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Child-custody expert cleared after posting lewd photos

September 2, 2011 |  2:15 pm

The state medical board has found insufficient evidence to bring disciplinary action against Dr. Joseph Kenan, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist and child-custody evaluator who posted lewd photos of himself on Facebook and appeared to condone illicit drug use.

Kenan, a past president of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry, had helped decide hundreds of child-custody disputes when the postings surfaced under the names of "Joe Kegan" and "Joe Keegan" and were used to challenge his fitness as an evaluator, court records state.

The postings included photos of Kenan baring his buttocks to a camera in public and looking down the pants of a young man, as well as a picture of a woman holding a large straw while kneeling over a mirror with lines of white powder, the records state.

Kenan said in court records that the photos were not meant for public viewing.

His attorney, Joel Douglas, called them "prank, joke photos" that did not reflect fairly on Kenan's work.

"Everybody is entitled to their private life, and the medical board, to its credit, was able to get away from the hue and cry and look at it objectively," he said Friday.

At least four parents who had hired Kenan as an evaluator cited the postings in complaints to the medical board, which opened an investigation earlier this year and closed it this week.

"A complete investigation was performed, including a subject interview. We then retained an expert witness to review the case, which resulted in a conclusive finding that there was no evidence of professional misconduct," a board investigator wrote in a letter to Deborah Singer, one of the complainants.

Singer, who had succeeded in getting Kenan dismissed from her child-custody case, said she was "shocked and sickened" by the board's conclusions and would seek to reopen the case.

Kenan suspended his practice earlier this year after The Times published a story about the allegations, and he is now weighing his career options, Douglas said.

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-- Kim Christensen

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