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Prosecutors: National Guard psychiatrist abused patient seeking help for sexual trauma

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An Apple Valley psychiatrist and a Minnesota Army National Guard major is facing charges in the alleged sexual assault of a former patient. 

Prosecutors in Dakota County have charged Gavin Patrick Meany, 38, with two counts of criminal sexual conduct. 

His alleged victim contacted Burnsville police three weeks ago and told investigators that Meany sexually abused her over several years.

The woman — who suffered trauma from past sexual assaults and domestic violence — said she started going to Meany for psychiatric care at a clinic in St. Louis Park in 2015.  She also sought help for an eating disorder.

The charging documents say that Meany began with touching and asked “personal, sexual questions that did not appear relevant to anything they were discussing.” He also asked to look at places on her body where she had harmed herself, at one point lifting her shirt and touching her.

After following him to a new practice a year and a half later, she says his sexual advances became more overt. At one point, as they talked about whether to have sex, Meany said that would be illegal, according to the criminal complaint. 

The woman told a new therapist about her experience and soon contacted authorities.

In a statement to investigators, Meany said he knew what he was doing was inappropriate and that he “had crossed boundaries,” but said the woman “was being romantic and sexual towards him. Eventually, he started reciprocating.”

Minnesota National Guard spokesperson Col. Joe Sharkey said in an email that Meany, a major, serves as a behavioral health officer at the Guard's headquarters. 

“The Minnesota National Guard investigates all claims of misconduct involving our service members thoroughly,” Sharkey said in a statement. “Sexual assault is not tolerated in the Minnesota National Guard."

Meany was released from jail on $15,000 bond. He is due in court Oct. 10. 

MPR News reporter Brian Bakst contributed to this story.