PORTLAND, Ore. — A therapist who criticized the University of Oregon Counseling Center’s leader for accessing a rape accuser’s mental health records has resigned, saying she has faced retaliation for speaking out.
In January, Jennifer Morlok, the therapist, and Karen Stokes, former executive assistant to the director of the counseling center, filed a complaint with the state Board of Psychologist Examiners against four people, including the Counseling Center director, who agreed to give the therapy records to university lawyers.
Morlok circulated an open letter on Monday saying the retaliation against her continued after the Board of Psychologist Examiners found in September that the Counseling Center director failed to protect the confidentiality of a student’s therapy records, The Oregonian reports.
In her letter, Morlok said superiors relieved her of her duties, didn’t provide necessary professional assistance and took no supportive actions after the state board’s ruling.
“I am disheartened that, because of the ill treatment I have endured after speaking up regarding confidential records being disclosed unethically by the director…” Morlok wrote, “I am forced to resign.”
UO Vice President for Student Life Robin Holmes says administrators are sorry to see Morlok go and would welcome her reconsideration.
“While we disagree with various assertions in Ms. Morlok’s resignation letter, as an institution of higher education that welcomes and encourages diverse viewpoints and voices, we are fundamentally opposed to anything that can be construed as workplace retaliation against those who air critical views or opinions,” Holmes said.
Stokes and Morlok are expected to soon file suit against the university. The pair filed a tort-claim notice in August accusing the school of unlawful employment practices.
The student whose records were accessed alleged last year that she was raped by three basketball players at an off-campus party. The Lane County district attorney didn’t file criminal charges, citing lack of evidence.
The student, however, sued the university and the case was settled out of court with the woman getting $800,000 and a free education.