Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
According to attorney Andrew Shubin, who successfully representation of numerous Sandusky and Penn State child sexual abuse victims was featured in the award-winning documentary, Happy Valley, it is a “heartbreaking and devastating truth that many pedophiles are drawn to careers in health care so that they have will have access to children and the presumptive trust of those who entrust their children to them.”
Shubin, drawing parallels to child abuse committed by religious figures, coaches, and schoolteachers, identified “unearned, presumptive trust as a common ingredient in the relationships that we now know present the greatest dangers to our children.” The other lethal ingredient, according to attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a doctor or medical professional Andrew Shubin, is the indifference of the institutions that are supposed to protect our children. If you were sexually abused by your doctor or other healthcare professional, contact The Law Offices of Andrew Shubin for a free consultation at (814) 826-3586.
Lawsuits for Victims of Sexual Abuse by Doctors and Healthcare Professionals
The difference between the stereotypical image of a lurking creep in a van and those actually abusing the vast majority of our children is the existence of a relationship of trust and power imbalance: a physician with impressive degrees and specialized knowledge, a “religious leader” with a church’s imprimatur of trust; a coach like Jerry Sandusky with access to a Penn State’s branding and a never-ending stream of Second Mile’s at-risk children; an improperly supervised educator and ineffective, or non existent, unenforced school policies.
As Jess Davidson, Executive Director of End Rape on Campus, stated: “when trusted figures are abusers, they know they can weaponize the trust in them to further get away with abuse…” (Source). According to a 2018 opinion piece written by Dr. Altaf Saadi, M.D., then a UCLA National Clinical Scholars Program fellow: “The medical field, like popular culture, reinforces the physician-as-hero trope. Having answered their “life’s calling,” physicians are trustworthy, objective, selfless — even godlike.” (Source).
Attorney Shubin pointed to other prominent cases where pedophile predator doctors, emboldened and enabled by the indifference of the institutions that employed them, have been accused of serially abusing children: USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar; New York City’s Rockefeller University Hospital’s Doctor Reginald Archibald; Johnstown, Pennsylvania pediatrician; Dr. Johnnie Barto, UCLA physician James Hepas; Conestoga Valley School District], Pennsylvania, Dr. William R. Vollmar. This list goes on and on. USA Child, a “child protection think tank”, published a list of US Doctors Accused of Child Sexual Abuse 2002-2019 here.
Defining and Proving Sexual Abuse by a Doctor
According to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Principles of Medical Ethics, physicians must commit to “providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights…” Physician on patient sexual abuse is one of the most common types of misconduct leading to disciplinary actions by sate medical boards.
Sexual misconduct includes much more than sexual intercourse with patients; it includes taking nude photos, masturbating in the presence of patients, genital contact, rape or sodomy, unwanted fondling and touching, and digital penetration. In my practice, we have uncovered evidence that physicians and other health care providers often create a medical cover story for engaging in abusive conduct. I have worked on cases where a physician claimed to my client and many other child patients, that the sexual abuse, which included touching and masturbation, was part of a medical procedure. In these cases, the physician created a one on one scenario where there were no other persons – not a parent or nurse – in the room during which the abuse was perpetrated. The physician exploits the secrecy of the encounter, the disparities in power, the trust a parent places in him or her, and the vulnerability of a patient. This betrayal causes incalculable, catastrophic and often permanent damage.
Common effects of abuse include depression, guilt, shame, self-blame, eating disorders, suicidality, somatic concerns, anxiety, dissociative patterns, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual problems, and relationship problems. The betrayal of a person in a position of trust and those that employ them causes child abuse survivors to be skeptical of institutions – including those that are designed to protect them: the police, courts, child services, counselors and therapists. When a physician is the abuser, child abuse survivors often are unable or unwilling to seek medical treatment even for serious medical issues – a condition that may persist throughout their lifetime.
Reporting Sexual Abuse by a Medical Professional
A person who believes that they may have information on physician sexual abuse has options for reporting the conduct and may even do so anonymously. Here are resources in your communities that are empowered to receive and respond to allegations of abuse:
- Your local police department;
- State medical boards: https://www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board;
- Local children’s services agency;
- Hospital or medical officer personnel;
- A teacher or guidance counselor;
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673) directs victims to law enforcement or to health facilities for exams.
How to Sue if You Were Sexually Abused by Your Doctor
The Shubin Law Firm is here to help you. Attorney Shubin strongly encourages the victims of physician or health care related child sexual abuse to contact him for a confidential conversation about the legal rights of abuse survivors and the need to demand accountability from the institutions that have betrayed so many of our children and their families. We help victims and their families obtain justice by filing civil and civil rights actions against abusers and the institutions that empower and enable them. We will keep the information you provide to us confidential and you can even seek advice without telling us your name. For many abuse victims, these consultations have been the first time they have reported the abuse to anyone. The Shubin Law Firm and Attorney Shubin can also provide referrals for counseling and other resources.
It often takes years before child sexual abuse survivors are ready to report their abuse and take action to hold their abusers accountable. Statute of Limitations provide strict deadlines for initiating legal action in both the criminal and civil courts. Many states are re-examining these limitations in view of the undeniable reality that the nature of child sexual abuse and the harm it causes make reporting what occurred very difficult. It is the rule, rather than the exception, that abuse survivors often need years of healing before they are ready to talk about what happened. Many victims become empowered after they learn that others have come forward to accuse the same perpetrator.
Civil Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Claims
Statute of Limitations differ from state to state. Many jurisdictions have amended their statute of limitations making it easier for victims to sue by giving them more time to file actions. Some jurisdictions have created a “window” whereby claims that have been barred by the statute of limitations can be revived. Other states, including Pennsylvania are working toward significant reforms of the statute of limitations. Please contact Attorney Shubin for specific information regarding what time periods you have to initiate civil action.
Call Our Lawyer for Sexual Abuse Victims by Doctors and Medical Professionals
If you or a loved one was sexually abused during a medical procedure or appointment by your doctor or another healthcare figure, Andrew Shubin can help. Look to The Law Offices of Andrew Shubin today to help you seek justice and compensation for physical and emotional injuries for your sexual abuse claim. Call (814) 826-3586 today for a free consultation.