In July, a New Mexico psychiatrist was arrested on six counts of criminal sexual penetration as well as five counts of criminal sexual conduct. The sexual abuse occurred during “visits to his office during office hours that were part of supposed treatment,” according to a Farmington police detective. The doctor was denied bond and is awaiting trial.
This month, according to the Courthouse News Service, that same psychiatrist has been sued by twelve women who claim he coerced them into discussing their sex lives and performing sexual acts on him. He allegedly told them it was a part of therapy.
When a doctor or medical professional is charged with criminal activity allegedly perpetrated against patients, it’s fairly common for a separate medical malpractice lawsuit to be filed. The women also named the San Juan Regional Medical Center, the man’s former employer, and San Juan Health Partners as defendants in the suit.
The 34-page complaint details serious instances of sexual abuse by the doctor, which are not only criminal acts but also violations of medical ethics and licensing. All 12 of the women claim the doctor had them detail their sexual histories, sexual behavior, and fantasies, but in many cases, he allegedly went further.
One plaintiff claims that the psychiatrist promised to help her regain custody of her children in exchange for oral sex. She complied, only to be trapped. The doctor then threatened to withhold her medications, which would negatively affect the custody proceeding if she did not continue to provide sexual services.
Indeed, when she refused to meet him at a hotel, he “wrote a note indicating T.T.B. had ‘reverted to DID,’ or dissociative identity disorder, negatively impacting her custody proceedings.”
Another plaintiff revealed to the psychiatrist childhood sexual abuse in which an older man forced her to provide oral sex. The doctor allegedly responded that the perpetrator was a “lucky man” and suggested the plaintiff perform oral sex on him, as well.
When the doctor asked another plaintiff if she was sexually active and she said she was not, he responded, “we need to take care of that.”
The women claim 13 counts of sexual misconduct and abuse. They are suing the doctor, the medical center, and the insurer for medical malpractice, negligence, recklessness, negligent hiring and retention, negligent credentialing and re-credentialing, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other allegations. They seek compensatory damages and punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendants.
The San Juan Regional Medical Center states that the doctor is no longer on staff and says that it has cooperated with the investigation.