Psychologist suspended over theft of laptop

Staff writerOctober 15, 2013 

A Gig Harbor psychologist didn’t immediately fess up that a prostitute stole his laptop, which contained medical information about hundreds of state Department of Social and Health Services clients, an act that has led to his suspension, the state announced Monday.

Sunil Kakar, 46, has 20 days to respond to the charges of unprofessional conduct, failure to provide security safeguards, failure to protect confidentiality of clients, and failure of maintenance and retention of records. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Kakar’s laptop was stolen from his backpack Feb. 4. He didn’t report it to DSHS for five days, which the state said is a violation of his contract. Kakar also allegedly lied about how the laptop was stolen, saying it was taken from his truck while he was with a friend.

He didn’t report the theft to Gig Harbor police until Feb. 14. Kakar initially gave officers the same account of the laptop being taken from his truck but “later changed his story and explained to police that the laptop was stolen by a prostitute while (he) went to an ATM,” according to charging papers.

Police recovered the laptop at a pawn shop.

In March, Kakar sent an apology letter to the 652 affected DSHS clients. The privileged client data on his laptop included psychological evaluations and mental incapacity exams.

The state said his actions inconvenienced clients by delaying their access to health care and “requiring the clients to repeatedly re-disclose events that were unpleasant and even traumatic for them.”

This is not the first time Kakar has been charged with unprofessional conduct.

In November 2012, the state charged him with unprofessional conduct after he exhibited “unusual behaviors” at a prison where he worked in April 2011. Kakar refused to leave an area where a prisoner was about to be strip-searched, ate food left for a prisoner and threatened to beat up the boyfriend of another prisoner, documents show.

He was admitted to a mental health unit 10 days later and released later with orders to seek help for alcohol and marijuana dependency.

Kakar was arrested in July 2011 for driving under the influence and later pleaded guilty to second-degree negligent driving, court records indicate.

He was licensed as a psychologist in 2004, but it’s unclear how long he worked as a contractor for the state.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653 stacia.glenn@ thenewstribune.com

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