A 59-year-old man who professed to be a Northern Virginia minister offering help to sexually troubled women pleaded guilty yesterday in Arlington Circuit Court to a charge of practicing clinical psychology without a license.
Donald Eugene Finley, a self-described minister of the First Church of Religious Science and former operator of the Science of Mind Clinic, was fined $1,000 by Arlington Circuit Court Judge William L. Winston. The judge suspended payment of $702 of the fine on the condition that Finley remain on good behavior for a year.
In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop four additional misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and unlawful hypnotism they had filed against Finley, who left Northern Virginia for another part of the state shortly after his indictment by a grand jury last April.
At the time of his arrest police said that Finley had operated the church and clinic located at 5555 Columbia Pike near Baileys Crossroads for three years. The First Church of Religious Science is not recognized by Virginia officials as a church, according to Arlington police, nor is Finley a licensed psychology counselor.
Arlington detective Kenneth M. Adams, who supervised the six-month investigation, said Finley had promised to cure an undercover Arlington policewoman of her sexual problems after she telephoned his clinic.
Adams said that the policewoman went to the clinic twice and was asked to divulge intimate details of her sex life and repeat sexual phrases as part of the cure.
"The Reverend felt that his particular philosophy might not be totally accepted by a jury," Finley's court-appointed attorney Devin Fitzmorris explained after yesterday's brief hearing. "The socio-cultural climate (in Virginia) isn't as liberal as in, say, New York or California."