Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
Marriage counselor Sheila Loven was charged with sexual assault, prosecutors say she had sex with one of the clients she was supposed to be counseling.
A marriage counselor charged with sexual assault is on trial in Texas, accused of using her position of authority to have sex with a patient.
Sheila Loven counseled a couple in 2009 and allegedly used her counseling influence to encourage the wife to file for divorce, then had an affair with her husband, according to prosecutors.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorneys Betty Arvin and Sean Colston are prosecuting the case.
The wife took the stand on Thursday and testified about her relationship with Loven, which she described as "visiting her best friend once a week to talk."
The wife said Loven spoke unfavorably about her husband for months and encouraged the two to divorce.
"It wasn't marriage counseling, it was divorce counseling," the wife said in court.
In September 2009, after the wife filed for divorce, she met Loven at a restaurant in the Dallas area. Throughout lunch, she disclosed to Loven suspicions she had about her husband seeing someone. She testified that after a possible girlfriend was mentioned, Loven admitted her involvement.
"It's me, it's me," the wife said Loven told her. "She had developed an interest in my husband and wanted to seek a relationship with him," she said in court.
The wife added that she was numb after the conversation with Loven and eventually got up and left the restaurant.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Loven and the husband had an affair for two months in 2009 before he and his wife reconciled, after realizing that Loven had been deceiving them during their separate counseling sessions.
"I thought she was my friend. I thought she cared," the wife testified.
After the couple’s reconciliation, they started receiving sexually graphic, threatening and insulting text messages in Jan. 2010, allegedly from Loven.
The defense argued in court that the messages could not be authenticated. Judge Ruben Gonzalez overruled the objections.
Prosecutor Betty Arvin quoted in court a text message to the husband that read: "When are you going to figure out that you are nothing without me? I made you a man."
A text sent to the wife read: "I want you to suffer.”
The couple is now divorced.
Loven could face two to 20 years in prison if convicted. If convicted, as a first-time offender, she could get probation.
The trial is expected to resume on Thursday.