Psychiatrist Treating Shooting Suspect Previously Reprimanded

James Holmes Treated By CU Psychiatrist

The psychiatrist who was seeing Aurora movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes, was reprimanded by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners in 2005.

Dr. Lynne Fenton was reprimanded in February 2005 for prescribing medication to herself, her husband and an employee, according to documents obtained by 7NEWS.

The medications were prescribed in the late 1990s and included prescriptions for Vicodin, Xanax, Lorazepam and Ambien.

According to the document, Fenton did not maintain a medical chart or enter appropriate entries for the charts relating to herself, her husband or the employee.

PDF: Read the state order

As part of the reprimand, Fenton completed more than 50 hours of medical training and had to promise not to prescribe medications for family members and employees.

It's not known if Fenton prescribed any medications for Holmes while she was treating him.

The revelation that Holmes was seeing a psychiatrist came Friday in a legal motion filed by defense attorneys for Holmes regarding leaks to the news media about a package the suspect mailed to Fenton, an assistant professor at CU's Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

Fenton, who has done award-winning research on schizophrenia, is also medical director of the campus Student Mental Health Service, according to her professional biography on the CU website. Her psychiatry practice includes providing medication and psychotherapy to five to 10 general psychiatry patients, the bio said.

Her CU bio was removed Friday afternoon from the university website.

A campus web page about mental health resources for students, says Fenton and other medical staff, "provide confidential evaluation and treatment for the full range of psychiatric difficulties, including depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, suicide, eating disorders, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, and relationship difficulties."

Seeing a psychiatrist, even for a serious case of mental illness, would not trigger any of the safeguards for gun purchases, which are governed by federal law, said Daniel Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"There are no federal restrictions on the purchase of firearms for the mentally ill unless the person has been adjudicated by a court as being dangerously mentally ill," he told the New York Times.

Holmes was pursuing his doctorate in neuroscience at the CU medical campus until he withdrew without explanation just before the shooting, university officials said.

Fox News first reported that Holmes sent a notebook full of details about how he was going to kill people to a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the July 20 attack. Fox News also reported that the notebook contains violent images and notes.

University officials said two packages were seized on the campus Monday, causing brief evacuations of two buildings three days after the shooting. One of the packages contained the notebook Holmes sent to Fenton, according court papers filed by attorneys and prosecutors.

Sources familiar with the investigation told 7NEWS that Aurora police and the FBI believe the notebook sent to the faculty member contained "important information."

In the motion, Holmes' defense attorneys state they want the names of law enforcement officials who examined the contents of the package and may have leaked information to the news media in violation of a gag order issued by a judge barring police, prosecutors and the defense team from releasing details of the criminal investigation.

The defense motion says the leaks are a breach of Holmes' confidential and privileged communication with his doctor and violate his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.

The defense asked a judge to order prosecutors to "immediately produce" all information about the seizure of the package, including any law enforcement officials "involved in the seizure or handling of the material in question in any way."

But Arapahoe County Senior Deputy District Attorney Richard Orman's written response to the defense motion said inaccuracies in the Fox News reports about the notebook indicate that whoever provided the information didn't know the facts of the case.

Instead of law enforcement sources "leaking" details about the notebook, Orman wrote that the news media may be getting information from "hoaxers, fraudsters," or maybe news reporters fabricated the information by "creating fake 'law enforcement sources' out of whole cloth."

"To put it bluntly, the People are extremely dubious of the media assertions that 'law enforcement sources' exist," Orman wrote.

Arapahoe County District Judge William Blair Sylvester has set a hearing for Monday morning where he will consider defense attorneys' and prosecutors' arguments on the discovery motion.

Doctor-Patient Confidentiality Questions

7NEWS wanted to know when a doctor can break confidentiality with a patient.

Dr. Wojciech Zolcik has 15 years experience working with psychiatric patients and is medical director with Community Reach Center in Thornton.

"You really have to have a specific threat made against someone. You need to have somebody say, I'm going to go and kill, 'Blah blah blahÂ…'" said Zolcik.

"But that, 'Blah, blah, blah,' has to be a specific person's name?" asked Zelinger.

"Correct. Yeah, that's the only way we can actually report a threat to anybody," said Zolcik. "Definitely, when someone comes to you and has a specific plan as to what they would to, then yes, it would be something that you would report; I would report."

When it comes to the package delivered to Fenton, the contents could be considered confidential unless specific threats are identified.

"Any communication that goes between the doctor and the patient is confidential, as long as it does not affect the welfare of the patient himself or herself or anybody else," said Zolcik. "When there is a suspicion of a threat to someone else, confidentiality goes away."

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