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Mental health counselor accused of having sex with patient, stealing from another

TARPON SPRINGS — A licensed mental health counselor arrested Wednesday is accused of having sex with one patient and stealing money from another, police said.

Richard Walter Fedora, 65, faces charges of grand theft and sexual misconduct by a psychotherapist.

According to arrest affidavits, Fedora "developed a sexual relationship" late last year with a woman receiving behavioral counseling at the St. Pete Behavioral Health Center in Tarpon Springs. During that time, they sent more than 100 emails to each other, Tarpon Springs police said.

Another patient staying at the Windmoor Healthcare facility in Pinellas Park gave Fedora his debit card and asked him to buy cigarettes for him in January. Fedora purchased the cigarettes, but kept the debit card and made seven withdrawals within two days, including at a Publix on East Bay Drive in Largo, an affidavit shows.

The patient confronted him and, during a recorded phone conversation monitored by Largo police, Fedora asked him to "trust him" and that he would pay him back. Days later, he paid the patient.

In an interview with detectives, Fedora said he felt he was given "implied" permission to use the debit card.

Fedora of Palm Harbor has been licensed as a mental health counselor since June 1992, state records show.

He was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where he remained Thursday afternoon in lieu of $12,000 bail.

Laura C. Morel can be reached at lmorel@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157.

Mental health counselor accused of having sex with patient, stealing from another 02/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 13, 2014 9:42pm]

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