By Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) - A social worker fired by the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center for allegedly having sex with a client has admitted to the wrongdoing and has been stripped of her license, The Roseburg News-Review reported.

Jamie Carlson, 32, surrendered her license earlier this month. She will be barred from practicing social work in the state for at least three years.

“Sometimes people make a stupid choice,” she told the newspaper ( ). Carlson denied any improper behavior with the veteran throughout the investigation, which she called “a witch hunt.” Carlson accused VA officials of discriminating against her because she is young, a woman and Pakistani American.

The order from the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers also sanctions Carlson for socializing with five clients and fines her $15,000 for those ethical violations. Two-thirds of the fine will be suspended if Carlson complies with the terms of the order.

Carlson admitted she had an intimate relationship with a man who attended 19 group sessions she led at the VA between 2007 and 2011 for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. She told investigators the relationship began in 2011, after the last session he attended.

Carlson said the man twice asked her to marry him, but she turned him down.

State ethics rules forbid social workers from entering into a relationship with a client within three years of counseling.

The VA barred Carlson from counseling patients as it investigated her case between August 2012 and November 2013, when her dismissal was made final. During that time, Carlson remained on the payroll and collected her $65,000 annual salary.

Carlson was employed by Roseburg VA Medical Center for six years. During the investigation, many of the veterans she counseled for post-traumatic stress disorder rallied to her defense.

One of those patients, Bud Bessey of Myrtle Creek, expressed shock and disappointment after hearing Carlson had admitted to having a sexual relationship with a client.

“In all honesty, I don’t know what to say. I thought everything she told me was true. I’m surprised it happened that way,” Bessey said.

Still, Bessey said Carlson helped him with his PTSD.

VA officials declined to comment on the case.

Carlson said she plans to pursue an appeal through the federal Merit Systems Protection Board and added that the VA violated her due-process rights and its own policies in handling her case.


Information from: The News-Review,

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