Former grief counselor accused of sexually assaulting patient
BRIDGEPORT — A former grief counselor is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he was supposed to be counseling, police said.
Santiago Aguirre, 52, of Albright Avenue, Stratford, was charged Wednesday with second-degree sexual assault.
Police said Aquirre, who worked as a licensed counselor at LifeBridge in Bridgeport, is accused of sexually assaulting the woman in 2014 and 2015.
According to police, the victim told them this past March that in April 2013 she had sought help from LifeBridge to cope with the loss of her twin sister who had died in a fall and that Aguirre was assigned to her.
When detectives confronted Aguirre in March with the woman’s accusations, police said Aguirre admitted having a “sexual relationship” with her which he knew was wrong but he said he didn’t want to end their counseling sessions because he was worried it would harm her.
In Connecticut it is a felony for a therapist to have sexual relations with a patient.
“This is a very different type of case than we normally see,” said Superior Court Judge Tracy Lee Dayton during Aguirre’s arraignment hearing Thursday afternoon.
As Aguirre watched the proceeding from his cell over video conferencing, the judge set his bond at $25,000 and ordered him to have no further contact with the victim.
“I very strongly advise you to obey the protective order,” she added, continuing the case to Oct. 15.
Aquirre no longer works for LifeBridge and the company said he was let go three years ago.
“LifeBridge became aware of the allegations on or about July 24, 2017. Mr. Aguiire has not been employed at LifeBridge since July 25, 2017,” according to a statement from LifeBridge. “The current executive leadership has no first-hand knowledge of the allegation and for that reason cannot comment any further.”
Police said in 2017 the woman filed suit against Aguirre and LifeBridge in state Superior Court but the lawsuit was later dropped. She told police she believed her attorney at the time was going to notify police.