Louisiana psychiatric NP arrested for third degree rape

đź’¬ comments

Louisiana sheriff's detectives arrested PMHNP Brennan C. Bergeron, 29, after receiving a complaint that he allegedly raped a victim during an office visit at a local health care facility.

Louisiana psychiatric NP arrested for third degree rape
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm / Unsplash

UPDATE: After receiving new information and reviewing the case, the Calcasieu District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Brennan Bergeron in January 2023.

James McGee, with the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office, said that while there was probable cause for an arrest in October, authorities received additional evidence and decided to drop the charges.
“We do not feel the evidence supports a case that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” McGee said.
DA drops charges against nurse practitioner
Through his attorney, Bergeron has continued to maintain his innocence.

From the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office:

Lake Charles, LA –

On October 13, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives received a complaint in reference to a Nurse Practitioner, Brennan C. Bergeron, 29, Iowa, raping a victim during an office visit at a local health care facility.

During the investigation, detectives executed search warrants, at which time they discovered evidence corroborating the victim’s statements. On October 18, after further investigation detectives issued a warrant signed by Judge Tony Fazzio for Bergeron’s arrest. The following day he was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with 3rd degree rape. He was released later the same day on a $650,000 bond.

CPSO Detective Kimberly Curran is the lead investigator on this case.

An arrest is an indication that probable cause exists to believe the subject was involved in the offense alleged. A person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Editor's commentary

The above law enforcement press release doesn't go into detail about what NP Bergeron's area of practice is or what "local health care facility" the alleged rape occurred at, but a quick search of the usual open-source healthcare databases reveals that Mr. Bergeron is a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) affiliated with Lake Charles Memorial Medical Group / Lake Charles Memorial Health System, with the location of his primary practice listed as Lake Charles Behavioral Health:

Lake Charles Behavioral Health | Mental Health Services
Lake Charles Memorial Health System provides comprehensive behavioral health treatment for adolescents, adults and geriatric patients with the backing of a full-service health system. Current services are available on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Memorial’s dedication to providing much needed…

This is all the more disturbing, once one becomes aware of Louisiana's definition of what third degree rape is.

§43. Third degree rape

A. Third degree rape is a rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:

  1. When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim's incapacity.
  2. When the victim, through unsoundness of mind, is temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the act and the offender knew or should have known of the victim's incapacity.
  3. When the victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim, other than the offender, and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender.
  4. When the offender acts without the consent of the victim.

B. Whoever commits the crime of third degree rape shall be imprisoned at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than twenty-five years.

C. For all purposes, "simple rape" and "third degree rape" mean the offense defined by the provisions of this Section and any reference to the crime of simple rape is the same as a reference to the crime of third degree rape. Any act in violation of the provisions of this Section committed on or after August 1, 2015, shall be referred to as "third degree rape".

Romantic or Sexual Relationships With Patients
A physician must terminate the patient-physician relationship before initiating a dating, romantic or sexual relationship with a patient.

As we all know, people with psychiatric or substance use disorders represent one of the most vulnerable patient populations out there. The press release doesn't specifically say that the victim was a patient, but admittedly, "raping a victim during an office visit" doesn't leave much to the imagination. The American Medical Association has pretty unambiguous guidelines when it comes to romantic or sexual relationships with patients. The American Psychiatric Association takes an even stronger stance on this issue in its Commentary on Ethics in Practice:

Sexual behavior with patients is unethical. Further, even the possibility of future sexual or romantic relationship may contaminate current clinical treatment. Therefore, sexual activity not only with current, but also with former patients is unethical. Likewise, any occasion in which the physician interacts with a current or former patient in a way that may be a prelude to a more intimate relationship should be avoided.

We wonder, do today's NP diploma mills teach these things? Or maybe it's something midlevels are supposed to learn on the job, like all the other clinical knowledge they failed to learn online?  Needless to say, the whole issue of having sex with a mentally compromised psychiatric patient who cannot legally or ethically consent is on a completely different level of reprehensibility and is just a categorically horrible thing to do. If the charges are proven true, we certainly hope that the Louisiana courts throw the book at Mr. Bergeron!