"Emotional Damage" Cited in Lawsuit Over Phony Psychologist

A lawsuit filed against the Board of Education in Maryland's Montgomery County claims that a phony psychologist employed by the Board is responsible for leaving the 18-year-old plaintiff "emotionally  damaged."    According to his lawyer, Ronald Karp, the plaintiff, who has since identified himself as 18-year-old Brandon Hall, reported first meeting "Dr. David Flemmer" when he was eight years old and dealing with his parents' divorce.   Flemmer, whose real name was Duane Flemmer, had been employed by the Montgomery County Board of Education for over ten years based on bogus credentials.  According to Karp, Flemmer had counseled his client for two years and his testimony in court was instrumental in removing the boy from his mother's custody.  

"Once you can walk into a courtroom and look the judge in the eye and say, 'I am Dr. David Flemmer and I am a Montgomery County Schools psychologist,' you have instant credibility and you can create havoc for all kinds of people,"  Karp told local media.    The judge presiding over the custody case specifically cited the psychologist's testimony in the 2006 decision.  

Flemmer's masquerade only came to light when he eventually applied for a job with an unnamed employer in North Dakota.  It was when the new employer contacted the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists that an investigation was launched.  In their findings, the board concluded that Flemmer, "created a fraudulent psychology license using an expired license number and forged signatures of real persons who had previously served as board members for the Board of Psychology."   His claims of being a "faculty associate" of the Johns Hopkins School of Education are spurious as well. 

Flemmer committed suicide shortly after being exposed and losing his license in 2012   Though the Board of Education reported that Flemmer had stopped working for them in 2010, Ronald Karp filed the lawsuit on behalf of his client citing negligence on the part of the Board of Education.  Flemmer''s estate is also being sued.   The lawsuit is claiming damages for fraud, infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, retention, and supervision.

"If it comes out that the Montgomery County Schools system never notified any parent about the fact that this man was a fraud when he lost his license in 2012, if that comes out, we don't know how many kids are out there, how many parents out there were counseled by this man," Karp said.   "It’s difficult to believe they actually checked out any of his credentials,”

A spokesperson for the Board of Education has confirmed that Flemmer worked for them from 1998 to 2010 but could not provide a list of the schools where he had worked.    They are also refusing to discuss ongoing legal issues with the media but insist that Flemmer had the needed license to be a school psychologist.

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