Whatcom counselor faces discipline for romance with client

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A counselor is facing discipline from the state Department of Health for allegedly having a romantic and sexual relationship with a client while employed at Lake Whatcom Residential and Treatment Center, the agency announced Monday.

Thomas E. Brown worked at the treatment center in 2016 and this year, and developed the relationship in that time while counseling the client, according to a statement of charges filed in late November.

The center provides services to adults with severe and persistent mental illness.

Brown is being accused of unprofessional conduct. His license to practice expired in October.

Brown has 20 days to respond to the Department of Health in writing. The matter then goes to the settlement process. If no disciplinary agreement can be reached at that point, the agency said, the case will go to a hearing.