Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ohio counselor pleads guilty to sexual battery for sex with counselee

(Original Post 8-14-08)

Eugene A. Altomare, 57, plead guilty to sexual battery in Stark County Common Pleas Court after being sexually involved with a woman who is under supervision at a Massillon, OH hospital after being found guilty, but mentally ill for an arson which occurred back in 2004. Though the sex was not forced or coerced, the woman believed that the sex would mean a more favorable report when it came to treatment progress, and possible release.

Altomare didn't work for the hospital, but he was a professional clinical counselor in Lisbon and had treated the woman for several years. A Columbiana County judge placed the woman in Heartland [Behavioral Healthcare] in 2004 after finding her not guilty by reason of insanity in an aggravated arson case.

Altomare supervised the woman during trips away from the hospital. Twice they ended up at the Red Roof Inn in Jackson Township. The woman alleged that Altomare had intercourse with her on two occasions and that she performed oral sex on him once, said Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Hope Konovsky. Heartland staff asked the Ohio Highway Patrol to investigate Altomare after the allegations came to light. He admitted to state troopers that the woman performed oral sex on him twice during outings away from the hospital. He denied having intercourse with her, court papers show.

Judge Richard D. Reinbold Jr will sentence Altomare next month, and he could give Altomare anywhere from probation to 5 years. Altomare, who has surrendered his licence to practice counseling, has been classified a Tier 3 sex offender, which means lifetime registration with renewal every 90 days. Both the defendant and his lawyer did not comment.

(Update 9-16-08) Altomare was not classified as a Tier 3 SO, but a Tier 2 one, meaning registration for the next 25 years. He was placed on 4 years probation with a 3 year suspended sentence hanging over his head. Altomare must never reapply for the surrendered license and must continue SO treatment. Altomare felt a "tremendous amount of remorse for the victim, her relatives, and his family" before sentencing.

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