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New Jersey doctors can practice despite sex crime convictions

Could your doctor also be a sexually-oriented offender?

In New Jersey, that's not as absurd a question as many people might think. While teachers and police officers who are convicted of sex crimes can never work in those careers again within the state, a doctor who is convicted of sexual contact with a patient can most certainly get his or her license to practice restored.

Take, for example, one New Jersey physician whose list of sexual offenses against his patients goes back at least to 1995. He earned a two-year medical license probation but he was still allowed to practice during that time -- although he was ordered to keep a chaperone in the office with him while he was with patients.

The doctor eventually ignored the order and was again accused of sexually violating a patient in 2003. That time, the medical board gifted him with only a 6-month probationary period.

It wasn't until he raped a patient in 2011 that the state's medical board took his license. However, there's nothing barring him from regaining the right to practice medicine in the future.

While the state's medical board instituted reforms in 2015 that are designed to stop sexual deviants from "playing doctor" after they've been convicted of molesting a patient, the reforms aren't retroactive. That means that there are numerous physicians who have already sexually victimized prior patients who are still practicing today. Unless they are caught victimizing another patient -- or violating their orders to have chaperones when they are with patients -- they'll continue to practice.

The sexual abuse of a patient by a doctor is always considered an act that harms the patient. Patients are in a position of particular vulnerability when they are with their doctors -- they may have trusted the doctor with secrets that they don't tell anyone else, such as problems with depression or drug addiction. Some may fear that if they don't go along with the sexual activity that the doctor will tell what he or she knows about them or withhold desperately-needed prescriptions. At it's essence, the sexual abuse of a patient may be the most willful act of medical malpractice possible.

If you've been the victim of a sexual assault or sexual advance by your physician, don't stay silent -- seek legal help from an attorney today.

Source: New Jersey 101.5, "Is your doctor a perv? In NJ, even ones who commit sex crimes can get licenses back," Townsquare Staff, July 10, 2017

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Gary D. Ginsberg is a Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has been recognized as an expert in litigating cases in the courts of New Jersey.

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