The above mugshot shows the man who was the primary psychiatrist for Sandy Hook shooter during the shooter’s teenage years. Dr. Paul Lewis Fox was arrested on Wednesday in Connecticut and charged with three counts of second-degree sexual assault, the News-Times reported day.
The charges stem from Fox’s involvement with an adult female patient between 2010 and 2011, and so his arrest doesn’t actually have anything to do with Sandy Hook, but the fact that he has returned to the United States is worth noting. His conduct with the female patient in question (as well as at least one other, also an adult) initiated a series of events that led to his leaving the country a few months before the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, as well as (he claims) destroying his records, which had included any documentation he had regarding his treatment of the Sandy Hook shooter. So, this case is essentially the reason that there is such a significant gap in the shooter’s psychiatric history.
This is also the doctor that is referred to in Connecticut’s Office of the Child Advocate report on Sandy Hook as “the community psychiatrist,” and that report paints very unflattering portrait of his professional conduct during his interactions with the shooter, which spanned from September 2005 to about July 2007. It was at that point when the shooter and his Planning and Placement Team decided he was ready for mainstream classes (he wasn’t) and needed no psychiatric treatment (he did.)
There’s actually a bit of almost-overlap between the shooter and Dr. Fox as late as Summer 2009; according to the 2012 complaint against him, Dr. Fox met his patient (victim) in just before Fall quarter of 2009, when Dr. Fox was working at Western Connecticut State University’s Counseling Center. Just two months before, the shooter was completing his final class at WCSU (it was ECO 100, a macroeconomics course) two buildings away in Warner Hall:
There’s no indication that Fox and the shooter crossed paths at WCSU, or at any point after 2007 for that matter, but it’s an interesting possibility, especially given the pattern of payments from the shooter’s mother to Dr. Fox: there was regular billing until July 2007, as noted above, but then one final payment came in October 2008, shortly after the shooter had started attending WCSU for high school credit. There’s never been any explanation of why that isolated, final payment occurred, after a gap of over a year. The shooter never saw another mental health professional.
Fox appears to have departed for New Zealand sometime in Spring or Summer of 2012. He surrendered his medical license shortly after, and his wife was granted an uncontested divorce in June 2012. The New Zealand Herald had reported about his employment as a psychiatrist for the Waikato District Health Board in January 2014, and that was the last I had heard of him until this update. A cursory web search suggests he’s been back in the US, or at least visiting, since at least May of 2015:
Like anyone else, Fox is entitled to his day in court, and perhaps he will have something to say to explain the behavior that ultimately led to his downfall. However, the 2012 complaint paints a very ugly picture in my opinion, and the young woman who reported him (and apparently is now pressing charges against him) suffered greatly as a result of his “care.” His unprofessional and dangerous behavior in this case makes one wonder about the quality of treatment he was actually providing for the Sandy Hook shooter five years before, and how events might have unfolded differently if a more capable doctor was chosen in his place.
(On a housekeeping note, I have several long-delayed posts that I’ve been working on over the past few weeks, more directly related to the Sandy Hook case, and hope to have them up before the end of the month.)
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