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Were you or a loved one abused by Dr. Daniel Affrunti, a former psychologist based in Farmington, Connecticut? Dr. Affrunti has pleaded no contest to charges of assaulting a high school-aged therapy patient. A young woman says she was coerced into a sexual relationship with the former psychotherapist, who has admitted to abusing his position of trust and power to exploit a vulnerable patient.
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If you or a loved one were abused by Dr. Affrunti, our experienced sexual assault attorneys are here to help. We understand the powerful and painful emotions you must be struggling to deal with. No form of sexual abuse is acceptable, especially when the abuser is a trusted medical professional. You may feel shock, anger, shame, grief or embarrassment.
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You may have powerful legal options at your disposal. When a medical professional abuses their position of trust to commit sexual misconduct, assault survivors are eligible to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, pursuing accountability and financial compensation.
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Former Psychologist Accused Of Sexual Misconduct
Dr. Affrunti was accused in September 2015 of abusing a young woman, his patient, during therapy sessions, but the woman at the time decided not to press charges, the Hartford Courant reports. Affrunti soon chose to surrender his license, after which the two continued to see one another. According to police records, they occasionally had sex following Affrunti's surrender of his medical license.
Ultimately, medical health professionals helped the victim understand that Affrunti was taking advantage of his position of trust and power. She returned to Farmington, Connecticut police in June 2017, telling law enforcement authorities about two incidents in 2016 when Affrunti held her down and touched her inappropriately. Police restarted their investigation into the former psychotherapist, ultimately resulting in charges against the man.
Dr. Affrunti Pleads No Contest To Inappropriate Patient Relationship
Affrunti, 68, was convicted on two misdemeanor counts of second-degree unlawful restraint and two counts of second-degree breach of peace. He received a suspended sentence of three years in prison and two years of probation.
He was initially charged with 12 counts of second-degree sexual assault, accused of exploiting his position as a trusted medical professional and taking advantage of a vulnerable patient. But since Affrunti had surrendered his license prior to much of the sexual conduct, prosecutors believed that pursuing the stronger charges would have proved difficult. A plea agreement was reached in which Affrunti pleaded no contest to lesser charges.
Young Woman Provides Stirring Testimony
At Affrunti's sentencing hearing, the young woman provided stirring testimony against the former physician. "I was 17 when I started seeing [Affrunti]," she said, "a mere high school kid who was suffering from anxiety, depression. Desperate for help, I began seeing a licensed mental health professional who could ease the pains of my illness and help me through everyday life." Soon, she began to open up to Affrunti, disclosing her fears and anxieties.
"But instead of supplying help for me," she continued, "Dr. Affrunti took advantage of my vulnerability, anxiety and depression and exploited me for emotional dependency and sex. He twisted his authority into hurting me, an innocent and vulnerable patient." The woman says her illnesses grew worse under Affrunti, and that she developed post-traumatic stress disorder, including chronic nightmares.
Victim Files Malpractice Lawsuit
The young woman has now started a malpractice case against Dr. Affrunti, a civil lawsuit pursuing financial compensation. Cases of sexual assault, abuse or coercion against doctors are normally treated as medical malpractice lawsuits, because any sexual contact between a patient and a doctor is considered a violation of the medical professional's standard of care.