Addictions counselor accused of having sex with client

By: - July 22, 2021 2:06 pm

A former high school student is suing the Des Moines public school district, alleging her Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor repeatedly had sex with her in a schoolhouse office.(Creative Commons photo via

The Iowa Board of Social Work has accused an Iowa-licensed social worker of sending videos and texts of a sexual nature to a client.

The board alleges Kristal Lake of Kimballton sent sexually explicit text messages, photos and videos to a client. She is charged by the board with making suggestive, lewd, lascivious or improper remarks or advances to a client, a violation of a state licensing regulations.

The public statement of charges gives no indication as to when or where the alleged offense took place. A disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9, 2021.

Court records indicate Lake has worked as an alcoholism counselor for the Manning Family Recovery Center, run by Catholic Health Initiatives.

A civil lawsuit filed last year by a Shelby County man identified only as John Doe alleges that during his treatment at the recovery center last year, he was assigned to Lake for addiction counseling.

The lawsuit alleges Lake “initiated a personal relationship of a sexually predatory nature,” making comments such as, “I don’t know how I’m going to keep myself together with you in my office.” Allegedly, the two then entered into a short-lived sexual relationship, with Lake sending him sexual images, videos, and text messages.

In his lawsuit, Doe claims he cut off all contact with Lake about 20 days later, in August 2020.

In addition to Lake, defendants in the case include Catholic Health Initiatives; the recovery center; Manning Regional Healthcare Center; MercyOne; and a counselor by the name of Damon Bromley who reportedly knew of the alleged relationship between Doe and Lake.

The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

Other recent actions by Iowa’s state licensing boards include:

  • The Iowa Board of Podiatry has suspended for 30 days the license of Scot Freschi of Des Moines. The board alleged he inappropriately touched the breasts of a co-worker and charged him with improper sexual contact with a co-worker. The matter was settled pursuant to a settlement agreement that involves the 30-day license suspension plus two years of licensing probation, during which time Freschi must have a designated worksite monitor who will make quarterly reports to the board.
  • The Iowa Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology issued a warning to Adam Strausser of Waterloo. According to the board, Strausser admits that he billed for speech pathology services he never provided. The public filings give no indication as to how many clients were wrongly billed or how much the questionable billing totaled. As part of settlement agreement with the board, Strausser must take courses in ethics and billing and notify future employers of the board’s action.
  • The Iowa Board of Social Work restored the license of Trevor Phipps, free and clear of any restrictions. Last fall, the board issued Phipps a warning and fined him $500 after finding that he had been convicted of violating a no-contact order, assault, interference with official acts and disorderly conduct. The convictions were entered in three separate criminal cases between August 2019 and June 2020. As part of a settlement agreement reached with the board last year, Phipps agreed to take 12 hours of courses in anger management and ethics. Court records indicate the convictions for assault and interference with official acts are tied to a March 2019 domestic violence case. A Winterset police officer reported seeing Phipps dragging a woman off the porch of a house toward the street. Phipps allegedly rushed toward one of the officers, and the two wrestled on the ground before he was handcuffed and arrested. Inside the house, a 13-year-old girl was found confined in a bedroom with the door locked from the outside. Charges of child endangerment and false imprisonment were later dismissed.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.