The woman was arrested for DUI and faced up to a year in jail if convicted. But her lawyer worked with prosecutors and cut a deal -- no jail time if she obtained counseling and treatment for alcohol abuse.
Substance abuse treatment is expensive, and in this case the woman couldn't afford private care. Instead, she sought treatment from Dr. David Scratchley, a top clinician at the Matt Talbot Center, a Seattle nonprofit providing substance abuse and other services to homeless and low-income people.
After being treated for more than a year, the woman was shocked when the Talbot Center reported to the court that there was no record of her ever being seen there.
"The letter from the Talbot Center essentially disavowed any knowledge of my client ever having been there," said attorney Nick Juhl.
A judge was ready to revoke the deferred prosecution agreement for Juhl's client and send her to jail. But the client was saved when her probation officer produced letters he'd received regularly from Scratchley that documented her "excellent progress in alcohol treatment at the Talbot Center."
Scratchley was a go-to expert for people battling drug and alcohol addiction in Western Washington. He appeared in training videos used to teach other substance abuse professionals. He taught at Seattle University, served as community health director at Seattle Children's Home, and ultimately landed a job in 2006 running the Talbot Center's recovery and relapse prevention program.
But Juhl's client wasn't the only person to have a problem with Scratchley. A KING 5 investigation found three cases of women who say their lives were nearly destroyed by Scratchley. Documents obtained by KING 5 paint a picture of a man who vowed to help people overcome addiction ... while doing drugs himself, entering a sexual relationship with a patient and failing to keep records of counseling sessions.
In one case, a Redmond woman said she sought treatment from Scratchley for her addiction to the sleep medication Ambien. But the instead of treating her, the woman said Scratchley introduced her to other harmful drugs.
"He introduced her to crack. He introduced her to cocaine, and from there, they began a relationship," said Steven Reich, the woman's attorney.
"The proper due diligence wasn't performed before he was hired and the proper supervision wasn't taken after he was hired," Reich said. His client is now suing the Talbot Center.
Officials at the Talbot Center said they too were surprised by Scratchley's failure to properly document the treatment he was apparently providing.
"We were watching him very closely. In fact, he had an impeccable background and service," said Michael Patterson, an attorney who represents Catholic Community Centers, which runs the Talbot Center.
"It's very unfortunate he chose to use as a facade the CCS Matt Talbot Center to do this," Patterson said. (Read an excerpt of CCS' response to the suit filed by Reich's client.)
The Redmond woman represented by Reich was also involved in a bizarre case that ultimately landed Scratchley in jail.
According to charging documents, Scratchley befriended the son of another Talbot Center patient and lured the boy to his Belltown apartment intending to rape him.
Scratchley allegedly sent text messages to the Redmond woman, inviting her to join in.
"They [the text messages] were graphic. And there's no question about his intentions sexually with the 10-year-old boy. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind what he was intending to do with that 10-year-old boy," Reich said.
The Redmond woman called police, who removed the boy from the apartment and arrested Scratchley. At his arraignment, Scratchley pleaded not guilty to attempted rape of a child.
After his arrest, the Washington State Department of Health investigated Scratchley's credentials and found that he never underwent the training or took the exams needed to be licensed. The only Washington state credential he had was "chemical dependency professional trainee" -- a designation that expired while he was in jail.
Scratchey does have a doctorate in psychology from the University of Wyoming. But having failed to obtain a license in Washington and allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient, the state's health department charged him with unprofessional conduct and sexual misconduct.
High-profile criminal defense attorney John Henry Browne is representing Scratchley on the criminal charges and says his client is not guilty.
Browne, who represented Colton Harris Moore (aka the Barefoot Bandit) and is currently the lawyer for an Army sergeant accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians last year, said a lot of what's been said against Scratchley was greatly exaggerated.