Nys Senator Eric Adams Responds To Psychologist’s Murder By Calling For Regulations That Prohibit Treatment Of Violent Patients At Psychotherapy Offices Located In Residential Buildings

Eric Adams

March 26, 2009

New York State Senator Eric Adams (D, Brooklyn) will hold a press conference following the murder of therapist Kathryn Faughey.   Senator Adams will call upon New York City officials to modify current law to prohibit treatment at psychotherapy offices located in residential buildings when a patient has a documented current record of violence.   

Senator Adams states, “We cannot tolerate an atmosphere in which residents feel that they or their loved ones are unsafe or insecure.  A violent patient deprives a family of the peacefulness of its most fundamental and essential haven, its home.“ 

On Tuesday evening, February 12, therapist Kathryn Faughey and psychiatrist Kent Shinbach were brutally attacked inside their shared Manhattan offices.  Dr. Faughey died of the inflicted wounds and Dr. Shinbach was hospitalized in critical condition.  Although the individual accused in the assault is not a current patient of either of his victims and the extreme violence of the occurrence is rare, the crime nonetheless raises issues of safety and security for New Yorkers who reside in structures that also house psychotherapy offices.  Residents have an expectation that their homes will be secure havens and should not have to fear the presence of violent patients in their buildings. 

New York State Senator Eric Adams is promoting a modification in Section 22-14 of Article II of the New York City Zoning Resolution that contains the regulations that allow treatment facilities in residential buildings. The rationale for permitting this use in a residential structure is based upon the fact that it does not create a significant objectionable impact on the residents.  Excluding patients with a record of violence (requiring that they be treated at non-residential sites) is clearly in keeping with the justification for this use.  

Senator Adams is also examining the possibility of altering the articles of the New York State Education Law that regulate the practice of therapy.  Article 153 Sections 7600-7606 (psychology) and Article 163 Sections 8400-8411 (mental health practitioners, including psychoanalysts) govern the mental health professions and may be amenable to amendment to provide for the care of violent patients in non-residential treatment facilities only.