Doctors keep licenses despite sex abuse
Washington, D.C.
   
 
More Today's News:
ߦ   Harris County Animal Shelter in need of help amid major occupancy crisis
ߦ   Sheriff Arrest Four of Five for Brazen Aggravated Robbery
ߦ   Another Significant Sentence Imposed for Sexually Exploiting a Child
ߦ   Business Executive Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charge in Connection with Venezuelan Bribery Scheme
ߦ   COPLine Volunteer Listeners Training
ߦ   DEA Museum to host lecture series on opioids and heroin
ߦ   Deputy Constable Named Officer Of The Month
ߦ   Former Kentucky Police Officer Sentenced for Wrongful Arrest
ߦ   FOUND SAFE - Endangered Missing Person
ߦ   Galveston areas reporting 2 feet of flood waters
ߦ   Houston Police Dept - Incident Reports
ߦ   Oklahoma Woman Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of Ricin
ߦ   San Antonio commuters urged to plan for flash flooding
ߦ   Search For Car Burglar And Felony Fraud Suspect
ߦ   Suspect Sought For Clean Scanning
ߦ   Tarrant County Man Guilty in East Texas Armed Bank Robberies
ߦ   Texan, Former State Representative, President of College and Consultant Sentenced for Bribery Scheme
ߦ   Uvalde police officer fired after arrest on charge of sexual assault of a child
ߦ   Female Dallas cop who killed man in his home charged with manslaughter
ߦ   Former Texans player accused of stealing from player trust fund
ߦ   Fugitive Lawyer Involved in Largest Social Security Fraud Scheme Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for His Escape and Related Crimes
ߦ   Houston-area bar owners work with police to stop DWI patrons
ߦ   In Memoriam: Greg Bozdech - League City VFD
ߦ   Mexican National Brothers Guilty of Trafficking Firearms in Southeast Texas
ߦ   National police group calls for Nike boycott due to Kaepernick ad campaign
ߦ   Nine Arrests In Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Scheme
ߦ   Officer fatally shoots woman accused of murdering neighbor at apartments in Missouri City
ߦ   Pflugerville: Join us for Camryn's Relentless Battle fundraiser Sept. 15
ߦ   Reward Offered In Stafford Murder Case
ߦ   Robstown-Based Heroin Leader Heads to Federal Prison
ߦ   State trooper dies after years of battling rare blood cancer
ߦ   Sugar Land Area Drug Bust
ߦ   Aransas County sheriff: Illegal immigrant 'destroyed' 2 police dogs during chase
ߦ   Coast Guard interdicts lancha crew illegally fishing US waters
ߦ   Coast Guard rescues 5 from capsized vessel near Crystal Beach

 
Search Archives:



AP investigation: Doctors keep licenses despite sex abuse
In this image provided by the Conway (Ark.) Police Department, Robert Rook is seen in this June 3, 2016, photo. An Associated Press investigation finds that even as Hollywood moguls, elite journalists and politicians have been pushed out of their jobs or resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the world of medicine is more forgiving. Rook was allowed to keep his family practice open, so long as he’s chaperoned, despite facing multiple criminal charges for rape. Prosecutors subsequently downgraded the charges to more than 20 counts of sexual assault in the second- and third-degree, charges for which Rook says he is innocent. (Conway Police Department via AP)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as Hollywood moguls, elite journalists and top politicians have been pushed out of their jobs or resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the world of medicine is more forgiving, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Even when doctors are disciplined, their punishment often consists of a short suspension paired with therapy that treats sexually abusive behavior as a symptom of an illness or addiction.

The first time that Dr. Anthony Bianchi came onto a patient, California's medical board alleged, the gynecologist placed a chair against the exam room door, put his fingers into the woman's vagina and exposed his erect penis.

The second time, the board claimed, he told a patient that he couldn't stop staring at her breasts and recounted a dream in which he performed oral sex on her in the office.

The third time, the board charged, he told a pregnant patient suffering from vaginal bleeding that she shouldn't shave her pubic hair before her next visit, as he was getting too excited.

These episodes led to disciplinary actions by the state's medical board in 2012 and in 2016. Bianchi agreed not contest the charges, and held onto his medical license. Under a settlement with California's medical board, he agreed to seek therapy and refrain from treating women during five years of probation.

Bianchi did not respond to telephone messages from The Associated Press left for him at the workers' compensation clinic in Fresno, California, where he now evaluates occupational health claims.

Decades of complaints that the physician disciplinary system is too lenient on sex-abusing doctors have produced little change in the practices of state medical boards. And the #MeToo campaign and the rapid push in recent months to increase accountability for sexual misconduct in American workplaces do not appear to have sparked a movement toward changing how medical boards deal with physicians who act out sexually against patients or staffers.

"There's been a failure of the medical community to take a stand against the issue," said Azza Abbudagga, a health services researcher with nonprofit advocacy organization Public Citizen.

She published a report recently detailing sexual misconduct among physicians. Its findings showed of the 253 doctors reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank for having been sanctioned by their respective hospitals or health care organizations for sexual misconduct, or paid a settlement that stemmed from such an allegation, 170 of them were not disciplined by state medical boards, even though all boards have access to the reports filed with the data bank.

Current guidelines from the Federation of State Physician Health Programs, which represents doctor rehab programs in 47 states, are largely silent on handling sexual misconduct treatment and describe sexual harassment as a "cause of impairment" in a doctor. Programs to treat doctor impairment are inherently supposed to be "non-disciplinary," per the federation's guidelines.

State-authorized programs that attempt to oversee the rehabilitation of doctors who have committed sexual misconduct aren't always forthcoming about their methods. In Florida, the Professional's Resource Network asked the AP to provide detailed questions and a list of sources before it would answer questions.

After the AP provided the head of the program, Alexis Polles, with basic questions about the program's approach to clearing doctors for return to work after instances of sexual abuse, she declined to answer any of them.

The lenience of penalties for sexually abusive doctors sometimes a source of frustration even for members of the medical board who administer the discipline, according to Jason Rosenberg, a former chairman of the Florida medical board.

"This is incredibly inappropriate," Rosenberg said during one 2013 meeting when Florida's medical board allowed James Yelton-Rossello, a psychiatrist alleged to have molested jailed psychiatric patients, to keep his license. The settlement with the Florida board of medicine did not require Yelton-Rossello to admit guilt.

"You can't do this and serve french fries," Rosenberg said at that meeting, citing some fast food restaurants' policies against hiring sex offenders. "I'm ashamed of what's going on here."

Yelton-Rossello's lawyer did not respond to telephone messages or an email request for comment.

In practice, even some lawyers who represent doctors find the physician health programs to be problematic. David Spicer, who has represented doctors facing medical board discipline in Florida, says the state's doctor rehabilitation program isn't well designed to evaluate or treat sexual misbehavior. The program's key component, he said, is a "one-size-fits-all" requirement that doctors engage in therapy sessions and not get into trouble for a specified period, generally five years.

Experts in the treatment of sexual misbehavior question whether the treatments mandated for doctors who molest patients are even appropriate for such misconduct.

"It's insufficient," said Rory Reid, a UCLA psychology professor who studies addiction and hypersexual behavior. "We have clinical trials for everything underneath the sun," Reid said. "But there's not one clinical trial that I'm aware of on the efficacy of treatment for doctors who have engaged in sexual misconduct."

Post a comment
Name/Nickname:
(required)
Email Address: (must be a valid address)
(will not be published or shared)
Comments: (plain text only)
Printer Friendly Format  Printer Friendly Format    Send to a Friend  Send to a Friend    RSS Feed  RSS Feed
  Facebook   Share link on Twitter Tweet  
© 1999-2018 The Police News. All rights reserved.