Justice prevails: PA pediatrician sentenced for abusing patients

A local pediatrician was accused of sexual abusing his patients.

Pennsylvania prosecutors recently charged a former pediatrician and local school board member with the sexual assault of over thirty children. Victims included family members and patients, ranging in age from two weeks to 16 years of age. The state charged the man with a number of crimes, including aggravated indecent assault, child endangerment and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

When the charges were announced, Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated his office would "pursue every allegation of child sexual abuse wherever we find it - in a doctor's office, in a school or church - and we will hold child sexual predators accountable for their crimes under Pennsylvania law." Although his office did keep to this promise in this case, it is important to note the pediatrician was accused of the same crime decades earlier. Victims came forward in the 2000 and shared stories of abuse. The Pennsylvania Board of Medicine brought administrative charges against the healthcare professional but ultimately dismissed the charges. Regulators behind the decision stated the allegations were not inline with the doctor's reputation.

Who is liable when a healthcare provider abuses a patient?

Liability can extend beyond the abuser. Although the abuser is generally the primary focus, there are cases when medical institutions did not properly screen staff members. If established, this could result in additional liability.

It is important to consider all avenues of liability. Holding everyone that was responsible for the abuse accountable will help to deter others from making the same mistake in the future.

What legal remedies are available for victims of sexual abuse by a physician or other medical professional?

In this case, the court sentenced the pediatrician to a minimum of 79 years imprisonment. The sentence could extend to 158 years. When handing down the sentence, the judge told the victims the "justice system is not perfect, but it worked the second time."

Although the use of the justice system is an important step in the healing process, it is not the only step. A civil suit is also an option. If successful, a civil lawsuit can result in a jury verdict that leads to a monetary award for the victims. This compensation will serve two purposes. It provides another, tangible way to punish the abuser while also providing funds for victims to help cover the costs of counseling and meet other financial needs.

Do not hesitate to seek justice if you or your child was a victim of sexual abuse by a healthcare provider. Contact an attorney to review your case and discuss your options.