Gig Harbor psychologist suspended over laptop theft must be evaluated before practicing again

Staff writerMarch 25, 2014 

A Gig Harbor psychologist who failed to immediately fess up that a prostitute stole his laptop with medical information about 652 state Department of Social and Health Services clients must undergo a mental health evaluation if he wants to practice again.

Sunil Kakar was suspended in October on charges ranging from unprofessional conduct to failure to provide security safeguards. He remains suspended for not protecting sensitive client information, according to records.

A prostitute stole his laptop last February while he went to an ATM but he didn’t report the theft for five days, which violated his contract with DSHS.

Kakar initially told police somebody took the laptop out of his truck while he was with a friend but eventually admitted that a prostitute stole it. The laptop was later recovered at a pawn shop.

Officials said the privileged medical information, which included psychological evaluations and mental incapacity exams, didn’t appear to have been accessed.

Kakar later sent an apology letter to the affected clients. He also released the following statement to The News Tribune:

"I am thankful my actions did not result in more serious harm. Mostly I have embarrassed myself, my family, my colleagues, and my profession. My conduct has been unprofessional. To those whom I have hurt, I am deeply apologetic and I would like to say publicly I am sorry. I take full responsibility for my actions and am seeking the appropriate guidance from the profession I believe in to rebuild the public trust."

The state said Kakar also remains suspended because he failed to take part in a required substance abuse monitoring program ordered after an April 2011 incident for which he was charged with unprofessional conduct.

In that case, he showed “unusual behaviors” at a prison where he worked. He refused to leave an area where a prisoner was about to be strip-searched, threatened to beat up the boyfriend of another prisoner and ate food left for a prisoner, documents show.

Kakar was admitted to a mental health unit 10 days later and released after agreeing to seek help for alcohol and marijuana dependency. He later pleaded guilty to second-degree negligent driving related to a July 2011 arrest for driving under the influence.

Kakar was licensed as a psychologist in 2004.

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