• Woman says Kissimmee counselor, priest took advantage of her

    By: Len Kiese

    Updated:

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A woman said she trusted an Osceola County therapist to help her through one of her darkest times. Instead, she said he took advantage of her.

    "It is the most disgusting feeling and such a violation," she said. She is not being identified to protect her privacy.

    The Kissimmee Police Department said more women have come forward with accusations against that mental health counselor and Episcopal priest, bringing the number of accusers now to three.

    The suspect is already facing battery charges, but even with these two other accusers he's not facing any more charges so far.

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    Police said a Kissimmee woman won't press charges but will testify against the counselor when he heads to trial.

    The other accuser said it happened in California, so it would be up to authorities there to bring charges.

    "It infuriates me," said the accuser who asked to not be identified.

    She said she experienced anger and disappointment at the hands of counselor Gerardo De Jesus at Mindful Behavioral Healthcare in Kissimmee.

    "For him to do what he did to me when he had kind of taken on this fatherly type role, it was disgusting," she said. "I can't even say how absolutely filthy and disgusting that made me feel."

    The former law enforcement officer said she began seeing De Jesus as a patient last year for anxiety, depression, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    "I was there at one of the darkest points in my life, seeking help," she said.

    She said she is unable to go into specifics of the case, but records said De Jesus repeatedly brushed against her breast, commented on how attractive she was, hugged her and kissed her.

    "I was basically re-traumatized while I was in therapy for trauma," she said. "He's not going to get away with what he did to me and to other women."

    Police said two other women have come forward.

    A recently-filed statement from one of them said De Jesus touched her on several occasions without her permission.

    "He pressed his face close to mine and kissed me. He would tell me that he loved me," the statement said.

    De Jesus' attorney said in a statement, "My client vehemently denies any and all allegations. We look forward to an opportunity to challenge these allegations in court."

    A court hearing is scheduled for De Jesus' case next week.

    An emergency restriction has been placed on his license to practice in Florida. He is also not allowed to work as an Episcopal priest.

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