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East Valley Tribune
EV psychiatrist runs afoul of 2 medical boards
By Jordan Houston
June 16, 2019

Psychiatrist James Ryan
Psychiatrist James Ryan

The way the medical boards of California and Arizona saw it before suspending him this month, East Valley psychiatrist Dr. James Matthew Crowley Ryan had other things in mind when three different women came to him for psychiatric care.

Investigators for the California Attorney General’s office said:

When one woman told the Gilbert resident, then practicing in the San Diego area, that she had had an extramarital affair, he “told her that she should have more affairs” – then had one himself with her.

When a second woman told him of her history of sexual assault and panic attacks, he replied “Honey, I’ll prescribe whatever you want” – and made repeated efforts to seduce her while writing her prescriptions for powerful anti-anxiety medications.

When a third woman came to see a fellow psychiatrist, Ryan intervened and soon started dating her – writing prescriptions for controlled anti-anxiety medications but keeping no records to justify their use.

And after the second patient complained to Chula Vista, California, police in May 2016, Ryan moved to set up his practice in east Mesa.

He told his wife in a handwritten birthday card that he was treating CIA secret agents, that one of the three women is “the highest rated assassin of the government,” that he is “the best psych that the U.S. government has and the only one to fix their agents,” and that he had to move and change his name, investigators said.

Ryan’s past caught up with him following an extensive investigation by the California Attorney General’s office.

In March, the Arizona Medical Board summarily suspended his license to practice here. The California Medical Board followed suit on June 10, even though it had the results of the AG investigation since December.

In its suspension, the Arizona Medical Board noted that Ryan “denied all allegations documented in the accusation. Respondent reported to board staff that during the time period covered by the accusation, he was experiencing delirium that affected his ability to recall specific events.”

It also said that last February, he “refused to enter into the practice restriction and that he did not intend to comply with the interim order” requiring that he be examined by a doctor.

That the California board waited until Arizona took action was not a surprise to private investigator Kenneth Kramer, who works for PsychSearch.net, an arm of a Florida private investigation company and the world’s largest repository of disciplinary records on psychiatrists who go astray.

“Medical boards can be slow – years sometimes,” Kramer said. “It’s not common for one state to wait for another to act, so, this is astounding! No suspension in California with all the allegations but when Arizona decides to protect its citizens and suspend him, California follows suit. That’s California for you – anything goes – permissive as hell!”

The Arizona board took action quickly because of the seriousness of the allegations, stating “the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action”

Arizona Medical Board Executive Director Patricia McSorley explained, “Before the board summarily suspends a physician’s license, it must have evidence to conclude that the public health, safety and welfare imperatively requires emergency action.”

“Once a license is suspended,” McSoriey continued. “The board has 60-days to present the case for a full evidentiary hearing …. The physician will remain suspended until such time as the matter is concluded.”

Ryan’s string of malpractice began in 2016 while working as a psychiatrist at Achieve Medical Center in California.

On March 2, a woman scheduled her first appointment with Ryan to talk about her diagnosis, medication and marital issues. A week later, she confessed about having an extramarital affair.

Board documents state that Ryan told her about his own marriage problems, and said that she was beautiful and “stated he will give her whatever he wanted. He then continued kissing hers,” the California AG report says.

The two quickly began a sexual relationship and Ryan convinced her to leave her husband, the AG reported.

At some point during the beginning of their relationship, the woman asked Ryan if he could still he her doctor and help with her medication.

In a text message recovered by investigators, Ryan wrote, “Sorry…just saw this… I’ll prescribe a bottle of happiness…what flavor would you like?”

The woman’s husband called Ryan’s office around March 22 to complain about his behavior, and two days later she was transferred to another psychiatrist.

Around this time Ryan met with another the second patient the sexual assault survivor.

She later told investigators that Ryan made her feel uncomfortable from the get-go – hugging her for “too long” at the beginning of their appointment.

Despite the woman’s efforts to set boundaries, including telling Ryan that she didn’t like to be touched, the psychiatrist attempted to hold her hand and rub her legs during their second appointment.

Investigators found that Ryan told the woman he wanted to make her feel better and would prescribe her anything she wanted – much like he did with the first woman.

He also showed shirtless pictures of himself and talked about his gym routine.

“He told her she did not need to work out because she had a perfect body!’ investigators said.

A few days later she reported him to Chula Vista Police.

Wasting no time, Ryan left a handwritten note for his wife on May 8.

He told his wife that she would not he allowed to know his new name or discuss any of the information electronically.

Between February 2016 and January 2017, the psychiatrist wrote nine prescriptions for the third woman for controlled substances, California investigators found.

He had no progress notes to justify any of the medication, according to investigators, who noted that during a sworn statement at a deposition, the woman said she had no knowledge of how any of the medications were prescribed to her.

The Arizona Medical Board unanimously voted on March 13 to summarily suspend the man’s license for practicing in Arizona.

“For Arizona licensed physicians,” said McSorley, “Once the agency finds evidence that a physician may be unsafe to practice medicine, the process allows for the board to take immediate steps to protect the public.”

Ryan will not he allowed to practice until his case is heard by an administrative law judge and a recommendation is made to the board about what should be done.

He also has the option to fight his charges via a formal hearing.