This week the Connecticut Medical Examining Board restored me to the full practice of medicine. Due to the fact that my ex-husband Barry Lichtenthal impersonated a physician and examined female patients in a clinic that I directed, my license was restricted. I am not going to retell the full story today but I am going to comment on some things I have kept silent about. For more details of the story you can read Barry Lichtenthal: Sexual predator ruins the career of Dr. Liane Leedom. Donna Andersen is an excellent journalist and did her own investigation in order to report the story. She uncovered details even I was unaware of.
I want to address the question of whether or not I was Barry’s “accomplice” and the question of what I was aware of in terms of the goings on. The precise answer to the question is that I was an unwitting accomplice. I knew that he told people he was a retired doctor and that he called himself “Dr. Taylor.”
This behavior on his part began shortly after the clinic opened. The first I was aware of it was when I was negotiating a contract with an insurance company. He got on the other line and started schmoozing with the executive. I do not remember exactly what he said but he told the man he was a retired doctor and proceeded to tell funny and entertaining stories. Although I laughed, I was disgusted at this because it seemed infantile on his part and a waste of time. I did not understand this was his “foot in the door” with me and these stories.
I correctly recognized these stories as being pathological lies (pseudologica fantastica). However, I did not understand that all people who are pathological liars are predators. I am now sure that this is the case, though if you read the Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley, he says that not all pathological liars are psychopaths.
I thought Barry told these stories because he has an ego problem and was threatened by his wife’s status. Again that interpretation was correct, but again I missed the significance of it. I let it go because I thought his pathological lies were harmless entertaining stories that no one really believed any way. Several patients indicated to me they were aware that the stories were entertaining fabrications.
I never told anyone Barry was a doctor. In fact I told every patient I was the only physician at the practice. I realize now this must have been very upsetting and confusing for some people who were being told one thing by me and another thing by Barry. Since he is a professional con artist who do you think was believed?
Because of this terrible judgment on my part, I deserved all the punishment that I received. Since I was part of other people’s victimization, I sought to do everything I could to make amends. The victims were compensated by my malpractice insurance carrier after I provided hours of truthful testimony regarding what happened. The officials of the insurance company believed my explanation that I never intended any fraudulent or criminal activity. I made the wrong decision regarding coping with my husband’s story telling.
Shortly after Barry’s arrest, I had the good fortune to speak with Annie Mcguire from fraudaid.com. It was she who made me aware of Donna Andersen. She and I also had a discussion of the unwitting accomplices of psychopaths. She said this is very common and pointed out that psychopaths could not do what they do without witting and unwitting accomplices. She has written step by step instructions for what to do if you are the unwitting accomplice to financial fraud.
I am speaking out about the fact that I was an unwitting accomplice to fraud to help to bring attention to this phenomenon. Psychopaths con and manipulate people into helping them do their dirty work and sometimes also into doing their dirty work for them. If we can raise public awareness of psychopathy and stop non-psychopaths from helping psychopaths we will be able to do a great deal of prevention. Do not ever help a psychopath in any way or you will be tricked into becoming an accomplice.
Now that gets me to telling the rest of the story. You might be wondering, “What ever happened to Barry Lichtenthal?” It is no surprise that he went to Connecticut State prison where he continued to tell his pathological lies. Prison staff members became his unwitting accomplices when they too did not prevent him from calling himself “doctor” or “doc.”
A law enforcement official told me that it was not illegal for Barry to call himself “doctor” in prison. He said this after I verbally reprimanded him for allowing this to go on. I told him I believe prisoners like Barry need to have a special designation “psychologically dangerous” so that prison staff will not be psychologically harmed by them. It seems odd that if a prisoner is more physically dangerous than average, staff members are warned, but there is no appreciation of the concept of psychological dangerousness.
Now enter another set of accomplices, family members. Even after they knew that Barry is what he is because I told them while also fully explaining the concept of psychopathy; and even after they witnessed his destruction of my life, members of his family participated in his seduction of his next woman. They sent her flowers on his behalf while he was incarcerated. They also did nothing to warn her even though I begged them to.
I was told by inside sources that the prison nurse who married Barry at one point believed he was a doctor. But I have not spoken with her myself to verify this. Donna and I have known about Barry’s new relationship because we both received letters from him while he was incarcerated, and the letters were not all stamped with the prison stamp. I received several letters addressed in a woman’s handwriting and postmarked “Hartford, CT.” Upon seeing the letters I knew that he had yet another person manipulated. I did my own investigation and found out he married a nurse who worked in the prison.
Donna and I did not write about our investigation of Barry and his marriage to the prison nurse because although I have all the documentation of the events that went on in the prison, we have no proof Barry and the nurse were actually married. Donna is a very good journalist and you can trust that she will not tell a story without possessing proof. For more information regarding Barry’s recent activities see Probation department wants access to sex offender’s computer
I pray every day that Barry, now in his 60s has mellowed and become less predatory. I believe that the best person to deal with him is an experienced prison nurse so I hope that situation is going well. I also pray there will be no more victims and no more accomplices.