If There are Red Flags, Trust Your Gut Instincts Regarding Doctor Sex Abuse

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2023 | Doctors/Healthcare Providers, Firm News

Doctor Sex Abuse Horowitz Law

It should be a rule of thumb to always go with your gut instincts when there are red flags regarding sexual abusers. You should always act on ‘red flags.’ and even just possible ‘red flags.’ Here’s a sentence that sent chills up our spines: “He was from a different country, they thought, an eccentric, and the fact he was a urologist made his talk about sex and masturbation seem acceptable.” We see well-meaning adults quoted in news accounts making similar statements a lot. While we know these are good people, we still cringe and their comments.

A different person, no doubt an otherwise responsible adult, said that the same urologist “was hosting small group yoga sessions out of his home, with the only caveat being that they were performed naked.” The person reporting this apparently “thought that was bizarre, but he tried to be open-minded.” You might well have figured out by now that this ‘eccentric’ and ‘bizarre’ doctor who liked naked yoga now faces ‘a litany of sex charges‘ including ‘second-degree sexual misconduct, multiple counts of third-degree sexual misconduct, and multiple counts of fourth-degree sexual misconduct in connection with multiple accusers.’ In story after story, whether social media or mainstream media, we at Horowitz Law read about adults who noticed odd or troubling behavior or thought something was amiss with a teacher, a coach, a rabbi, a counselor, a clergyman, or a Scout leader, yet kept quiet. Later, when it’s too late, and when an innocent boy or girl has been violated, these adults think, “Gosh, I wish I’d have said something.”

Invariably, in explaining their reluctance to express their suspicions or doubts, these well-meaning adults say things like:

      • “I was worried about seeming paranoid.”
      • “I just didn’t want to offend him or anyone.” 
      • “I didn’t have any concrete evidence of anything.” 
      • “I thought maybe I was just overreacting.” 
      • “Things didn’t feel right but I never saw him actually abuse anyone.” 

Our stern advice in these situations: SPEAK UP! Use your common sense! If it seems ‘off,’ it may well be ‘off,’ or far worse than just ‘off.’ Why are we as a society so hesitant to give voice to our disturbing thoughts and fears that a grown-up might be hurting a child? Why are we so willing to put the temporary feelings of an adult over the potential long-term well-being of kids? The particularly upsetting case that we refer to here at the outset involves a Michigan doctor, Zvi Levran, who reportedly has been molesting boys for decades, often under the guise of providing physical exams that middle and high school kids must have in order to play hockey and other sports.

Doctor Sex Abuse in Michigan

Does the phrase “Michigan doctor” conjure up any similar stories? How about Dr. Larry Nassar, who now sits in a Michigan prison? He’s a former physician and convicted child rapist. For 18 years, he was the team doctor of the US women’s national gymnastics team and exploited, deceived, and sexually assaulted hundreds of children and young women.

Or how about Dr. Robert Anderson, who was the University of Michigan athletics department’s doctor and “allegedly sexually assaulted hundreds of students, including a two-time Super Bowl champion and former world-class wrestler.” Nassar’s crimes came to light in 2016. Anderson’s crimes came to light in 2020. Both got considerable media coverage. Levran was arrested in October of 2022. So there were two horrendous, recent high-profile cases BEFORE Levran’s arrest involving predatory Michigan doctors who operated very much like Dr. Levran. Doesn’t it stand to reason that at least some local hockey players, hockey coaches, hockey parents, and other sports doctors had doubts about his actions around kids? 

Shouldn’t some alarm bells have been going off in some adults’ heads about Dr. Levran? The old adage “where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire” comes to mind here. And while we’re on the subject of “where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire,” we are not surprised that Dr. Levran has been the subject of allegations to the Michigan agency regulating medical professionals.

A Detroit TV station reports:

“While Zvi Levran does not have a prior criminal record, he does have past complaints that were filed against him with Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).” Back in 2002, a female patient alleged Levran “failed to provide adequate follow-up emergency situations” and “did not adequately prepare [the] complainant for the … possible complications” after surgery. In 2006, a mother complained to the state that Levran wrongly diagnosed her son and recommended surgery after another doctor said he didn’t.

One might object “This is apples and oranges. Allegations of sexual abuse and allegations of incompetence don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.” That’s certainly true. It’s also true, however, that people who break the law often break several laws, So a priest, for example, who steals money from the collection plate may be using it to support a gambling addiction. Or he may be using it to buy laptops and tablets and video games to attract youngsters to his rectory bedroom, or using it to pay off someone he victimized who’s now threatening to report him. Our point is that none of us should be cowardly or split hairs when it comes to ‘red flags.’ If you see a teacher or a manager or a talent scout or a music instructor who has access to children acting in ways that seem questionable, speak up, no matter how vague your suspicions might seem, even if his or her actions don’t clearly constitute child sexual abuse.

Finding the right medical provider can be challenging. A person looks for seasoned professionals with good bedside manners, compassion, and empathy. When we finally decide on one, we hope to feel better over time, not be violated by the very person we trust. Doctors hold a position of power in the physician-patient relationship. It is both unacceptable and unlawful for a healthcare professional to touch a patient in any sexual manner or practice any sexual misconduct while treating the patient.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims against medical professionals on behalf of patients who were inappropriately touched in their care. Under no circumstances is a doctor or nurse permitted to have sexual contact with a patient. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery at a medical office or facility, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.