Mercury News

By J.M. Brown

SANTA CRUZ — A former UC Santa Cruz psychotherapist who admitted to a brief affair with a student patient in 2007 has voluntarily surrendered his medical license in a deal to end a state agency\’s claim against him.

Milton Peechuan Huang, 46, agreed to relinquish his right to practice effective Dec. 24 in an effort \”to resolve this matter without the expense and uncertainty of further proceeding,\” according to a filing by the Medical Board of California. The report said Huang conceded there was enough evidence, largely because of his own admissions of the mont-long tryst, for the state to successfully revoke his license.

\”He has always from Day One acknowledged that he had made a lapse in judgment and had voluntarily stopped practicing,\” Huang\’s attorney, John L. Fleer of Walnut Creek, said in an interview Tuesday. \”This is just really a formal way of carrying out what he had already affected — ceasing his practice while he has proceeded to make amends for what has taken place.\”

Fleer said Huang hopes soon to resolve a civil lawsuit filed against him by the former patient, who was 21 years old when Huang says the two engaged in sexual activity in November and December 2007. Huang had been treating her for relationship troubles and an eating disorder for eight months when the relationship became sexual.

Huang did not return an e-mail sent through his Web site, which says that he is a father looking for new opportunities in technical fields. Fleer declined to discuss other details about Huang\’s family but said he is currently unemployed and still living in the county.

The medical board said Huang could seek reinstatement after two years, a waiting period his attorney says could have been longer had Huang fought the charges. Fleer said it is too early to say whether Huang will petition to practice psychotherapy again.

Huang resigned his position of six years as a staff psychiatrist at the UCSC Student Health Center after the student reported the affair to the university and campus authorities placed him on suspension. UCSC then contacted the medical board, which recommended in November 2008 that Huang\’s license be yanked after he admitted the impropriety during an interview with state investigators.

Fleer said it took another year to resolve the matter with the medical board and that Huang should be commended for confessing.

\”Dr. Huang has, unlike many people in his situation, always been straightforward,\” the attorney said. \”He has not denied the charges.\”

Huang told medical board investigators that he did not bill his patient for their final session, when he said they engaged in oral sex at her apartment. But he said most other appointments, including a session when the two disrobed in his office and fondled each other, were billed for 50 minutes of time.