Woman Sues Church, Therapist

Woman Sues Church, Therapist

A woman filed a lawsuit yesterday against her former therapist, claiming that he repeatedly forced her to have sex with him during a five-year period as part of her “therapy.”

The 39-year-old woman, who remained anonymous to protect her privacy, sought counseling from Stephen Parrish to help her recover from previous sexual abuse that she endured in 1998.

According to the suit, Parrish claimed to be a psychologist affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Plainview, NY. However, the lawsuit revealed that Parrish was not a licensed psychologist.

Two years after Parrish began counseling the woman, he moved their therapy sessions from his church office to her home – where he began forcing her to have sex with him.

The woman claims that she was unable to remove herself from the relationship due to her history of abuse. She eventually became pregnant by Parrish, but he counseled her to have an abortion.

“She was taking it because of her vulnerabilities,” said Ken Mollins, the woman’s attorney. “She was told that what he was doing was going to help her.”

Parrish has admitted to making mistakes during her therapy. “I have no compunctions saying I made mistakes, and that’s part of the reason I stopped treating her.” Parrish also said that he has been excommunicated from the church, but would not cite specific reasons.

Mollins said the woman was forced to pay for her “treatment,” and that she spent $30,000 altogether.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Nassau Supreme Court yesterday, seeks unspecified damages from both Parrish and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah said she was not given enough time to research the charges, but responded saying, “(the church) always takes seriously any allegations that an individual has been abused, and it will not tolerate abuse by anyone affiliated with the church.”

Victim of sexual abuse? Please contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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