*For immediate release, December 7, 2016
Two chiropractors in New Jersey are facing charges of sexually assaulting multiple patients during treatment. While these recent cases have not been proven yet, there has been an alarming increase in the number of reports of sex assault by medical professionals and mental health professionals.
NJ Licensing Board to Order Chaperone for Warren County Chiropractor Accused of Sexually Assaulting Patients
According to a news release by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, a chiropractor has been accused of sexually assaulting two female patients during chiropractic treatments at his office in Blairstown, about 20 miles east of the Poconos, just over the NJ border. The Attorney General’s Office had hoped that the chiropractor’s license would be suspended temporarily. However, the New Jersey Board of Chiropractic Examiners ruled that the chiropractor must pay for a chaperone to be present during all treatment sessions for female patients until the case is heard by an administrative law judge. See November 29, 2016 NJ Attorney General’s Office press release, New Jersey Board of Chiropractic Examiners Bars Warren County Chiropractor from Treating Female Patients Without Oversight of a State-Approved Female Monitor, Amid Allegations He Committed Sexual Misconduct with Two of His Patients.
Englewood (Bergen County) Chiropractor Has License Suspended Pending Allegations of Sexually Assaulting Three Patients
Over the summer, a chiropractor in Englewood was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a patient during treatment. Investigation revealed two other patients who described similar conduct. The chiropractor was arrested and now faces multiple criminal charges. According to a recent Consent Order by the New Jersey Board of Chiropractor Examiners, the chiropractor’s license is suspended pending the outcome of the investigation and criminal case. See In the Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of the License of Archer L. Irby, D.C. License No. 38MC00651000 to Practice Chiropractic in the State of New Jersey, August 29, 2016.
These recent reports are nothing new. Across the United States, health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, chiropractors, psychologists and therapists, have been accused of sexually assaulting patients, sometimes over a period of many years.
In many instances, the allegations were substantiated through either a criminal conviction, a civil lawsuit or both. For instance, roughly 5 years ago, a pediatrician in Delaware was charged with dozens of counts of molesting young children and babies. He was ultimately convicted and will spend the rest of his life in prison. His victims filed lawsuits against a hospital which had previously employed the pediatrician, but failed to report his behavior after it conducted an investigation involving similar conduct in 1996. Those lawsuits resulted in a record $120 million dollar settlement. This case highlights the justice system working as it should, the perpetrator facing criminal justice and victims getting justice through the civil courts.
This case also highlights the culture of silence in the medical profession. Whether it’s regarding a doctor or a chiropractor, the medical and mental health industry tends to protect its own. Reports of sexual abuse or assault are often ignored or swept under the rug. The results of investigations, if they even occur, are suppressed. Medical and mental health licensing boards are often never notified. This allows the perpetrator to continue their conduct, which often escalates over a period of time. In essence, the abuser learns that they can “get away” with sex assault. So, what begins as touching can escalate into rape over the course of months or years.
Civil Legal Rights in Cases of Sex Assault by a Medical Professional
Many victims of sex abuse or assault by a medical professional often take no legal action, fearing that no one will believe them. After all, it is often their word against the word of a doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc. However, what most victims of sex abuse or assault don’t know is that the burden of proof is much lower in civil cases than in criminal ones. While a case of “she said he said” might not sustain a criminal conviction, but it may result in a successful civil lawsuit. Get more info about the differences between a criminal and civil lawsuit for sex abuse or assault.
Rights to Financial Compensation for Assault by a Doctor or Chiropractor
Under the laws of New Jersey and other states, a patient who is sexually assaulted by a doctor, chiropractor, etc., has the legal right to ask for compensation for the mental harm and anguish caused by the conduct. In civil lawsuits for sex abuse, the plaintiff (victim) often seeks compensation for mental health treatment and pain and suffering.
Patients who are violated by a medical provider often go on to have difficulty getting medical or mental health treatment in the future. The violation of trust is immense. Individuals often experience prolonged anxiety and depression. In the worst cases, such as cases involving children, the symptoms can last many years and lead to drug or alcohol dependence, suicidal thoughts and an inability to form meaningful relationships with others.
For legal info on sex abuse and assault in the medical profession, visit our law library. To speak to one of our crime victims’ rights lawyers, please contact us. With offices throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, our firm is uniquely positioned to help victims of abuse.
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