TRENTON — A top state psychologist who was fired after allegedly having an affair with a sex offender patient surrendered her license to practice today, records show.
The consent agreement, which described the allegations as “boundary violations,” allows psychologist Natalie Barone to avoid a public hearing for now. However, the State Board of Psychological Examiners could still decide to investigate the case.
Barone has appealed her firing and denied any wrongdoing. However, during proceedings involving her psychology license, she did not formally respond to allegations of an affair with sex offender Michael Bordo, a former patient.
Barone’s attorney, Jack Furlong, said she didn’t attempt “to prove a negative” because she left New Jersey and doesn’t need her license here anymore.
Bordo’s state-assigned lawyer, Assistant Deputy Public Advocate Mary Foy, said she’s glad Barone surrendered her license but added that wasn’t enough.
“It’s a miscarriage of justice that the allegations weren’t fully vetted in a public hearing,” Foy said.
He said she warned him not to discuss their relationship.
“She said, ‘If you ever repeat any of this, who’s going to believe you? You’re a rapist and I’m the director of psychology,’” Bordo said.
Furlong dismissed Bordo’s statements.
“I know sex offenders who are highly credible. Michael Bordo isn’t one of them,” he said. “He’s trying to shift blame for his own misconduct.”
Bordo pleaded guilty in 1996 to aggravated criminal sexual contact in the assaults of two teenage girls. He said he started one-on-one counseling with Barone at the Special Treatment Unit Annex in Avenel to prepare for his court-ordered release.
After Bordo was released on June 3, 2009, the pair began to rendezvous in hotel rooms, he said. An internal investigation began last summer when an off-duty corrections officer spotted Barone and Bordo walking down a Jersey Shore boardwalk, according to three state officials with knowledge of the case.
Days later, Bordo said, Barone told him they had to stop seeing each other.
“She called me crying from work,” Bordo said. “She said someone had pictures of us.”
Bordo was arrested on Aug. 3, 2009 on charges of marijuana possession and driving without a valid license. The charges were dropped, but he has been re-committed at the annex. He said staff members there are scornful and his required therapy hasn’t been fair.
“If I’m not in a group setting, they hardly say a word to me,” he said. “They believe that I made Natalie a victim, that I pursued her instead of her pursuing me.”