Fort Riley Therapist Rachelle Santiago Charged with Stalking, Sexually Harassing Soldier

(AP Photo, file)
Fort Riley Therapist Rachelle Santiago Charged with Stalking, Sexually Harassing Soldier
(AP Photo, file)

(CBS/AP) Rachelle Santiago, a therapist who was treating a Fort Riley soldier for post-traumatic stress, is accused of stalking the patient in a case that culminated in a high-speed chase after she breached the gates of the Northeast Kansas military installation.

She was charged Monday in a federal criminal complaint with stalking and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Santiago, a 43-year-old of Manhattan, Kan., is a clinical social worker who was working as a contract employee at the Irwin Army Community Hospital in Fort Riley.

The sergeant told investigators that his counseling sessions began in December, with the first sessions going well. But during a Jan. 22 encounter, Santiago allegedly groped him and told him she wanted to have sex with him. The sergeant said he did not reciprocate the fondling and left.

The following day he received 15 text messages and missed calls on his phone, including a photo of pink lingerie. He texted his therapist to stop sending him messages and to stop calling him. But that only generated more messages, according to the affidavit.

On Jan 23, the sergeant and his wife found footprints in the snow leading to his door after someone rang the doorbell and left. A car matching the description of the therapist's car was spotted adjacent to their home.

An investigator's affidavit said the sergeant said he was becoming more alarmed with the situation, feeling as though he was losing his sense of security in his home and for his family.

He asked his therapist to meet him at a Burger King to ask her to stop calling, texting and harassing him. She gave him a white envelope with the words, "My Master" written on the front. He returned it without opening it. Santiago removed her wedding ring and told the sergeant was now "her man," the affidavit said.

On Jan. 24, the sergeant confided in a fellow soldier and was advised to report the matter. On the way home, the sergeant and his wife saw the therapist sitting in the car outside their home. The sergeant told investigators he was scared for his family because the therapist had threatened to go to the Child Development Center attended by his children or to his wife's workplace and hurt them if he did not come see her.

The text messages became increasingly threatening: "I don't want to hurt you, you are hurting me," ''I will eat your lunch . the only way you can protect your boys," ''You come talk to me or I will jack your world 6 ways to Sunday and don't doubt my ability to do this," ''You want a crazy bitch, I will be your crazy bitch."

On Jan. 25, Santiago was issued a notice barring her from entering the Ft. Riley military installation. But later that same day she tried to get in and was issued a citation for criminal trespass, according to the affidavit.

The following day, she sped through another entrance at a high rate of speed. Military police began a 50-minute-long pursuit which reached 110 miles per hour. Police backed off and pursued from a safe distance until Santiago eventually stopped.

She was transported to the Geary Community Hospital and placed under police guard. She allegedly tore things off the wall in the examination room and had to be restrained. Emergency room staff reported she was "completely out of control, manic, profane, and delusional and was screaming, yelling and flailing around on the cart," the affidavit said.

Four hours later, she was transported to Osawatomie State Mental Hospital for treatment. A physician there stated Santiago had a "psychotic break" due to heavy doses of a steroidal medicine she was taking for a breathing and bronchial disorder.

Meanwhile that same day, the sergeant found the envelope with the word "Master" printed on the front beneath the seat of his car. The envelope was seized as evidence and opened, according to the affidavit. It contained a card with Santiago's hand-written declaration of her love for him.

Santiago also left the sergeant a pair of perfumed panties.