Rikki Lynn Halavonich, South Carolina Psychiatrist, “expert witness”, arrested on allegations she filed a false police report, claiming she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted

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Aiken Standard (South Carolina)
Psychiatrist arrested for filing false allegations
By Karen Daily
April 20, 2009

Psychiatrist Rikki Lynn Halavonic

Psychiatrist Rikki Lynn Halavonic

A board-certified Charleston forensic psychiatrist qualified in the court system as an expert witness has been arrested in Aiken on allegations she filed a false police report last week, claiming she was kidnapped in downtown Aiken and sexually assaulted, officials said.

Rikki Lynn Halavonich, of Majestic Oak Drive in Charleston, was arrested less than a week after she reportedly went to Public Safety with the allegations.

Early on the morning of April 14, police said Halavonich contacted investigators, claiming she had been out with friends having dinner when, about 9:15 p.m., she was approached by a man she didn’t know.

Halavonich said she was at her parked vehicle at 137 Laurens St. when he “made her get back into her car and get into the passenger’s seat,” the officer wrote in his report. She said he drove her to an “unknown location and sexually assaulted her” and about five hours later, at 2:45 a.m., drove her back to where he had initially approached her.

She said she walked back to the door of her hotel room and he then left, according to officials.

Aiken Public Safety detectives launched an investigation and contacted state agents to sketch the suspect. That composite was immediately released to downtown merchants and local media outlets, both to warn residents and ask for help identifying the suspect.

“Our first concern is for the safety of the community and the victim so we got a sketch artist immediately,” said Lt. David Turno, a spokesperson for Aiken Public Safety.

He said investigators were in the early phases of the investigation but added that they had a duty to let the community know of a possible danger.

As the investigation continued, detectives pulled surveillance video that showed the Charleston woman at the 100 Laurens St. restaurant at 9 p.m. on April 13.

Investigators said the video shows her “willingly” leave the bar at 11:45 p.m. with a man who matched the description of her alleged attacker.

“We made contact with the man in the video, and he was able to assist us with our investigation,” Turno said.

He was not charged with any crime.

Since her arrest, the Aiken Standard has learned that Halavonich has been qualified as an expert forensic psychiatrist in General Sessions, Family, Common Pleas, Probate and Federal courts.

She has been practicing at Lowcountry Forensic Psychiatry since July 2008.

Prior to that, she served as the director of the Department of Forensic Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston from 2007 to 2008.

“Her forensic experience includes the performance of evaluations pertaining to both civil and criminal legal issues including, competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility/capacity to conform, death penalty mitigation, competency to be executed, violence risk assessment, South Carolina’s Sexually Violent Predator Statute, conservatorships and guardianships, testamentary capacity, standard of care, emotional harm/disability and fitness for duty,” according to her biography with Lowcountry Forensic Psychiatry.

In September, Halavonich was listed as a speaker who would talk about “criminal responsibility” at medical symposium. The topic of her speech was “A Personality Disorder May Mitigate but Cannot Nullify Responsibility for a Criminal Act.”

She was arrested Monday afternoon in Aiken.

She is charged with filing of false police reports – a felony that is punishable to up to five years in prison.

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Rikki Lynn Halavonich