The AP has reported startling and frightening claims by Dr. Ivins’ therapist Jean Duley in several stories, including one just published by Dishneau and Jordan:
She claimed, “As far back as the year 2000, the respondent has actually attempted to murder several other people, either through poisoning. He is a revenge killer. When he feels that he’s been slighted or has had — especially toward women — he plots and actually tries to carry out revenge killings,” Duley said. She added that Ivins “has been forensically diagnosed by several top psychiatrists as a sociopathic, homicidal killer. I have that in evidence. And through my working with him, I also believe that to be very true.”
As a physician who is called to assess psychiatric patients presenting to the ER, I find her statements troubling: if any of these psychiatrists diagnosed Ivins as homicidal, that physician would be required to start immediate proceedings for psychiatric hospital commitment. Patients who are a danger to themselves or others must not be allowed to carry out such activities. That is the law.
Furthermore, if Duley believed Ivins had attempted serial murders, she would be required to consult with her supervising physician and immediately call in the police. Was this done? Who was poisoned? If, as reported, she had only been treating Ivins for six months, what evidence did she have of more remote attacks?
Finally, patients who are actually planning murders (or have attempted them) do not usually tell other patients and a therapist about it in group therapy sessions. Someone who talks about such thoughts is trying to explain how they feel and get help.
One media report said Duley was no longer employed at the mental health center where she treated Ivins. Was she let go for nonprofessional behavior? We need to know more about this woman, the basis for her claims, and whether she carried out her professional duties with regard to them.