Psychologist Allegedly Watched Porn With Imprisoned Sex Offender, Let Him Masturbate In Front Of Her

An attorney for convicted sexual predator Jeffrey Goodwin, 55, claims he was so obsessed with psychologist Shannon Sanders that he was willing "to kill himself or someone else if he dishonored her or someone else dishonored her."

By M.L. Nestel

A psychologist tasked with treating Iowa’s most dangerous sex offenders has been accused of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with an obsessive patient -- including watching porn together and letting him masturbate in front of her.

Shannon Sanders, 38, served as the director of the treatment program at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders in Cherokee, Iowa, a facility housing 120 violent sex offenders. She resigned after being presented with a termination letter issued by the state's Department of Human Services (DHS) on Sept. 16.

According to the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, Sanders committed “boundary violations” by lying to protect the inmate, granting him special favors and failing to disclose to peers and superiors that he had developed feelings for her.

The letter doesn't name the inmate, but his lawyer identified him to the AP as Jeffrey Goodwin, 55, who had been incarcerated for a 1988 sexual assault in Keokuk.

“She had Jeff so wound up that he was willing to kill himself or someone else if he dishonored her or someone else dishonored her,” Goodwin’s attorney Jason Dunn told The AP. “He was really going crazy.”

Jeffrey Goodwin Pd

Dunn made disturbing allegations of Sanders' relationship with Goodwin, including watching pornography together, having sexual discussions, letting him grab her buttocks, and letting him masturbate in front of her at least one time.

The inmate, who had earned a reputation while incarcerated for fantasizing about committing sexual violence and making threats toward female guards as well as staff and other patients, allegedly exchanged notes with Sanders that were written in code, according to Dunn. 

The allegations against Sanders were the product of a three-month investigation.

Dunn said he reached out to the FBI to investigate Sanders’s actions and added that she may have broken Iowa laws barring therapists from sexually exploiting their patients, the AP reports. Her husband also oversaw security surveillance at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute.

When reached by the AP, Sanders expressed a wish to keep a low profile. 

“I don’t want anyone to know my whereabouts for obvious reasons," she said. 

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