Florida Department of Health Suspends Clinical Social Worker’s License After Sex Abuse Complaint
On October 13, 2021, Florida’s Department of Health ordered the emergency suspension of Robert Batie’s license to practice as a clinical social worker in state. The emergency suspension comes two months after Robert Batie was arrested and criminally charged on counts of molesting and raping a 16-year-old female client from Palm Coast, Florida.
“Mr. Batie’s conduct of sexually assaulting a minor patient under his care, who trusted him to act professionally and in their best interest, indicates that he is unable to practice as a clinical social worker with reasonable skill and safety to patients,” the Department of Health said in its emergency suspension order. Given the nature of the abuse and Batie’s conduct, the Department of Health labeled Batie’s behavior “an immediate, serious danger to the public health” and decided against allowing him to keep his license with restrictions.
At the time of the alleged assault, Robert Batie was a clinical social worker at Palm Coast Counseling, LLC., located at 1 Hargrove Grade, Unit A, Palm Coast, FL. Licensed since 2017, Batie says he has more than a decade’s worth of experience in the helping profession.
According to police records, the victim’s school referred the child to Palm Coast Counseling to treat generalized anxiety. Batie met with the alleged victim alone for approximately eleven sessions, each lasting about one hour. During those sessions, police reports indicate Batie engaged “in a course of conduct that could be interpreted as grooming.” Towards the end of the victim’s treatment with Batie, reports revealed that Batie spoke to the victim in a suggestive manner. Florida’s Department of Health says Batie wrote in the treatment notes that the patient was dressed in a “seductive manner” a day before the assault.
Robert Batie’s Assault on the Victim and Attempted Concealment
On June 28, 2021, during the alleged victim’s last therapy session with Robert Batie before he began working at AZA Health in Palatka, Batie reportedly made inappropriate sexual comments and continued to escalate his sexual advances. Reports say Batie positioned himself behind the victim and asked her about her sexuality.
Batie also allegedly forced the victim to perform and receive oral sex. When the assault ended, Batie warned the victim not to tell anyone because Batie could get into “big trouble” since he was an adult and the patient was a minor. The alleged victim reported the assault to her guardians, who later reported the abuse to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. The alleged victim also preserved their underclothes and other garments and gave them to the police.
Robert Batie’s Charges and Subsequent Arrest
Robert Batie was arrested at his job in early August and subsequently charged with one count of sexual battery on a victim 12-18 by a person in custodial authority, two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and one count of sexual misconduct by a psychotherapist. According to law enforcement, Batie admitted to each act of unlawful sexual activity, as well as his awareness that the victim was a minor. Batie was later held at the Volusia County Branch Jail before his transfer to the Flagler County jail.
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against medical professionals on behalf of patients who were inappropriately touched in their care. Under no circumstances is a doctor or nurse permitted to have sexual contact with a patient. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery at a medical office or facility, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.