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Board suspends license of North Conway counselor for having sexual relations with client

Sunday News Correspondent

December 30. 2017 5:45PM

NORTH CONWAY — A state board has suspended the license of a local alcohol and drug counselor for allegedly having sexual relations with a client.

The Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals issued an order of emergency license suspension Dec. 21 for Peter D. Stone, who owns Stone Behavioral Health Counseling Services locally and in Haverhill, Mass., and directed him to attend a hearing Jan. 8 at the board’s office in Concord.

The order alleges that a female client performed a sex act five times between Feb. 5 and Dec. 23, 2016, on Stone, who had been treating her for alcohol abuse since June 2013.

Stone, who did not respond to phone or text messages Dec. 29, has told the board that while the woman was his client, “he repeatedly denied engaging in sexual conduct with her or any other client.”

The board alleges that during one of the encounters, Stone’s DNA got on the client’s shirt.

The client had kept the shirt, didn’t wash it and made it available to the board during its investigation.

The board sent two samples from the shirt, as well as DNA swabs provided by both the client and Stone, to the New Hampshire State Laboratory, according to the order.

On Dec. 20, the lab issued a report saying that “Peter Stone cannot be excluded as the contributor of the male DNA obtained from this fraction” of shirt.

The second shirt sample yielded similar results, according to the board.

Stone has been a master licensed alcohol and drug counselor in New Hampshire since March 2011.

In explaining its decision to suspend Stone’s license to practice, the board wrote in its order that Stone’s actions involved “imminent danger to public health, safety and/or welfare,” in particular because the clients he saw were an “inherently vulnerable patient population in situations that require vigilant maintenance of boundaries and adherence to the law.”

State law, administrative rules and the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct that master counselors are required to follow, the board wrote, prohibit master counselors from, “amongst other things, engaging in sexual contact or a sexual relationship with a client.”

If Stone’s alleged conduct is proved, the board said, it would constitute aggravated felonious sexual assault under the law, which makes sexual contact illegal “When the actor provides therapy, medical treatment or examination of the victim” and when the alleged activity occurs “in the course of that therapeutic or treating relationship or within one year of termination of that therapeutic or treating relationship... .”

The law, however, is premised on sexual penetration, but the client told the board no sexual intercourse occurred although she allegedly had asked Stone on one occasion, according to the board’s order.

At that time, Stone allegedly told the client that was “not a good idea and that he would never cross that line with her,” the order says.

The client told the board that approximately six months into her treatment, she developed “feelings” for Stone and subsequently shared that fact with him.

While Stone allegedly told the client that he could not have a relationship with her, things changed on Feb. 5, 2016, when Stone allegedly asked if she “still had feelings for him” and a positive response from the client led to a kiss and to a sex act, the board’s order alleges.

The client told the board that afterward, Stone told her that the act “crossed the line” but then allegedly asked the client “when he would be seeing her again.”

Crime, law and justice North Conway

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