A Scarborough social worker accused of having a sexual relationship with a patient pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges of gross sexual assault and violating conditions of his bail.

Kelly O’Rourke, 51, a licensed clinical social worker and former employee of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, was arrested on the sexual assault charge June 30. After being released on bail, O’Rourke was arrested on July 20 after allegedly tracking down the victim and approaching her when she was sitting in her parked car in Portland. His bail conditions prohibited him from having contact with the woman and he has been held in jail since the second arrest.

Under Maine law, counselors who engage in sex acts with clients face potential criminal charges in addition to licensing sanctions. Because of the power wielded by a counselor over a client, sex acts are not considered consensual. O’Rourke’s license to practice social work, first issued in 2006, was suspended this summer by the Maine State Board of Social Worker Licensure pending the outcome of the criminal case. But it took six months for the board to take up the complaint, and O’Rourke kept an active license during that time.

More details of the case emerged Wednesday when Superior Court Justice Roland Cole unsealed Portland police reports that had previously been kept from the public.

The reports detail the alleged long-term relationship and accusations of manipulative and controlling actions by O’Rourke toward the victim. O’Rourke did not make any statements during his arraignment in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland.

The victim, 40, of Portland, declined to comment Wednesday but has previously told the Portland Press Herald that the relationship was “absolutely devastating, catastrophic to my life.” The newspaper does not name victims of sexual assault without their consent.

O’Rourke will remain in jail pending an Oct. 12 dispositional hearing, when a possible plea deal could be reached.

Robert Andrews, O’Rourke’s attorney, who has previously said O’Rourke has a “stellar” reputation, declined to comment except to say that he has been in discussions with prosecutors.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said in an email that all parties are seeking a plea agreement. “There are not a lot of factual issues (in dispute) here, and of course the victim would prefer a disposition rather than have to undergo the additional trauma of testifying,” she said.

The police reports indicate O’Rourke began a sexual relationship with the victim in the summer of 2015, after having been her mental health counselor for about three years. She told police the two had “many sexual encounters while he was her therapist.”

After O’Rourke was forced to resign from his job in January at Maine Behavioral Healthcare when his employer became aware of the relationship, he pressured the victim to move in with him, and she did in March, according to a June 29 police report.

“(The victim) said she didn’t move in with him because she loves him, but because she felt pressured. (O’Rourke) constantly tells (the victim) that he is the only reason she is alive and he is the only one who can fix her. (O’Rourke) tells her he can’t live without her,” the police report said.

Officers who were called to the Portland apartment that O’Rourke and the woman shared said they noticed that the woman would “shut down” whenever O’Rourke was in her presence. The reports also said the woman had attempted suicide.

After O’Rourke was released on bail in July, he posted images on social media designed to upset the victim, she told police. When she was in a car in Portland on July 20, she turned to see O’Rourke standing at her passenger window. She told him he shouldn’t be there, but he leaned into the car, hugged her and said that “he loved her very much, that this was killing him and he was upset that he could not contact her,” according to the police report.

Later that night, officers found O’Rourke at his Scarborough residence and arrested him on a charge of violating conditions of his bail.


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