As a sex offender treatment provider, you are a licensed professional in Texas who must adhere to professional and ethical standards of practice. When a client, former client, or other person complains about your services, your license may be in jeopardy. In this situation, your wisest move is to protect your license by enlisting the help of an experienced sex offender treatment provider license defense lawyer.
Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers
The Council on Sex Offender Treatment (CSOT), which is an administrative agency attached to Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC), establishes the standards of practice for Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers (LSOTPs) in Texas. In addition, this agency maintains an updated list of all licensed treatment providers. The Health Care Regulation (HCR) Department of HHSC has a Professional Licensing Compliance responsible for processing and evaluating all license applications for LSOTPs. Ultimately, it issues approved licenses for LSOTPs.
Processing Complaints Against LSOTPs
If the HCR receives a complaint about an LSOTP, it is assigned to the Ethics Committee. This Committee’s role under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 810.9(c) is to:
- review each complaint and determine whether the complaint fits within the category of a valid complaint affecting the health and safety of clients or other persons,
- ensure that complaints are not dismissed without appropriate consideration,
- ensure that a person who files a complaint has an opportunity to explain the allegations made in the complaint, and
- resolve the issues of the complaint
Suppose the Ethics Committee determines that there are insufficient grounds to support the allegations in the complaint. In that case, it can dismiss the complaint and notify both the complainant and the LSOTP of the dismissal. However, if the Ethics Committee determines that there are sufficient grounds to support the allegations in the complaint, it goes to HCR’s Substance Use Disorder Compliance Unit (SUDCU) for investigation. If SUDCU’s investigation reveals that an LSOTP has violated a state law or rule, the investigative findings go to CSOT for disciplinary action.
Initiating the Disciplinary Process and Potential Sanctions
CSOT will notify the LSOTP in writing of the substance of the complaint. The LSOTP has 20 days to respond to the complaint. A failure to respond to the complaint will constitute evidence of a failure to cooperate and may subject the LSOTP to further disciplinary action.
If an LSOTP violates a rule or law, CSOT has the authority to revoke, suspend, or deny the renewal of a license. It also can place a person on probation whose license has been suspended, assess an administrative penalty, or issue a reprimand.
Under Tex. Occ. Code § 110.352, if CSOT opts to probate the suspension of a person’s license, CSOT can require the person to:
- regularly report to the council on matters that are the basis of the probation,
- limit the person’s practice to the areas prescribed by the council, or
- continue or review professional education until the person attains a degree of skill satisfactory to the council in those areas that are the basis of the probation
CSOT also can assess administrative penalties, ranging from $50 to $5,000 per violation. Each day a violation occurs or continues is a separate violation. The amount of the administrative penalty depends on the severity of the violation, the economic harm caused by the violation, any history of previous violations, the amount necessary to deter future violations, efforts made to correct the violation, and any other relevant matters.
LSOTPs can request a hearing on whether a violation occurred, the amount of the penalty, or both under Tex. Occ. Code § 110.454 within 20 days. Otherwise, they may just accept and pay the penalty as assessed. If an LSOTP requests a hearing, the case goes to an administrative law judge (ALJ) from the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) to schedule a hearing.
Unless the parties agree or an administrative law judge (ALJ) determines otherwise, a formal hearing is held on disciplinary proceedings brought by CSOT to suspend or revoke an LSOTP’s license. CSOT will give the LSOTP written notice of the opportunity for a hearing and the basis for the proposed action. The LSOTP then has 20 days to either:
- Waive the hearing and surrender the license,
- Waive the hearing and accept the proposed penalty and/or
- Request an informal settlement conference and/or formal hearing
If the LSOTP fails to respond, the CSOT can enter a default order. However, if the LSOTP requests an informal settlement conference and/or formal hearing, the CSOT must initiate the procedures to schedule these events within 20 calendar days.
Reasons for Revocation or Non-Renewal of an LSOPT’s License
22 Tex. Admin. Code § 810.8 lists various grounds that CSOT may revoke or refuse to renew the license of an LSOTP. These grounds include:
- Conviction or deferred adjudication for any misdemeanor involving a sexual offense or sexually motivated offense, or any felony, sexual or otherwise,
- Engagement in deceit or fraud in connection with the delivery of services, supervision, or documentation of licensure requirements,
- Violated of the Act or any rule adopted by the CSOT,
- Prohibition from renewal by the Education Code, §57.491 (relating to Loan Default Ground for Non-renewal of Professional or Occupational License); or
- Prohibition from renewal by a court order or attorney general’s order issued under the Family Code, Chapter 232 (relating to Suspension of License for Failure to Pay Child Support or Observe a Child Custody Order).
Additionally, the CSOT may take action against a licensee or deny an application or renewal under Occupations Code, Chapter 53, if the licensee has felony or misdemeanor convictions related to the duties and responsibilities of a sex offender treatment provider.
Find Out More About How to Handle Your Disciplinary Proceedings
We want to help put you in the best position possible to protect your license. Contact the sex offender treatment provider license defense attorneys of Bertolino, LLP, for assistance with your case. You can reach our offices by calling (512) 515-9518 or contacting us online.