Psychologist charged with assault, child abuse

Twelve-year-old says suspect pinned him to a chair and hit him in the head

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The president of Washington Assessment and Therapy Services was charged last month with assault and child abuse for allegedly striking a 12-year-old boy being treated at a Silver Spring clinic.

Several calls to Ronald D. Wynne, 71, a psychologist who lives in Kensington, were not returned. Other WATS employees referred questions to Wynne.

Police charged Wynne on May 24 with assault and child abuse after they were called that afternoon to search for a child missing from the WATS center at 8737 Colesville Road in Silver Spring.

While one officer arrived at the center, another officer radioed that the boy had flagged him down.

The boy told police that he had been in the clinic hiding from his therapist when Wynne found and grabbed him, according to the charging documents.

Wynne pulled the boy into his office and pinned him to a chair by his wrists, police said.

The boy yelled, ‘‘Get off me [expletive]” followed by a string of other curse words.

‘‘I’m your [expletive]?” Wynne replied and struck the boy on the right side of the head several times, according to the charging documents.

The boy kicked Wynne and left the building where he flagged down the officer, charging documents said.

WATS has a staff of more than 100, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors to provide mental health services, according to the company’s Web site. It has offices in Germantown and Lanham, as well as Silver Spring.

WATS was one of the mental health clinics contracted by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to provide mental health treatment to young people, said HHS spokeswoman Mary Anderson. Its contract expired on Dec. 31 and was not renewed because WATS had not met all of the requirements on staffing, she said. The county paid WATS $58,800 for the counseling provided in 2005.

The Maryland Board of Psychologists received an anonymous call recently about the incident, but had not received a formal complaint, said the board’s investigator, Pat English.

‘‘We will be investigating, I can guarantee that,” English said.

The state board, which oversees mental health professionals in Maryland, has not taken any formal action against Wynne before, English said. Formal action could include suspension or revocation of a license to practice in the state.

English declined to say if any other complaints had been filed against Wynne. ‘‘If there had been complaints, that would be confidential,” she said.