NEWARK - A former Highland Park psychologist, stripped of her license for misconduct after she was accused of implanting false memories of sexual abuse in the minds of children, is once again under investigation by the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners. This time, Dr. Marsha Kleinman is accused of practicing without a license.
News 12 New Jersey's Walt Kane first investigated Kleinman in 2007, in the award-winning investigation, "In the Mind of a Child." She was then one of New Jersey's most prominent child psychologists. But several New Jersey fathers, in the midst of contentious divorce cases, accused her of manipulating their children into leveling false accusations of sexual abuse, causing the fathers to lose custody. As part of the investigation, News 12 New Jersey obtained video of Kleinman's therapy sessions with one of those children, allowing people to witness her controversial techniques.
The News 12 New Jersey investigation sparked a five-year probe by the New Jersey attorney general, which culminated in 2012 when an administrative law judge ruled Kleinman had committed "gross and repeated malpractice and acts of professional misconduct." The state Board of Psychological Examiners upheld the judge's ruling, fining Kleinman more than $300,000 and stripping her of her license.
Why the state believes Kleinman is violating that order and practicing without a license is not completely clear. The board has declined to make the formal complaint public, arguing that even redacting the victim's name would not be enough to protect their identity because of the context of the accusations. News 12 New Jersey is appealing that decision under the state's Open Public Records Act.
Board members delayed making a decision until September after a representative from the attorney general's office said his key witness was unable to testify. "She is very ill because of the emotional stress that the existence of this hearing has put her under," Joshua Bengel told the board. Kleinman was also unable to attend, telling the board she was out of the country.
To this day, Kleinman has her share of supporters. Despite the board's ruling of misconduct, they believe she is a hero who exposed child abuse, and insist she is the victim of a smear campaign by fathers' rights groups.