Marsha Kleinman, a Highland Park, New Jersey psychologist who frequently served as an expert in criminal child abuse cases has had her license to practice psychology in the state revoked and is ordered to pay a $60,000 fine for her misconduct stemming from charges that she convinced children they had been sexually abused even after they said it didn’t happen.
As News 12 reports, the once-popular child psychologist has been found guilty by an administrative law judge of committing gross and repeated malpractice and acts of professional misconduct. Kleinman’s actions first came to the attention of the courts in 2007 when the state Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint based on allegations she coached a 3-year-girl to make false claims of sexual abuse about her father.
The accusations focused on Kleinman’s treatment of a young girl between July 2003 and December 2004. She was accused of questioning the girl about possible sexual abuse by her father in “a suggestive, coercive and/or manipulative manner,” according to court documents.
Since the first complaint was lodged, numerous parents have stepped forward to say their children too experienced Kleinman’s manipulations and implanting of false memories concerning abuse. Some parents, many of them fathers, describe how they lost custody of their children (and all contact) due to Kleinman’s misconduct. Other parents claim Kleinman pressured them to accept her findings, even if they didn’t believe their spouse had committed the abuse.
Kleinman has been mum since the court ruling banning her from practicing psychology in the state. However, in 2007, she spoke to News 12 when the complaint was first lodged. As she hold, “When people are advocates for children who are harmed in the home, they become a lightning rod, and there are people such as myself being targeted across the country by fathers’ rights groups to shut down people like myself who protect children,” Kleinman has also claimed that she is the victim of a smear campaign on the part of “father rights groups and pedophiles,” according to News 12.
Now that she has been found guilty, it remains to be seen what will happen to the many custody cases in which Kleinman served as a consulting psychologist (she practiced in New Jersey for three decades). Those who had Kleinman serve as their consulting psychologist are rightly justified in revisiting her findings, especially if they contain abuse allegations.
And then there is the matter of Kleinman’s legacy. What about children who really are being sexually abused and need the courts to intervene on their behalf to keep them safe?
This may be in jeopardy. “When you get somebody this pathological who does something like this, it’s going to make legitimate cases difficult to prosecute,” says one lawyer interviewed by News 12.
Did Marsha Kleinman serve as a consulting psychologist in your child custody case? Are you dealing with allegations of child abuse in your current divorce proceedings. The lawyers at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group can help. Give us a call to see what we can do for you.