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Health agency ignores sexual misconduct complaints

Julia Sommerfeld and Michael J. Berens of The Seattle Times used state records to show that Seattle's Health Department has dismissed — without any investigation — 461 sexual-misconduct complaints against health-care professionals in the past decade, or nearly one-third of the 1,494 complaints received. "These complaints include counselors accused of molesting clients, nurses suspected of fondling patients and doctors turned in for demanding sex in exchange for treatment." As a result, health-care licenses were left unblemished, and possible victims were cast aside. And sexual predators went undetected, only to harm again. The three-day series looks at how the Health Department has credentialed more than 17,000 "registered counselors" who aren't required to have training or even a high school diploma but work with some of the most vulnerable clients. Registered counselors account for the largest number of sexual misconduct complaints in Washington health care.

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