Former prison therapist loses license after affair

Staff WriterDecember 8, 2009 

— The state board that regulates psychologists has revoked the license of Kristel K. Rider, a prison therapist who had a sexual affair with one of her patients and then shot him.

Under state law, Rider can apply to regain her license from the N.C. Psychological Board after one year, though it is up to the panel's discretion whether she is reinstated.

According to a copy of the board's order signed last week, Rider admitted having a sexually intimate relationship with her former patient, Lamount K. Friend, starting April 3, the night he was released from Neuse Correctional Institution.

It is a violation of the legal and ethical rules governing the conduct of psychologists for them to have romantic relationships with their clients due to the influence that therapists can exert.

A state psychologist since 2004, Rider lost her job with the state Department of Correction after shooting Friend in the back on April 21, less than three weeks after his release. He survived the wound from the .38 caliber slug, which passed through his chest inches from his heart.

Rider has not been charged with any crime in the shooting and has rebuffed repeated requests for an interview.

Rider waived her right to appear before the board, but her attorney told the body that she regrets her conduct and intends to someday reapply for a license.

Friend, a convicted felon from Clayton, is now back behind bars in the Watauga County Jail, charged with five counts of violating a domestic violence protective order barring him from contact with Rider. She moved back to her hometown of Boone following the loss of her job at the prison.

Friend is scheduled to appear in court on those charges Dec. 16.

michael.biesecker@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4698

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