Tennessee psychiatrist whipped patients, called them 'mules,' state says

A Germantown, Tennessee, psychiatrist was forced to close her practice for at least two months and could lose her license permanently after reports showed she spanked patients with whips and compared some to mules.

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According to documents from the Tennessee disciplinary medical board, Dr. Valerie Augustus – a psychiatrist who has led the Christian Psychiatrist Services for the past 17 years – allegedly used a riding crop to spank at least 10 patients in 2015.

The medical discipline documents were made public Friday.

Following the investigation, the state concluded that Augustus had used the riding crop and other objects to make “contact with other patients” on their buttocks.

Documents also stated Augustus displayed the whip in her office and compared her patients to mules.

One of her patients, according to the documents, was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.

That patient also had a history of physical abuse, documents stated.

After a hearing, Augustus license was suspended for at least 60 days starting in June. The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners cited a lack of evidence for using such devices as treatment for patients.

On June 2, her practice listed her as out on personal leave for an unspecified amount of time.

Augustus was also fined $10,000 for whipping her patients and faces a three-year probation period if her license is restored.

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