The discovery of alleged sexual abuse of a teenage patient 15 years ago has prompted the Minnesota Board of Psychology to revoke the license of a Minneapolis psychologist — even though he has since retired and his license has expired.
The board order, issued last month, prohibits Herman Thompson, 70, from practicing psychology in the state. Records show he was accused of multiple sexual incidents from 2003 through 2005 with a male teenage patient who had suffered a childhood of parental abuse, behavioral problems and multiple foster care placements.
State court documents show that Thompson fought the discipline for more than a year, claiming the board no longer had jurisdiction over him and that the alleged incidents took place too long ago. Documents indicate he most recently worked as an unlicensed “life coach.”
An administrative law judge ultimately ruled that Thompson should be held accountable, based on credible accusations of sexual abuse of a patient, named in court documents by the initials J.W.
The first sexual encounter allegedly occurred in a 2003 therapy session after the patient and psychologist got in an argument and started wrestling over a ball. Afterward, Thompson allegedly gave J.W. money and told him to keep the incident a secret or he could end up back at a locked behavioral treatment facility, court documents say.
In arguments to the administrative law judge, Thompson noted that he was never charged with a crime and that the patient — now in his 30s — has a history of lying and was trying to build a record for a lawsuit.
Case records say that the teenager had told a Big Brother, Big Sister mentor about the first incident of alleged sexual abuse the day after it happened, in 2003, but that the mentor didn’t believe him.
In the decade that followed, the patient was incarcerated for various crimes. He brought up the alleged abuse again in 2015, when he was admitted to an adult treatment program — coincidentally based in the same building where his therapy sessions with Thompson had taken place.
Board of Psychology records show that Thompson had reached a previous disciplinary agreement related to a 2008 incident in which he photographed a patient flexing his muscles and a 2013 incident in which he rubbed the shoulders of an 11-year-old patient.
Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744