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Psychologist 'forced veteran who was raped in Afghanistan to have sex'

15 May 2018 Daily Mail Online

An Air Force psychologist hired to help abused veterans has been charged with sexually assaulting his patients, leaving them 'even more traumatized'.Dr Heath J. Sommer is accused of ordering female patients who had been sexually abused on overseas deployments to have sex with him in a perverted form of 'exposure therapy' while working for Travis Air Force Base in northern California.Exposure therapy sees doctors ask patients suffering from PTSD and other anxiety disorders to relive part of their traumatic experience in a safe environment as a way of overcoming it. 

Dr Heath J. Sommer is accused of ordering female patients who had been sexually abused while deployed overseas to have sex with him as part of 'exposure therapy' while working for Travis Air Force Base in northern California. File photoSommer will stand trial on three felony sexual assault charges after he allegedly targeted female service members in 2014 and 2015 while working at the base's David Grant Medical Center. Sommer has pleaded not guilty.One alleged victim who was raped in Afghanistan in 2002, said that after three therapy sessions Sommer asked her to come over to his house.There Sommer claimed he would treat the soldier by making her recreate every aspect of her 2002 sexual assault, the Daily Republic reported.After she recalled eating badly cooked goat meat in a dirty room before her assault, Sommer allegedly made her put dirt from his backyard into her mouth and then consume a leftover Chinese takeaway.

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Recommending a 'positive and loving' sexual experience, Sommer then had sex with her while his wife stayed downstairs, she said. They had sex a further nine times during further 'therapy' sessions, according to the allegations.Another victim claimed Sommer's 'exposure therapy' involved him standing up, unzipping his pants and receiving oral sex from her.Many of these victims were war veterans diagnosed with PTSD due to various forms of trauma, sexual and non-sexual, while active duty in the U.S. Air Force,' prosecutors told NBC affiliate KNTV.'As their therapist, the defendant was in a position of power. While some victims were strong enough to stand up to the defendant and refuse his advances, others weren't.'Those victims, especially the victims of sexual assault, are now even more traumatized due to the defendant's actions.'

Sommer was booked into Stanton Correctional Facility on May 3, where his bail is set at $750,000Travis Air Force Base Deputy Chief of Public Affairs Tonya Racasner said: 'There is zero-tolerance for sexual assault across the Air Force.'Base administration is working w/ local authorities to make sure that all the victims in this case are taken care of. The suspect is a civilian contractor who worked for the Air Force.'Sommer was booked into Stanton Correctional Facility on May 3, where his bail is set at $750,000.  A telephone message for his attorney, Thomas Maas, seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Original Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5732853/Air-Force-psychologist-forced-veteran-raped-Afghanistan-sex-him.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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