A woman accused of treating hundreds of patients, mostly children, while pretending to be a psychologist in Stafford County was arrested Thursday.
Sharonda L. Avery, 42, of Spotslvania was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond. She was indicted by a Stafford grand jury earlier this month on 13 charges, including seven counts of false pretenses, perjury and multiple counts of practicing psychology without a license.
According to Stafford Sheriff’s spokeswoman Amanda Vicinanzo, the Sheriff’s Office received numerous complaints in October of last year from people in Stafford and other jurisdictions claiming the Avery had misdiagnosed children and adults. Some of the victims questioned whether Avery was a licensed psychologist.
Detective Ed McCullough discovered that Avery was not licensed in Virginia. He also learned Avery’s claim to have two doctorate degrees and a master’s degree were false.
In fact, Vicinanzo said, Avery doesn’t have a degree from any college or university. Some children received medication from real doctors based on diagnoses from Avery.
Avery worked at Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning at 2128 Jefferson Davis Highway starting in 2012, police said. She was part-time initially but eventually received full-time status, police said.
She was fired before the business at some point; the practice closed in January of this year.
Among the victims Avery is accused of receiving money under false pretenses from is Joni Johnson, a real doctor at the now-closed facility.
The perjury charge against Avery stems from allegations that she testified under oath in Stafford Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in 2017 while claiming to be a doctor.
Anyone with information about the Avery investigation is asked to call the Stafford Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400.