Former Priest Cited for Practicing Psychology

By Nathan Woodside
Lincoln Courier
October 22, 2012

A former priest and convicted sex offender in Lincoln has been cited for practicing clinical psychology without a license.

According to recently released records, 74-year-old Francis A. Benham was ordered by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to stop the unlicensed practice of clinical psychology after state officials discovered he had business cards printed in which he used the title "Dr." and claimed to provide "psychotherapy services."?Even though he lacked a doctorate degree in psychology or a state license as a licensed clinical psychologist, he provided psychotherapy services to a client and advertised in a local telephone directory as a psychotherapist, according to state documents.

Online business listings show his practice located at 314 10th St. in Lincoln – the same address listed for Benham in the state sex offender registry.

Benham was released from a Maryland jail in early 2006 after being convicted of sex crimes against children while serving as a priest there in the 1970s. His original sentence included two 10-year terms, but a judge suspended most of that time.

After his release, Benham moved back to Lincoln, where he had lived after leaving the priesthood from 1987 until 2004.

During that time, Benham worked as a counselor for convicted sex offenders at Tazwood Mental Health Center in Pekin.?He was arrested again last February by Lincoln police on a charge of failure to register as a sex offender.

Benham was freed at that time after posting 10 percent of a $5,000 bond. He’s scheduled for a jury trial on that charge next month and faces between two and five years in prison if convicted.

Area nurse also cited

Also cited was Misty Zimmerman, a registered nurse from Emden whose license was reprimanded after she pleaded guilty in August 2011 to misdemeanor retail theft in Sangamon County Circuit Court.?She also was cited by state regulators for failing to follow Hopedale Medical Complex’s procedure for maintaining patient records. No patients were harmed because of her conduct, according to state records.?Zimmerman has resigned from her job at Hopedale, according to the state. Gatehouse News Service reporter Dean Olsen contributed to this story.








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