Psychologist, killer in affair
SELMA MILOVANOVICFebruary 16, 2010
Michelle Mair leaves the tribunal yesterday. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
A PSYCHOLOGIST has admitted she started an affair with a convicted child killer she had treated because she believed her romantic feelings would be of ''most therapeutic value'' for him.
Michelle Mair yesterday told a tribunal that will decide her professional fate she confessed to the affair 2½ years after it began only because she was forced to report her former lover to police for stalking.
Ms Mair was a psychologist with Corrections Victoria when she began treating the killer, who was on parole, in 2005.
The Age is unable to reveal details of the man's brutal offending. His identity was suppressed yesterday after he was described as an ''innocent victim'' in Ms Mair's case.
Ms Mair yesterday told the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal that, as time went on, she eventually stopped resisting him holding her hand during therapy sessions.
In January 2006, Ms Mair stopped treating the killer and referred him to another specialist. The following month, she drove to the man's house, and to his surprise, told him she had feelings for him too.
''I think at the time I'd specifically developed some sort of rescue fantasy where I started to believe that my feelings for my ex-client would have the most therapeutic value for him,'' Ms Mair told the tribunal.
''He was somebody searching for something or trying to find love and at the time I naively and foolishly believed that I was the answer to that.''
In April 2006, Ms Mair decided to leave the man after he threw a clothes stand across the room in her direction, breaking a window. ''In the back of my mind I knew what I was doing was wrong professionally and that started to grate on my conscience more and more,'' Ms Mair said.
The killer was eventually jailed again but continued calling Ms Mair, begging to see her when he was released.
In early 2007, she saw him for the last time and had sex with him despite not wanting to because ''I was scared if I didn't, what would happen''.
Ms Mair finally decided to report her former lover for stalking in August 2008, after the man continued to call her with threats and demands of continuing the relationship.
Ms Mair said she called the Psychologists Registration Board and reported herself for professional misconduct. She was formally warned by Corrections Victoria and is now on secondment to the Office of Gaming and Racing.
The case continues today