Sexual abuse or assault by medical or mental health professionals is more common than most people realize. In recent years, multiple incidents have been covered extensively in national news. Medical professionals, including a pediatrician in Delaware and an emergency room doctor in New York, have been accused of sexually abusing patients. The cases in Delaware and New York were covered widely across national news outlets. On a more local level, there have been dozens of reports of doctors, specialists, mental health therapists, etc. sexually abusing patients. Even chiropractors and massage therapists have been accused. Many have resulted in criminal cases, some of which are still pending. Civil lawsuits have also been filed.
One recent case involves the USA Gymnastics organization and decades-old allegations of abuse by coaches as well as team doctors. At a recent U.S. Senate hearing in March, former Olympic gymnasts testified about being sexually abused, and that sexual abuse was part of the culture. Dozens of gymnasts have come forward with similar stories of being subjected to sexual assault masked as medical exams. One team doctor was fired in 2015 and now faces allegations of sexual abuse from roughly 80 women.
Who Would Believe Me?
Victims of sexual abuse or assault by a medical professional or mental health professional may not report the incident because they fear they won’t be believed. This is one of the most common reasons why a victim of sex abuse never comes forward. Whether it’s sex abuse by priest, teacher or medical professional, victims fear being called a liar.
When and if a victim finally comes forward, they are often stunned to hear that the perpetrator abused others. Here’s the reality. Sexual abuse or assault by a professional person is rarely an isolated incident. By the time a doctor or other medical professional is finally caught, they will have left a string of victims. Sometimes, there will be dozens, or even hundreds, of victims. Sexual predators almost always escalate abusive conduct. When their acts of abuse go unreported or ignored, they are emboldened to continue. The behavior is often confounded by the fact that medical licensing boards tend to go easy on offending doctors. Licensing boards may respond to reports of “inappropriate conduct” by placing a doctor on probation or requiring chaperones during medical exams. Criminal cases and civil lawsuits are the only ways to truly stop a predator.
Speak Up – Stop Abuse by Doctors and Therapists by Filing Criminal Reports
Victims of sex abuse or assault by a medical doctor or therapist should consider filing a criminal report with local law enforcement. Once a report is filed, an investigation will begin. Law enforcement will usually seek out prior victims to build a criminal case. Eventually, the doctor or therapist will be questioned. Whether the case gets prosecuted or not, doing so sends a direct message to the perpetrator–that the conduct will not be tolerated.
Crime Victims Lawyers – Representing Victims of Sex Abuse by a Doctor or Therapist
Our firm handles sexual abuse cases against professionals such as doctors or therapists. Firm founder Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now helps victims through both the criminal and civil legal justice systems. Contact Mr. Kent for a free consultation. 215.399.9255 (800.220.7600)