Leonardtown, MD — Karl Honkala, the owner of a Mechanicsville clinical alcohol and drug counseling service, had his license suspended in June by the state after he admitted to having sex with a client. Yet in the intervening months the St. Mary’s County State’s Attorney’s Office has declined to file criminal charges against him. And now the alleged victim in the case is facing jail time for violating her probation during a time in which she should have been undergoing counseling.
The client, Blanche Laungayan, 46, of Lexington Park, was under court orders for counseling while she was attending Adult Drug Court, which is now called Adult Recovery Court. Laungayan received a suspended four-year jail term in 2012 for Fourth Degree Burglary and Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances. Subsequent to that the woman has been charged with several thefts from Walmarts in St. Mary’s County and on the Eastern Shore. Because of those charges and because she has been kicked out of the Adult Recovery Court, she now faces active incarceration for the four years that was suspended.
Honkala’s license was suspended by the Maryland State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. The report was issued by that agency after an investigation and interviews with Honkala and Laungayan and others. Laungayan was identified as Client A in the report and her identity has come to light subsequently because of the Violation of Probation charges against her.
In an interview with her by the state agency she testified that in November of last year she was unable to regularly pay for her session fee and was told by Honkala: “You do me a favor. I’ll do you a favor.” When she asked what he meant, he allegedly responded, “I think you know what I mean” and looked down at his pants.
According to Laungayan, she performed oral sex on Honkala during approximately 10 to 12 sessions. She said that Honkala discussed personal issues with her instead of discussing her recovery, bought a boat from her father and asked that she move in with him. She expressed concern about the conduct to her parole agent.
In an interview with Honkala, the investigators were told by him that “he engaged in sexual intercourse with Laungayan on his desk in his office. Additionally, he admitted to having had ‘sexual acts’ with her five or six times in his office in the waiting area,” according to the order.
Honkala told the investigator that Laungayan initiated the sexual acts by exposing her bra and breasts to show him a tattoo on her left breast.” He called her “sexually aggressive” and explained his actions by saying he was “weak.”
TheBayNet.com called the Maryland State Police investigator and the two assistant state’s attorneys involved in the case, Daniel White, who is prosecuting the violation of probation, and Joseph Stanalonis, who is the prosecutor who deals with the Adult Recovery Court. None of them responded to the calls on Friday. Stanalonis’ office did call back Monday, after the story was posted, to indicate it is inappropriate to comment on an “active case.”
Laungayan’s attorney, Kevin McDevitt, did however, upon request, supply a written statement by email. It is as follows:
“Almost a year ago Karl Honkala began sexually exploiting Blanch Laungayan at his office in Mechanicsville where he was employed as her addictions counselor. He confessed to having sexual contact with her on his desk and his license was suspended by the State of Maryland.
“What are the appropriate charges for sexually exploiting a mentally ill client you are tasked with treating? You would think the Drug Court Prosecutor Joe Stanalonis would know the answer to this question since he also has extensive experience with sex offense cases. Apparently not!
“Blanche suffers from severe mental health and substance abuse issues. This is why the court and Blanche agreed that St. Mary’s County Adult Drug Court program would be appropriate.
“It is highly likely that Karl Honkala mislead the entire Drug Court Team about her treatment. We don’t know because the records are being withheld by the Drug Court Team. Blanche is now facing a violation of probation for stealing fishing supplies and other items from Wal-Mart. She could go to prison.
“Blanche needs substance abuse counseling, mental health treatment and sexual abuse counseling. She has a bed available at Walden’s Inpatient Treatment Program at Northstar.
“According to Walden, she is appropriate for treatment. As a community we should want her to have an opportunity for success.”
At a Violation of Probation Hearing on Oct. 21, St. Mary’s County Circuit Court Judge Michael Stamm agreed with McDevitt’s request to postpone sentencing until the outcome of one of the Eastern Shore cases against Laungayan is resolved. He rescheduled the sentencing for Dec. 8. In the meantime a hearing on motions filed by McDevitt is scheduled for November 17th before Judge Stamm.