Dec 20, 2001

Self-help guru charged with sexually battering patients

December 20, 2001

Dr. Harold Bloomfield, a psychotherapist and nationally known author of self-help books, was arrested Wednesday on charges that he drugged and sexually battered seven female patients, police said.

San Diego Sheriff's Department deputies took Bloomfield, 57, into custody Wednesday morning after serving a search warrant on his house and office in the exclusive San Diego suburb of Del Mar, said Lt. Ron Van Raaphorst.

Bloomfield is charged with seven counts of unlawful drugging and three counts of sexual battery, Van Raaphorst said. Sexual battery, under California law, is a sexual assault that falls short of a rape charge, he said. Bail was set at $500,000.

The investigation that led to the arrest began in September, when the women began bringing their complaints to the Sheriff's Department, Van Raaphorst said. The seven women, who have not been publicly identified, were all in their early 30s and were from the San Diego area, Las Vegas and Atlanta, he said.

The investigation is continuing, and "certainly the potential exists for more victims to come forward," Van Raaphorst said.

While police did not identify the drugs allegedly used in the assaults, an affidavit used to secure the search warrant from a judge asked for permission to search for ecstasy, amphetamines, barbiturates and opiates.

The affidavit outlines Bloomfield's alleged conduct with three of the women, who reported to police that he gave them drinks, including lemonade and smoothies, after which the women said they began feeling strange and were subjected to sexual overtures.

Two of the women later tested positive for drugs in their system; the third, who didn't take a drug test until 19 hours after the alleged incident, tested negative, the affidavit said. One of the women took the remnants of her drink to police, and ecstasy and methamphetamines were found, the affidavit said.

Bloomfield, a Yale-trained psychotherapist and psychological educator, has written 17 books that have sold more than 7 million copies, according to a biography on his Web site. His books have included Making Peace with Yourself, Making Peace with Your Family, How to Feel Safe in an Unsafe World, How To Heal Depression and TM: Discovering Inner Energy, which dealt with transcendental meditation.

He has appeared on numerous national television shows, including Oprah, Good Morning America and CNN's Larry King Live.