Sign outside Karl Honkala’s former office in Mechanicsville. 

Baltimore, MD — A state board has permanently revoked the license to practice of a Mechanicsville drug and alcohol counselor. The State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists Sept. 19 issued the revocation order against Karl Honkala, who did business as Certified Professional Counselors.

Honkala’s license was suspended June 9, 2014 after the licensing board conducted an investigation into allegations by a client of Honkala’s (Blanche Laungayan) that he had sex with her in his office during counseling sessions on numerous occasions.

Honkala admitted the allegation during questioning by investigators from the state board, but continued to allege that Laungayan was the aggressor in the situation. The state board in its suspension order noted that their code of conduct prohibits sex with a client under any circumstances.

In issuing the revocation order, the board wrote: “Thus, in considering sanction for the Respondent’s license and certificates, the Board found his conduct to be so egregious as to warrant the revocation of his license to practice clinical alcohol and drug therapy in the state of Maryland. The board finds that the Respondant’s demonstrated disregard for professional conduct and patient safety, as well as Respondent’s demonstrated disregard for the statutes and regulations in place to ensure that safety, makes him unfit to practice as a licensed alcohol and drug therapist.”

The decision came several days after a judge threw out a suit by Honkala against Laungayan’s attorney, Kevin McDevitt, alleging defamation of character for statements made by the lawyer to The BayNet. The judge ruled there was no evidence that the attorney’s statements were inaccurate. (see The Bay Net story on the judge’s decision at: http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/0915/judgedismissessuitbyexcounseloragainstlawyer.html

Honkala appeared before the state board Feb. 20 and March 20 of this year to attempt to persuade them to allow him to hold onto his license. He appeared with his attorney James Farmer of Waldorf. The arguments made by Honkala and his attorney alleged violation of the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. It also was alleged that the board “recklessly” posted statements made during an interview on the board’s website.

The board noted Honkala and his attorney apparently were referring to the posting of the suspension order in June of last year. The board observed that Honkala never contested that suspension order.

The board thus rejected all of the arguments made on Honkala’s behalf during the two hearings.

Honkala has 30 days to appeal the revocation of his license.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com