With regards to the coverage of Kelly O’Rourke (a Portland clinical social worker charged with having an unlawful sexual relationship with a female client), I want to remind the Portland Press Herald and its readers that, under U.S. law, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Actions by the Maine State Board of Social Work Licensure or criminal justice system require due process, including gathering evidence, calling witnesses and the accused presenting their version of the facts. Alleged transgressions are only alleged until proven otherwise. Cases are tried in a court of law or reviewed by the board, not tried in the court of public opinion or in the newspaper.

It could easily take the licensing board six months to gather information and review the case, and the fact that the board hasn’t taken action against Mr. O’Rourke’s license quite possibly means there was insufficient evidence to do so.

Revoking someone’s license is the most severe action a board can take, and would represent a loss of income over the next 15 years of about $750,000. Thus, it is not an action to be taken without sufficient evidence.

I have known Kelly O’Rourke as a colleague for about five years, and during that time he has been considered a stellar clinician with excellent reviews by his clients and peers. Thus, I find it hard to believe these accusations, and hope that further investigation will clear his name.

Barbara Pearson