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, raped, or sexually molested by a principal, teacher or another school employee, contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.