A former behavioral health specialist at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden has been permanently barred from practicing as a counselor or psychotherapist in Colorado after allegedly aiding the escape of a juvenile offender and engaging in a relationship with him in her home while he was a fugitive.
According to official documents, Kirsten Gonzalez was 26 years old at the time she signed a home pass for the 19-year-old male inmate in August 2017, allegedly knowing he was planning not to return to the correctional facility. Her supervisors at the time issued a letter of reprimand to her for providing the pass.
The escapee was finally apprehended in October 2018, when he was arrested in connection with a carjacking. He was convicted of robbery in June 2019 and sentenced to six years in prison. In July 2019 he was sentenced to three years for his escape from the youth detention center.
Gonzalez’s alleged further involvement with the fugitive was not discovered until July 2019, when she reportedly admitted in a recorded interview with Lookout Mountain staff that she had been involved in a relationship with him. She reportedly was escorted from the facility that day and resigned her position soon after.
According to official documents, a subsequent investigation by the Golden Police Department found that Gonzalez provided him with the home pass, had knowledge of the escape and provided him with shelter and comfort after his escape.
Gonzalez was arrested in August 2019 on felony charges of aiding escape and accessory to escape, and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. Her next appearance in Jefferson County Court is scheduled for May 26.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners received a complaint against her, alleging “an inappropriate relationship with a client,” which if true, would violate state law under the Mental Health Practice Act.
The Board ordered Gonzalez to undergo a “mental or physical evaluation” in September 2019, and when Gonzalez failed to comply, the Board in October 2019 suspended her license to practice until she submitted to the required evaluation.
Then, in a January 2020 agreement with the Colorado boards that regulate licensed professional counselors and registered psychotherapists, Gonzalez agreed to permanently give up her counselor’s license and psychotherapist’s registration and never to reapply for them, though she still denied the Board’s allegations.
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