Tacoma drug counselors under investigation
The counselors include the owner of A Change Counseling Services, Clarence Farmer, and two former counselors at the clinic – Barutay Lamkin and Kathy Dastrup.In March, the KING 5 Investigators reported on state documents that counselors at A Change were allegedly accepting bribes from clients and falsely reporting to judges that criminal offenders were in compliance with their court-ordered treatment.
The report showed that A Change and its staff have been under investigation by the WA Department of Health and the Department of Social and Health Services for years.However, their licenses have never been pulled, and the clinic has received only one $1000 fine.
This month, Pierce County District Court Judges decided to stop accepting A Change Counseling treatment and evaluations of offenders, following the lead of Tacoma Municipal and Pierce County Superior Court.The state would not confirm the nature of the investigations against the three counselors.
Until recently, A Change was a clinic that courts referred offenders to when sentenced to alcohol or drug treatment for their crimes.
Farmer has declined to discuss the case with KING 5.A 2008 investigation into a bribery claim against Farmer closed with what state investigators said was “insufficient evidence.”
Lamkin did not get identified in KING 5’s original reports in March. However, the TV station is revealing his identity now because he’s under investigation by the state.Lamkin did not respond to a recent message seeking comment.
However, earlier this year he said he did not take client’s money because "it’s unethical, number one, and it’s against the law.”Lamkin told KING 5 that another employee at A Change was accepting bribes. Lamkin said he reported her to Farmer and Farmer, and in turn, fired Lamkin.
The State Department of Health says it has two open investigations against counselor Kathy Dastrup.In texts to KING 5, she said certain, and unidentified people are behind her name being "smeared all over TV.”
Dastrup said she looks forward to the day "when all is said and done, and the media learns of my innocent history with these insane people.”