Psychologist sentenced for sex abuse of patient

This was in yesterday’s news from Vermont: Donald Sanborn, a Vermont psychologist, pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse of a mentally-ill patient. Investigators found that, over the years, Sanborn had sex with 12 of his clients and had been disciplined twice by the state.

So the guy gets three years in jail after 30 years of victimizing patients. Well, it’s better than nothing!

Three cheers for the woman who was able to come forward and report Sanborn and for her husband who supported her throughout her ordeal!

Read the entire article from the Rutland Herald here.


BRATTLEBORO — A Bellows Falls psychologist was sentenced to three years in jail Wednesday, his punishment after he admitted he sexually abused one of his mentally ill clients and then billed the state for it.

Donald Sanborn, 66, had pleaded guilty to charges of sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult and Medicaid fraud in 2007 as part of a plea agreement so his mentally-ill victim wouldn’t have to testify.

Sanborn’s attorney and his therapist had sought leniency from District Judge Karen R. Carroll, saying Sanborn was sorry for what he had done and was himself the victim of childhood sexual abuse.

But Carroll rejected those suggestions, and said she agreed with Assistant Attorney General Linda Purdy, who said that Sanborn’s abuse of the woman was only the latest in a 30-year string of unprofessional and unethical, if not illegal, sexual behavior with his clients.

Carroll sentenced Sanborn to the maximum allowed under the plea agreement: a three to seven-year sentence on the sexual abuse charge, with three years to serve, and a zero to seven-year sentence, all suspended, on the Medicaid fraud charge. Sanborn will have to register as a sex offender.

The judge said the time Sanborn is in jail will give the woman a sense of security she now lacks.

“It will provide her with a period of time so she can heal,” the judge said.

Carroll said she was sentencing Sanborn to jail to protect his victim and the general public as well, noting the former therapist had been victimizing patients for more than 30 years.

(Read more)

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  1. I just now,after dr.Don Sanborn has served his pathetic three yr sentence& been released back into the population to roam free amongst the unsuspecting public, am seeing this post& site for the very first time.
    I being of course one of his victims feel Foolish&duped! Not only by the filthy vial mad man Sanborn who is after all a Very Very Disgustingly Ill individual who did violate, rape and sodomize me&countless undeserving trusting others without consent. That which of course were horrific& bad enough having survived! Even more disturbing for me to accept as a victim (of such psychotic events which were all crimes perpetrated by a very sick male dealing with forces& impulses beyond his control), is the lack of fallow up by local/state law enforcement, any& all authorities involved both after& immediately following this such (set of) ordeal(s). As of today Sept 02,2014 NOBODY has EVER been in contact with or fallowed up with ME regarding Dr. Sanborn, our therapy sessions, abuse allegations, or the abuse I actually suffered at his hands. The authorities having confiscated evidence including but not limited to this mans files &his confession alleging the abuse of more than a dozen women in there possession not a single soul saw the need to locate, contact or in any way fallow up with ANY of his other patients and apparently closed the case with no further investigation at all. I KEEP WAITING TO WAKE UP, again in his office from another hypnotic session! Because NO WHERE in the universe in which I dwell would our municipal workers, elected officials, sworn servants civil/criminal, judiciary or law enforcers on any level, EVER allow such a reprehensible crime to go unpunished like this. There are still countless other victims out here awaiting yo be seen, heard, acknowledged, recognized, and given a voice. This man used anti psychotic medications, sedatives& other types of RX medications to render his patients unconscious, as well as exploiting the tools in which the medical& psychiatric field had armed him with, in an educated manner to subdue his victims. Luring us/me into a false sense of security he used the applied techniques of hypnosis& hypnotic suggestion as well to aid him in transferring blame, shifting our thoughts, lower our inhibitions,& manipulate time lines, dates, facts, figures& spacial awareness to his advantage.( In my case he, over the course of time, was able to inevitably alter my personality all together, changing who I was as a human being, my fundamental values,& moral fiber were skewed right down to the very core I became unrecognizable, even to myself. I accepted that I now had credibility issues& no longer seen as a decent productive member of society. ) Even so, giving the nature of the case itself& the fact that this mans m.o (mode of operation) was based on victimizing already vulnerable, unstable, needy, ill, people in poor mental health or a weakened state of being to which he often diagnosed incorrectly as well to justify increasing time or frequency of sessions or to out right discredit, damned &condemned as certified liars &insane. It shouldn’t matter who I am, what I have or haven’t done with/in my life? All that should be taken into account is that I am an innocent person who has been victimized &suffered at the hands of my psychotherapist! I AM A PERSON TOO! I have as much value as the one woman he was caught red handed abusing, & so do all the rest of his victims out there whom I’m told will never see the inside of a court room, be given the same opportunity or right to face this rapist, as the time limit& statute of limitation to prosecute said crimes, I’m now told has since passed! This is a disgrace! And I am appalled, shamed& sickened that nobody did a damned thing to aid us women who are in turmoil& suffer true consequences daily in our struggle to move on from this crisis. I say WHERE IS EVERYBODY? Where is the public outcry, crisis intervention team, barrage of legal counselors, victims advocates, & crack team of prosecutors pulling out every legal maneuver on the books to condemn this sicko& keep society safe from this ever happening again? I expected to see this on fox news some morning& visibly see the support being rallied as other victims& survivors came forward in defiance. Instead I stand alone, still picking up the pieces& reeling from the realization that 12 plus women have been forgone &swept under the rug. Where’s the justice in that/

    • Hi Barbara,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story and your feelings. I can only imagine the pain you’ve experienced.

      Yes, you deserve to have a voice. You deserve to be heard. You deserve to heal. You deserve to have a life you love. May you have all this and more!

      All the best to you,

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