Local News

Therapist Ordered to Disclose Records in Michelle Young Case

Posted February 22, 2007 12:02 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2007 7:07 p.m. EST

— In a rare legal move, a therapist has been ordered to disclose records from therapy sessions she had with a slain Wake County mother leading up to her death.

According to the order, issued last Friday by Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens, Kimball Jane Sargent has information relevant to the homicide investigation of Michelle Young.

The Wake County District Attorney's Office said Sargent and her attorney have complied with the order and are fully cooperating with investigators.

Young, 29, was beaten to death inside her home near Raleigh. Her sister found her body inside her home on Nov. 3.

Stephens issued the order Feb. 16 after Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Holt petitioned him to require Sargent to appear before the court.

Under North Carolina law, the state can ask a therapist to turn over records and answer questions about therapy sessions if "the disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice."

"We have someone who died a violent death, and it appears she sought counseling shortly before that time," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. "The closeness in time to her death heightened our interest and we thought it would perhaps provide insights."

Stephens questioned Sargent in his chambers and decided that what she knows is important to the case.

"We felt like we could leave no stone unturned, and this is something that might provide us some insights into who the perpetrator was," Willoughby said.

Investigators have spent part of their investigation focusing on Young's husband, Jason Young, but have not called him a suspect in the case.

Sargent said she cannot talk about the case, but said she counsels people in a variety of matters, including family matters.

Part of her practice also involves contracts with companies where she provides counseling for employees through workplace programs. Michelle Young was a senior financial specialist at Progress Energy in Raleigh.

Sources close to the case suspect Michelle Young might have talked to Sargent about problems in her marriage.

Psychologist Michael Teague, who is not involved in the Young case, says confidentiality is paramount for therapists. He says, however, there are rare exceptions.

"I would imagine that the client would have wanted this to come out given the subsequent set of events," Teague said. "I think in this case, it is appropriate when you see a situation like this."