12:41 PM 05/16/2018
A clinical psychologist who treated military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder was charged with raping several female service members who were victims of sexual assault, according to a Tuesday report.
Dr. Heath J. Sommer, 41, was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault after authorities said he used his job as a therapist to lure in women and rape them. Sommer also faces four charges of sexual battery, which were filed after his 2016 arrest, CBS San Francisco Bay Area reported.
Sommer was originally charged with rape in early May but pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Thomas Maas, has said Sommer did not commit the crimes he has been charged with and that his actions were a part of his therapy.
The women said they were raped in 2014 and 2015 while they were working at Travis Air Force Bases David Grant Medical Center, outside of Sacramento, Calif. One woman said Sommer would try to treat her by having her re-experience her sexual assault, before he asked to her have sex with him. Sommer allegedly called his method “exposure therapy.”
Another woman said he exposed himself during a therapy session and asked her to give him oral sex. One of the women also said Sommer moved the sessions to his home so she would have a “positive and loving” time, prosecutors said. (RELATED: More Servicemembers Report Sexual Assault, Report Finds)
Air Force officials have confirmed they are working with military investigators and the Fairfield police department on Sommers case.
Sommer is still in jail with a bail set at $750,000.
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