Owner of drug treatment chain charged with unprofessional conduct

KING 5 Investigator Chris Ingalls reports.

State regulators have charged the owner of a chain of Pierce County drug and alcohol treatment clinics with “unprofessional conduct.”

Three clinics owned by John Dorman have been exposed in the KING 5 Investigator’s series “Sobriety for Sale.”

In charging documents filed by the Washington State Department of Health dated July 7, Dorman is accused of “soliciting funds from clients to falsify records and court reports; creating personnel files where none existed” and other “fraudulent activity.”

Dorman’s clinics “Doorway to Recovery,” “Abracababra,” and “Renton A Change Counseling” are all licensed by Washington state. Some of their clients include offenders who are ordered into treatment as part of their criminal sentences.

“I think we run a legal business, and we do a good job,” Dorman said last year. 

He denied that he ever accepted payments from clients or attorneys to falsify compliance reports sent to the court.

In its charging documents, three former Dorman counselors told Department of Health investigators a different story.

Robin Sehmel and Jaimie Stewart said they were aware of fraudulent activity and accused Dorman of accepting payments from attorneys and clients. In exchange he would allegedly downgrade a client’s addiction assessment so that the client would require a minimal amount of treatment. The counselors also say that clients were allowed to skip their treatment sessions altogether, even though the clinic submitted reports to the courts saying those clients were in attendance.

Both Sehmel and Stewart have been offered “negotiated settlements” from the Department Health for failing to report these violations to the authorities when they worked for Dorman a few years ago. Both women told KING 5 they are refusing to accept the settlements, because they believe they did try to report the misconduct, but were ignored.

Former Dorman Counselor Kathy Dastrup was also charged with “unprofessional conduct” earlier this month by the Department of Health.

The state says Dastrup is a witness against Dorman. But it claims she also allowed other employees to forge her name to treatment sessions that she never attended. The charging documents say Dastrup also failed to report violations she witnessed to the proper authorities.

In a text to KING 5 on Wednesday, Dastrup said, “I was honest with the state throughout the process,” and “I knew I was guilty of not reporting.  I just can’t wait for the media to be done bashing me.  I took the hardest hit on TV.”

Dastrup was profiled in several of KING 5’s Sobriety for Sale stories. She refused multiple requests for an on-camera interview.

Dorman did not respond to a request for a comment.

The Washington Department of Health had previously charged one other clinic owner/counselor who appeared in KING 5’s stories. Clarence Farmer who owns A Change Counseling and A Fresh Beginning in Spanaway is appealing his charge.

Earlier this year, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5705 into law. It followed KING 5’s stories showing that the Washington agency that regulates licensed treatment clinics has been failing to punish clinic owners and counselors that violate regulations.

© 2017 KING-TV


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