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SLCC official faces licensing charge

His social services license was revoked nearly a decade ago

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The division chairman for Salt Lake Community College's department of Social and Behavior Sciences, whose social services license was revoked by the state nearly a decade ago, is now facing a charge of practicing without a license.

The charge is not in relation to his position at the school.

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing revoked the license of Enrique Velasquez, 50, in 1997 for sexual misconduct and "gross negligence or incompetence in the practice of social work," according to documents from DOPL and the Utah Attorney General's Office.

Velasquez "engaged in sexual activities with a client both during therapy sessions and shortly after the termination of therapy sessions," according to those documents, even though his client told him she was a "victim of childhood sexual abuse and more recent domestic abuse."

Despite not having a license, in August 2004 Velasquez applied for a therapist position with Holy Cross Ministries, 2570 W. 1700 South. He represented himself as a "social worker for 23 years," according to documents filed in 3rd District Court.

From September 2004 to June 1, 2005, Velasquez allegedly counseled 17 families, individuals and couples over approximately 61 sessions at Holy Cross, court documents stated.

He was charged July 27, 2005, with unlawful conduct, a third-degree felony.

Meanwhile, Velasquez is also an instructor of social services at Salt Lake Community College and was appointed division chair a couple of years ago.

College spokesman Joy Tlou said the fact that Velasquez is not a licensed clinical social worker did not affect his status at the school. Having a license is not a condition or qualification to be an instructor or division head at the college, he said.

As for the current criminal charge, Tlou said the college officials are aware of it.

"We respect the rights of all parties in any legal process and we will take a position in Mr. Velasquez's case based upon the ruling of the court in accordance with college policy," he said.

Tlou noted that Velasquez has cooperated with the college and informed them of what was happening "every step of the way."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com