The twin brother of an embattled Santa Ana councilman arrested earlier this month on multiple sexual battery charges is facing his own messy ethics scandal.
A lawsuit filed this week in Orange County Superior Court accuses Alfonso Bustamante of repeatedly abusing his position as a licensed psychologist by secretly engaging in a "side relationship" with the female half of a married couple seeking counseling.
Damien Edwards claims in his seven-page lawsuit that Bustamante--who is the married brother of Carlos Bustamante, the disgraced Republican politician--is guilty of professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of confidentiality and intentional infliction of emotion distress.
"[Bustamante] actively undermined the martial relationship between the plaintiff and his wife and did so at least in part because he had an ongoing, yet undisclosed, dual relationship with plaintiff's wife," the lawsuit states. "The undisclosed dual relationship negatively impacted treatment and, in effect, guaranteed that the plaintiff's relationship with his wife would suffer as a result."
Edwards' lawyer, John L. Fleer of Walnut Creek, also accused Bustamante of violating the American Psychological Association code of ethics as well as California's business and professional codes.
According to the lawsuit, Edwards began to suspect something was wrong during the summer of 2011 when Bustamante allegedly "exhibited increasingly hostility toward" him and "acted increasingly as an advocate" for his wife."
He also accuses the veteran psychologist of raising his voice and yelling obscenities at him during therapy sessions.
"[Bustamante's] actions were particularly harmful because they violated Edwards' trust that the therapist was going to put forth his best efforts to help the married couple," the lawsuit alleges.
Edwards claims he and his wife legally separated in October 2011 and afterwards learned of the "dual relationship" Bustamante had with his wife.
Two month later, Bustamante gave Edwards' wife a one-sided "treatment summary" that she used with an Orange County Family Law judge in a child custody dispute.
The judge apparently was unaware of Bustamante's alleged "dual relationship" in the matter.
Bustamante, who has often been seen driving a white convertible Bentley around the city and was previously accused of being a slumlord, has not yet filed a formal response in court and someone in his office at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) said he wasn't available for comment this afternoon.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, has been assigned to Superior Court Judge Franz Miller.
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In the councilman's criminal case, multiple women have accused him of using his power as a high ranking local government executive to commit sex crimes against them.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who is prosecuting the councilman, has described the crimes as disgustingly perverted; the councilman insists he is innocent.
For years, the Bustamante brothers--both articulate and relatively well off--have commanded influence in Santa Ana political, governmental and business circles.