Texas marriage counselor sentenced for sexual assault of client


by Marcus Moore / WFAA.com


Posted on February 20, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 6:57 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas –– On Wednesday, a Tarrant County jury sentenced Sheila Loven to 10 years probation for sexually assaulting a client she was counseling. Should she violate her probation, Loven could be sent to jail for up to four years. 

Loven said she began to having feelings for one of her clients who she had been counseling with his wife in 2009. 

"I had no business having a license at that time. I see that clearly now," Loven told the jury. When the relationship began in 2009, Loven was counseling the couple, who were having marriage troubles.

During the criminal trial, prosecutors introduced evidence suggesting Loven worked to try and persuade the couple to get a divorce. Loven denied the claims during the testimony Wednesday.

"I'm begging for probation," she told the jury Wednesday morning. "I never intentionally manipulated anybody."

The former counselor testified about problems she was having in her own marriage, the death of her sister and financial trouble.

During cross examination, prosecutor Betty Arvin highlighted apparent drug use between Loven and the victim. She also quizzed Loven about the code of ethics she was sworn to adhere to as a licensed counselor.

But Loven was most emotional Wednesday when she described telling the victim's wife that she was having an affair with her client's husband. The meeting took place at a restaurant.  

"She felt like he had found somebody, because he wasn't calling. 'He seemed to be OK.'" The judge ordered a recess when Loven broke-down during the testimony. After returning from a break, she continued telling how she revealed to an unsuspecting client that the man her husband was seeing was.

"It's me. Her face went white. I mean, she excused herself and that was it," Loven recalled.

Testimony was to continue through the day Wednesday. Jurors could sentence Loven up to 20 years in prison.