Washington state regulators have suspended the license of two substance abuse counselors and shut down a Spanaway treatment clinic nearly two years after they were profiled in a KING 5 Investigation.
The licenses of drug counselor and clinic owner Clarence Farmer and his former employee, Kathy Dastrup, were suspended for three years by the Washington Department of Health.
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) says because of that license suspension, it has moved to revoke the license of Farmer’s Spanaway treatment clinic, A Fresh Beginning.
Regulators found that both counselors committed “unprofessional conduct.”
Documents say that state investigators determined that one of Farmer’s clients paid him $1,500. In exchange, Farmer did not require the man to attend alcohol treatment sessions as ordered by the Pierce County courts. Documents say Farmer submitted monthly reports to the court swearing that the man complied, even though he never attended treatment.
The client was a repeat DUI offender who killed a woman while driving drunk in 1989.
Investigators say Dastrup signed treatment documents for clients even though she never met with them and she allowed other clinic employees to forge her name.
Dastrup worked at Farmer’s former clinic, A Change Counseling, in Tacoma and at several other clinics that have drawn the attention of state investigators.
Farmer and Dastrup were profiled in KING 5’s investigative series “Sobriety for Sale,” which found that clients of a half dozen state-licensed clinics could buy their way out of court-ordered treatment by paying counselors under the table.
At least three additional clinics and several counselors remain under state investigation.
DSHS launched an internal investigation after several employees appeared in KING 5 stories claiming that the agency was failing to catch dishonest counselors and clinics across the state.