A former Scarborough therapist will serve two years in prison after he pleaded guilty Wednesday to having sex with a client and then contacting her in violation of the conditions of his release while awaiting trial.

Prosecutors and Kelly O’Rourke worked out a plea deal in which he was sentenced to four years in prison with two years suspended and two years probation on the gross sexual assault charge. For violating the conditions of his release, he was sentenced to two years all suspended and two more years of probation. The probation runs consecutively, meaning he will serve four years of probation once he is released from prison.

O’Rourke has been jailed since July and will get credit for the time he has served.

In emotional testimony, O’Rourke’s victim said she suffered a childhood of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, and then O’Rourke isolated her from family and friends after she began seeing him in 2012 to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and depression. She said O’Rourke made her believe that he was the only reason she was alive.

“Kelly used therapy and the treatment plan to justify his behavior and that has left a profound wound,” she said. “I had to keep it all a secret from everyone.”

The Portland Press Herald does not name victims of sexual assault without their consent, and the woman has requested anonymity. Justice Joyce Wheeler instructed the news media in the courtroom not to take her picture as she addressed the court.


O’Rourke, who now lives in Portland, read a brief statement before he was sentenced and apologized to the victim.

He was arrested last June 30 and was charged with gross sexual assault because, under Maine law, sex acts between a counselor and patient are not considered consensual. He initially pleaded not guilty, was freed on $1,000 cash bail and told not to contact the woman.

His license to practice social work was suspended last summer. He was subsequently re-arrested in July after contacting the victim in violation of the terms of his release. According to police, O’Rourke used social media to determine where the woman would be, and then appeared next to her car in Portland and hugged her, despite her protests.

He has been held in jail since his second arrest and was scheduled to have a dispositional hearing Wednesday, which turned out to be a hearing on a change of plea and sentencing.

The victim said O’Rourke’s actions tore her family apart and her teen-aged son no longer lives with her.

“It was like a tornado was ripped through my life and all that was left was destruction,” she said. “Kelly took everything from us. The losses me and my children have experienced this year have been devastating. At times I have felt paralyzed by anxiety, panic and sadness.”


She also thanked the Portland police officers who investigated the crime and Family Crisis Services for helping her.

After the hearing, the woman said she felt O’Rourke’s sentence was fair and declined further comment.

Wheeler commended the victim for appearing and speaking to the court, saying she hoped her bravery would lead other victims of sexual assault to come forward because of her example.

And, Wheeler said, the woman’s children would benefit from how she has handled what happened, in particular her 14-year-old daughter.

“How she sees you growing out of this experience and recovering will be shaped by this,” she said. “This was not your fault.”

Then, Wheeler turned to O’Rourke and made sure he knew how what he had done had affected the woman and her children.

O’Rourke nodded.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:


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