Psychologist Agrees to Stop Questionable Child Custody Evaluations

From Society for Science-Based Medicine Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Roger H. Fisher, Ph.D., a psychologist who provided expert testimony in many child custody cases, will surrender his license effective February 28, 2003 [1]. The license surrender is deemed to be a permanent revocation based on grounds of "competence;
negligence; impaired objectivity and dual relationships." [2]

In June 2002, Fisher entered a consent agreement with the Ohio Board of Psychology to restrict his practice [3]. Under Ohio law, psychologists involved in custody cases can only testify about parents they examine and should not offer opinions about who is the best parent. According to a report by WLWT Eyewitness News, the board had received many angry complaints about Dr. Fisher [4].

The Board's action was triggered by a complaint by the mother of a 5-year, 9-month-old boy whom Dr. Fisher had seen once at the behest of the child's father. The consent agreement notes that Fisher sent the father's attorney a report that was intended for use in pending litigation. The report questioned the mother's parenting ability by remarking on her psychological stability, "personality changes," "mood swings," allegedly bizarre behavior, and emotional capacity to be a positive parent in a divorced family. In the consent agreement, Fisher:

  • Admitted that he violated two of Ohio's Rules of Professional Conduct (negligence and competence) in connection with testimony about the behavior and mental state of a woman he had not examined.
  • Agreed to discontinue rendering services to families, parents and/or children as an expert or evaluator for matters in Domestic Relations Court regarding parenting, custody, or visitation.
  • Pledged to disclaim that he has sufficient expertise to perform as an expert or evaluator for matters in Domestic Relations Court regarding parenting, custody, or visitation.
  • Pledged to stop offering "any hypothesis, impression, or diagnostic supposition regarding any party or individual with whom he has not been engaged directly in a professional relationship, and with whom he has not had direct contact." [3]

References

  1. Target 5: Local psychologist to wrap up practice amid pressure. WLWT Eyewitness News, Dec 9, 2002.
  2. State Board of Psychology disciplinary actions. Ohio Board of Psychology Web site, accessed Dec 17, 2002.
  3. Consent agreement between Roger H. Fisher, Ph.D. and the (Ohio) State Board of Psychology. June 29, 2001.
  4. Target 5: Was doctor's testimony biased? WLWT Eyewitness News 5 at 11 pm., March 7, 2002.