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Texas Child Psychiatrist Fired For Sex Abuse

11/19/2011 05:30 AM ET

Child psychiatrist fired for sex abuse - The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has accused a longtime child psychiatrist sex abuse with at least one under his care. Investigators from an independent oversight agency have opened a wider inquiry into accusations from at least eight possible victims dating back a decade.

The state alerted hospital officials three weeks ago that it had confirmed that psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Fischer had been involved in two separate instances of sex abuse, said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the agency. The agency terms an incident “confirmed” if its investigation shows the allegation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services, which runs the Austin hospital in Texas, said Fischer, 59, was fired effective Monday.

The state hospital is a residential facility for people with mental illness. The child and adolescent unit where the psychiatrist worked, houses youths up to the age of 18. The Adult Protective Services division of the Department of Family and Protective Services is required by law to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in state hospitals.

Crimmins said police have been notified of the agency’s findings; however, an Austin police spokeswoman said Fischer has not been charged with any crimes.

“There were previous allegations against Dr. Fischer over the years,” Wiliams said. “Each was reported and investigated outside the agency, but the allegations were never confirmed.”

Crimmins said the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigated each of the sex abuse allegations against the psychiatrist, as they became known.

And on Wednesday, Disability Rights Texas, a nonprofit organization officially designated by the federal government to protect the rights of the state’s disabled, said it had launched an inquiry into cases involving eight potential victims of sex abuse in incidents involving Fischer dating back to 2001. Because of its federal affiliation, the organization has access to records at state hospitals and can bring lawsuits against the state on behalf of people with disabilities.

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