Former Palm Coast Doctor Florence Fruehan Arrested on Charges He Abused Elderly Patients

| Jan 17, 2019 | Uncategorized

Florence Fruehan was arrested on January 16, 2019 in Flagler County on two felony battery charges involving alleged sexual misconduct perpetrated on elderly patients of his former medical practice. Both alleged victims are older than 65. Under Florida law, battery of a person 65 or older is a felony.  These were not the only reports of sexual misconduct that the Sheriff’s Office receive concerning Florence Fruehan.  Numerous other female patients lodged similar complaints.  According to the arrest affidavit, Freuhan “shows a pattern of violating the rights of female patients that appear to be vulnerable because of specific medications they are prescribed and/or family losses, and their age. He also displays behavior the victims collectively describe as intimidating.”

This is just the latest in a long line of criminal allegations involving Florence Fruehan, age 59, who has surrendered his medical license in August 2018.  He was previously charged with two misdemeanor sexual battery charges in September 2018.  Those charges were dropped by the State Attorney’s office due to concerns related to the statute of limitations.  He was charged with sexual battery in May 2006 after a 26-year-old Palm Coast woman accused him of touching her inappropriately during an exam while her husband was in the room.  Flagler County courthouse records also indicate that  Dr.. Fruehan was the subject of two arrests for misdemeanor battery–on June 23, 1995, and  on Jan. 16, 1996.   The charges were all dropped.

The alleged victims in the criminal charges were 72 and 77 years old at the time of their office visits to Dr. Florence Fruehan. The 72-year-old woman was a long-time patient of Fruehan, as had been her late husband before his death in 2015, and the couple had long considered Fruehan a friend, according to the charging affidavit. They had previously socialized together outside the office. The woman had gone to his office on Pine Cone Drive on March 10, 2016 for a routine physical so she could get a prescription medication.   After the exam, Fruehan allegedly grabbed the woman’s hand and led her to another office, where Fruehan appeared to lock the door after they entered. “Dr. Fruehan unzipped [the woman’s] black vest, unbuttoned the top two buttons of her blouse and began touching her breast on the outside of her bra with his hands,” the arrest report states. “He then grabbed her other breast lifting it up and touching it.” Fruehan then left the room. The woman described herself as being in complete shock. She dressed, left the room and left the clinic as quickly as possible. She found a new doctor and never returned.

The woman’s description of the alleged groping follows much the same pattern that other women have reported, including the woman who originated the complaint to the Department of Health, and the 77-year-old woman who is the alleged victim in the other felony charge against Fruehan.  In that instance, the woman, who suffers from hypertension and required regular check-ups– Fruehan was her primary care physician– had gone to Fruehan’s Urgent Care clinic on March 29, 2017.  Her physical exam began routinely, as it had many times previously. But at one point, Fruehan allegedly placed his stethoscope directly on the woman’s left nipple and pressed down, according to the arrest report. The woman felt uncomfortable as Fruehan had never done that before in all the years he’d been treating her.

When Fruehan told her she could sit back, he made conversation with her unrelated to her health (he advised her to get out more often), then allegedly asked her about her opinion of oral sex, using cruder terms. She told him abruptly: “I have no opinion.” The woman decided to find another doctor and told Fruehan’s staff that she would be leaving the practice.  When Fruehan found out, he called her four times. She saved the messages.

Dr. Florence Fruehan has long history of criminal charges arising from alleged sexual misconduct.  He was previously charged with two misdemeanor sexual battery charges in September 2018.  Those charges were dropped by the State Attorney’s office.  He was charged with sexual battery in May 2006 after a 26-year-old Palm Coast woman accused him of touching her inappropriately during an exam while her husband was in the room.  Flagler County courthouse records also indicate that  Dr.. Fruehan was the subject of two arrests for misdemeanor battery–on June 23, 1995, and  on Jan. 16, 1996.   The charges were all dropped.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who was a patient of Dr. Fruehan and feels that they had an inappropriate experience to call them at (386) 313-4911.