Information was received by BACP in addition to that brought to BACP's attention by unfavourable media coverage, which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 (formerly known as 4.6) of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.
The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Patel were as follows:
That Ms Patel allegedly had sex with two 15 year old boys who were pupils at the school where she was working as a cover supervisor. Further, it was reported that Ms Patel pleaded guilty to two charges that between 1 February 2010 and 18 March 2010, being a person in a position of trust in relation to two boys of 15 and not reasonably believing they were aged 18 or over, intentionally touched them and that the touching was sexual.
The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Patel's continuing membership of this Association and raised concerns about the following in particular:
- Ms Patel's alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.
- Ms Patel's alleged behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy and was lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire. Ms Patel's alleged behaviour in this matter also suggested that her behaviour was incongruent with that expected of a BACP member.
- The information further suggested that Ms Patel's fitness to practice had been impaired.
The member was invited to send in a written response, and did not do so.
The Panel was provided with the following written materials:
- The information submitted by an organisation.
- Unfavourable media coverage.
- Information from a Magistrate Court
The Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in this case. The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:
- Ms Patel pleaded guilty to the intentional sexual touching of two fifteen year old boys at a time when she held a position of trust at their school. This behaviour is incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy.
- Were Ms Patel to remain in membership, her actions could be seen to have brought, or may yet bring the reputations of the counselling and psychotherapy profession, and the Association, into disrepute.
Ms Patel was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received. Consequently her membership was withdrawn.
Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.