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State board suspends prominent psychiatrist Keith Ablow’s license

Psychiatrist Keith Ablow testified during a 2009 kidnapping trial.
Psychiatrist Keith Ablow testified during a 2009 kidnapping trial. (Associated Press/Pool/File)

The state Board of Registration in Medicine has suspended the license of a prominent North Shore psychiatrist following allegations that he engaged in sexual activity with patients, finding that he cannot safely practice medicine.

Dr. Keith R. Ablow poses “an immediate and serious threat to public health,” the board announced in a statement Thursday.

The panel alleges that Ablow “engaged in sexual activity and boundary violations with multiple patients, diverted controlled substances from patients, engage in disruptive behavior, including displaying and pointing a firearm on multiple occasions in a manner that scared an employee,” according to the statement.

Ablow, who has a practice in Newburyport, allegedly “procured his license renewal fraudulently,” according to the board, which is responsible for licensing, regulating, and disciplining 40,000 physicians, osteopaths, and acupuncturists. The board took the disciplinary action on Wednesday.

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Paul Cirel, an attorney representing Ablow, said in an e-mail Thursday that the board “chose to ignore reams of evidence demonstrating Dr. Ablow’s innocence.”

“Dr. Ablow maintains that he is not guilty of any of misconduct and will vigorously defend this action at the appropriate hearing,” Cirel said. “Dr. Ablow has been, and will continue to be, a civic leader in the fight against domestic violence and getting care to returning veterans.”

Officials said Ablow has the right to a hearing at the Division of Administrative Law Appeals within seven days.

Ablow, an author who was a contributor to the Fox News network until 2017 and was once dubbed “the young Dr. Phil,” was first licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts in 1989 and had a solo practice in Newburyport up until his license suspension, according to the state. He is also licensed to practice medicine in New York.

Ablow’s website touts him as “one of America’s leading psychiatrists” who has “helped thousands of patients across the United States, in Europe and Asia.”

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Earlier this year, the Globe reported that Ablow was facing lawsuits from three female patients who said he lured them into degrading sexual relationships, including beatings, conversations about bondage, and, in one case, getting a tattoo of the doctor’s initials to show his “ownership” of her, according to court documents.

The women alleged that Ablow abused his position while treating them for acute depression, leaving them unable to trust authority figures and plagued with feelings of shame and self-recrimination.

In a February tweet, Ablow said he “categorically, completely” denies the allegations in the lawsuits. “I look forward to the court proceedings and will continue to offer excellent care to any patient who needs my help,” the tweet read.

The malpractice lawsuits painted a picture of a therapist who encouraged women to trust and rely on him, then coaxed them into humiliating sexual activities, often during treatment sessions for which they were charged.

Additionally, three women who worked for Ablow filed affidavits in the lawsuits, saying Ablow sexually harassed them.


Material from previous Globe coverage was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny_McDonald.