Former State College Doctor Charged for Allegedly Having Sex with Patients

By Mallory Lane

Published 08/20 2014 05:16PM

Updated 08/20 2014 05:37PM

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - 53 year-old Richard Lenhart is behind bars Wednesday on several felony and misdemeanor charges after he allegedly had sex with at least two of his former patients and committed insurance fraud multiple times.

The Attorney General said he pocketed more than $70,000 from insurance companies after performing his so-called "touching therapy".

The abuse of those patients spanned for a period of several years.

Dr. Lenhart operated out of a private practice at 137 South Pugh Street in State College.

According to court documents, Lenhart treated two women with what he calls "touching therapy" to help them heal.

One of the victims said her therapy sessions started with "holding" to develop what Dr. Lenhart called a "close bond" to view him as a father figure. The victim alleges that holding quickly turned more sexual in nature, from touching to hugging and kissing and then progressed to body-to-body contact, and eventually sex.

Court documents show Lenhart outlined these therapy sessions in a treatment journal, writing that in one session, he touched the victim's genital area to provide a "safe healing touch."

Lenhart allegedly allowed the victim to call him "dad" and wrote that he wanted to be a good father to her.

A second victim outlines a similar story, saying Lenhart prescribed "holding therapy" during her sessions, which eventually led to a sexual relationship.

According to court documents, Lenhart would engage in sexual acts with the victims while his wife was working just outside the door of his office, as his secretary.

The Attorney General's Office said Lenhart submitted insurance claims over about a four year period for his treatment sessions, using a code to indicate proper psychology services and treatment. He allegedly submitted nearly 700 claims for more than $71,000.

Lenhart allegedly admitted to these acts in a hearing before the state's Board of Psychology in 2013, maintaining his therapy was helpful to the victims. His license was revoked after that hearing and after an investigation into his treatments.

He is in jail Wednesday on $250,000 bail.

The Attorney General's Office said the case is still active and an investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Special Agent Doug Hilyard at 717-787-0272.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.