A series of articles in a major New Jersey newspaper, The Bergen Record, has highlighted what they perceive as flaws and inconsistencies in regulators’ approach to allegations of sexual misconduct by doctors.
The articles describe a number of specific cases where doctors were permitted to practice, or allowed to return to practice, after allegations of sexual abuse of patients.
One of the articles features an interview with NJ Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steven C. Lee. Mr. Lee indicated that regulators will be looking into such allegations more closely, and that tougher penalties can be expected when such allegations are proven.
Previous agreements to allow practitioners to keep working but with certain contact restrictions may now be disfavored.
Allegations of sexual abuse by doctors are not new. However, the scrutiny of the disciplinary process by a major newspaper will undoubtedly bring this issue into sharper focus by the Attorney General and the Medical Board.
It is likely that we will see increased investigations and prosecutions in this area.