PORTLAND (AP) — A Portland social worker charged with carrying on an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient has pleaded not guilty to gross sexual assault and violating conditions of his bail.

The Portland Press Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2cjfwGG ) 51-year-old Kelly O’Rourke entered the pleas Wednesday in Portland Superior Court.

O’Rourke is on trial because Maine law stipulates that counselors who engage in sex acts with clients are open to facing criminal charges as well as licensing sanctions. The sex acts aren’t considered consensual due to the counselor’s power over clients.

Police say O’Rourke and the 40-year-old victim began a sexual relationship in the summer of 2015. He had been her mental health counselor for a period of about three years at the time.

O’Rourke is being held pending an Oct. 12 dispositional hearing.

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