Suit claims counselor had affair with client ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY--Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale


An Annapolis woman has filed a $15 million suit against her former marriage counselor, alleging that the counselor told her to stay away from her husband, then had an affair with him.

Saundra Devese of the 300 block of First St., alleges in the suit that Dr. Abby Rosen, a licensed psychologist with offices on West Street in Annapolis, began counseling Ms. Devese and her husband, Peter Pelling, in July 1989. The couple has since divorced.

The suit says the reason for the visits was to help Ms. Devese's "deteriorating marriage" and "enrich her relationship with her husband."

Ms. Devese attended at least 18 sessions, which continued until March 1990, according to the suit.

The suit says that the initial psychotherapy sessions were joint sessions, but that in late 1989 and early 1990, Ms. Devese and Mr. Pelling each began private counseling with Dr. Rosen.

"During this period of alleged treatment of plaintiff, individually LTC and with her husband, defendant consistently advised plaintiff to be distant from her husband, not to engage in intimate and/or sexual contact with him, and ultimately to separate from him," the suit says.

The suit says that Dr. Rosen informed Ms. Devese of the affair in a private counseling session March 27, 1990.

"This was plaintiff's last professional visit to defendant," the suit notes.

Mr. Pelling admitted having the affair later that evening, according to the suit.

The suit does not say when Mr. Pelling and Ms. Devese were divorced.

Thomas Giunta, Dr. Rosen's lawyer, denied that there was any sexual relationship between his client and Mr. Pelling.

"These allegations are unequivocally denied," he said. "The charges are ludicrous."

The suit alleges professional negligence, breach of a fiduciary duty and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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