A 59-year-old Arlington man who professed to be a minister offering help to sexually troubled women through hypnosis, was indicted yesterday on charges of practicing psychology without a license, indecent exposure and unlawful hypnotism.
"An Arlington grand jury returned the five-count misdemeanor indictment against Donald Bruce Finley, a minister of the First Church of Religious Science and operator of the Science of Mind Clinic at 5555 Columbia Pike near Baileys Crossroads.
Finely has operated the clinic and church in an office over a bank there for at least three years, police said.Officers said they have been investigating his operations for the past six months.
finely twice attempted to hyponotize a female undercover police officer who posed as a woman whose husband had left her, according to Detective Kenneth M. Adams, who supervised the investigation.
Adams said that when the detective called Finley's clinic, Finley asked if her "hangup was sex" and "if she was having trouble in the sack."
According to Adams. Finley promised the undercover officer that he would cure her sexual problems if she paid him $5 and came to a weekly therapy session for women at his clinic.
The officer attended the session and was taken to a couch in Finley's private office, Adams said, where the minister allegedly attempted to hypnotize her with the help of a small flashlight. He asked her to divulge intimate details of her sex life and repeat certain explicitly sexual phrases as part of a cure, Adams said. When Finley asked the officer to disrobe, she refused, Adams said, adding that at one point during the session, the minister exposed himself to her.
Church papers bearing Finley's name, now in the possession of the county police department, show that Finley also held Sunday morning services. cAccording to documents, lectures include topics ranging from "Beyond the Birds and the Bees" to "The Healing principle."
Officials at the Virginia Department of Commerce in Richmond told Arlington police that Finley is not a licensed counselor nor is the First Church of Religious Science recognized as a church by Virginia officials.
Under current Virginia law hypnosis can be performed only by a physician, dentist or clinical psychologist in the practice of his or her profession and with a patient's consent. Those restrictions will be lifted July 1 under a law passed this year by the General Assembly.
The undercover Arlington investigation followed a police complaint last fall from a 36-year old Arlington woman, who went to Finley's clinic for treatment of her marital problems. Police have accused Finley of having hypnotized her.
Adams said that the woman became concerned about the treatment and complained to police.
Finley is sheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Arlington General District Court. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on each charge.