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Lansing Counselor Suspended for Alleged Sexual Misconduct with Patient

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (5272)

August 19, 2019 – Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, on behalf of the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), filed an administrative complaint against counselor Joseph Aaron Scott Hethorn of Lansing, MI. LARA has summarily suspended Mr. Hethorn’s counselor license based on allegations of sexual misconduct with a patient and other violations of the Michigan Public Health Code.

“We take allegations of sexual misconduct and other unethical behavior by any health professional very seriously,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “In this case, we found it necessary to suspend the counselor’s license to protect the health and safety of the public.”

The Michigan Public Health Code provides for summary suspension of professional licenses when the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.

“It is imperative that Michigan residents have the ability to seek counseling without fear that a health professional will take advantage of them or otherwise engage in inappropriate conduct,” Nessel said. “Our office, in conjunction with LARA, makes every effort to ensure the health and safety of our residents.”

The complaint alleges six violations of the Public Health Code:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Offering practice-related services in exchange for sexual favors
  • Negligence and a failure to exercise due care
  • Incompetence
  • Lack of good moral character
  • A betrayal of professional confidence

LARA encourages all concerned residents, patients, parents, and peers to file complaints against licensed health professionals who may allegedly be risking public health, safety or welfare.

For more information on filing a complaint with the department, visit or review the Citizen’s Guide to Filing a Complaint.

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