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Therapist’s License Suspended Over Conduct With Minor


Florida Department of Health Secretary Celeste Philip issued an emergency order this week suspending the license of a Tallahassee therapist for alleged sexual misconduct involving a patient under age 18. 

The state alleges, among other things, that therapist Dan Engle broke the law when, during the year-long course of treatment of patient identified as “V.M.,” he touched her thigh, engaged in lingering hugs, placed his hands on her lower back and buttocks, told her he loved her, invited her back to his house and requested a selfie.

The emergency order is not final, and Engle can challenge the move. Attempts to contact Engle at his office Thursday were unsuccessful.

Engle had 50 visits with V.M between December 2016 and December 2017, according to the order.

The patient had a history of neglect and abuse by her mother and was under the care of her grandparents.

According to the emergency order, Engle bought V.M. presents during the year he treated her, giving her gifts for her birthday, Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

Engle allegedly texted V.M. in December 2017 asking, “How bout a gift for me. Can u txt me a selfie. U know i can't share it."

After receiving that text, V.M. confided to her grandfather, alleging that over the course of the year Engle proclaimed his love for her and that he frequently gave her close and lingering hugs, the kind where his hands would land on her lower back. She alleged to her grandfather that Engle also asked her about her sexual “fetishes.”

Engle was interviewed by the Tallahassee Police Department in February. In a recorded session, he admitted to discussing sexual "leanings" with V.M., giving her gifts, having physical contact with her in the form of a hug, texting with her and asking her for a selfie, according to the order.

Also, the order said Engle provided a statement in which he admitted that he asked V.M. to wear certain clothes and that after her third visit he "spontaneously started to hug her."

According to the emergency order, Engle also admitted to inviting V.M. to record music at his house, whether there is a recording studio, and to inviting her over for neighborhood swims. See emergency order here.

Nell Greenfieldboyce is a NPR science correspondent.