Fake psychologist who treated sex abuse victims in Sarasota gets 5 years in prison

Sarasota County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A man who treated multiple sex abuse victims while pretending to be a psychologist in Sarasota was sentenced to five years in prison followed by 10 years probation, police said Thursday.

Phillip Stutzman, 45, faced his day of reckoning after pleading no contest to multiple felony counts of running an unlicensed healthcare practice.

Police said Stutzman provided services under the alias Dr. Phillip Nikao for more than two years at an office on Main Street in downtown Sarasota.

Most of his clients were sex abuse victims or patients with weight and anxiety issues. Police said at least 13 had come forward.

According to police, Stutzman claimed to have multiple advanced degrees, including a master’s degree in neuroscience and a doctorate in psychology, which he obtained online. Detectives reached out to the Florida Department of Health and the university and discovered he had no valid licenses and the degrees were fraudulent.

Police said Stutzman was ordered to pay at least $65,000 in restitution to the victims, and barred from practicing as a life coach.

“This is a case that Sarasota Police Detective Ross Revill has been persistently working on since it was assigned to him in 2019,” said Criminal Investigations Division Captain Johnathan Todd. “We’re thankful for the victims who had the courage to come forward and let us know what happened. Victim Advocate Jude Castro worked tirelessly and diligently to stay in contact with every victim. This man preyed on innocent people who were looking for help when they were most vulnerable. This outcome brings a resolution to the victims in this case and makes our community safe.”

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