COEUR d'ALENE — The trial this month for a Kootenai Health therapist charged with rape and sexual abuse of an underage patient has been rescheduled for Feb. 26 in Coeur d’Alene’s First District Court.
Jeffrey Worley, 43, Coeur d’Alene, who pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult in July, is accused of having sex with a teenage patient he was counseling after a suicide attempt.
The mental health counselor was arrested after a Coeur d’Alene Police investigation found probable cause to charge Worley, whose alleged victim said the therapist entered into a relationship with her while she was in high school.
The then 17-year-old girl began seeing Worley after a 2016 suicide attempt and the relationship lasted more than a year, according to a police report.
Worley, a Kootenai Behavioral Health therapist with more than 18 years experience as a professional counselor, bailed out of the Kootenai County Jail on a $100,000 bond shortly after his arrest.
His attorneys said Worley had no criminal record and there were no other allegations of similar behavior in his career.
The alleged victim’s allegations were based solely on statements, according to Robyn McPherson, Worley’s defense attorney last July at the time of his arrest. His wife was willing to help in his defense, McPherson said.
Since then, Worley has waived a preliminary hearing and hired Coeur d’Alene attorney John Redal as his private counsel.
Worley is accused of having sex with the 17-year-old patient “hundreds of times” at his Ironwood Drive office and other places, including in Spokane, according to the alleged victim, who is now 19 years old.
The relationship started with hugging, nap times and non-sexual “spooning” in the dark as part of what the teen thought was her therapy, then graduated to sexual intercourse, according to police reports.
When the alleged victim — who is diagnosed with major depressive disorders, borderline personality disorder and clinical anxiety, according to a report — tried to break off the relationship, Worley threatened suicide.
The relationship that began in 2016 continued until the summer of 2017, the victim said. The teen said she finally reported Worley because she didn’t want him to victimize others.
Worley waived his right to a speedy trial at a hearing this month, and First District Judge Scott Wayman ordered the defendant to appear at a Jan. 22 pretrial conference before his three-day trial begins.