GRAND FORKS -- A Grand Forks therapist pleaded guilty on Monday, Feb. 10, to sexual exploitation of a patient. He will be sentenced on June 15.
David Bialik, a licensed clinical social worker at the Center for Psychiatric Care, admitted to having consensual sex with a female patient last year and telling her to lie about their relationship.
The plea agreement recommends 30 days in jail followed by 150 days of electronic home monitoring plus five years of supervised probation. A pre-sentence investigation is expected to take at least three months.
Grand Forks County Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Gereszek told the court Monday that the victim, who is not a Grand Forks resident, sought out therapy services in January 2019 for past trauma from sexual assault. Her first session with Bialik was Jan. 24, 2019, and continued weekly, with sessions ranging from two hours to as long as four and a half hours long, Gereszek said.
Sessions began to include "a lot of touching," Gereszek said, and according to the victim, Bialik would stroke her hair, touch her arm and hug her. The touching escalated to consensual kissing and sexual contact in an empty office Bialik had access to during her appointment on April 2. During her following session April 9, Bialik made arrangements for them to meet at a hotel in Grand Forks.
He told the victim he would enter her as a "no show" in her medical records for the two appointments in an attempt to conceal their activities, according to court documents. Court documents also indicated that he told her that, if anyone asked about their relationship, she should say it was an "emotional affair" and a "transference thing," referring to when patients project feelings onto their therapist.
Gereszek also said Bialik encouraged the victim not to seek another therapist, because she would likely seek therapy in Minnesota, where therapists are mandated reporters and would be required to report the sexual relationship if she disclosed it.
Gereszek told the court that the victim said she "does not know why she did what she did," and that it was like she was "under a trance" while it was happening.