Doctor Is Charged With Sexually Abusing 2 Patients When They Were Minors

A urologist who worked at two prominent New York hospitals sexually abused “multiple” patients, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday, charging him with carrying out a yearslong series of assaults on two patients starting when they were minors.

The doctor, Darius A. Paduch, who was arrested on Tuesday, enticed the victims to travel to New York from other states so he could attack them even as he sought to convince them “the sexual abuse and assault he inflicted on them was medically necessary and appropriate,” according to an indictment.

Dr. Paduch, a specialist in male fertility, was charged with two counts each of inducement to travel to engage in unlawful sexual activity and inducement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. In announcing the charges, Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said the doctor had taken advantage of his victims “for his own deviant satisfaction.”

Dr. Paduch, 55, of North Bergen, N.J., pleaded not guilty at an initial appearance in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday and was ordered detained, though he can still argue for bail, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Neither the indictment nor a news release from Mr. Williams’s office identified the hospitals where Dr. Paduch is accused of abusing his victims, except that he worked at one from 2003 to 2019 and at the other from 2019 until this year.

Lawsuits filed by the victims described in the indictment, and by four other patients who accuse Dr. Paduch of abuse, identify one as NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan and the other as Northwell Health on Long Island. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell is a defendant in the suits; Northwell is named in one.

The most recent of the suits was filed last week. In it, the plaintiff, Tucker Coburn, accuses Dr. Paduch of abusing him from June 2016 to January 2019 at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

In January 2017, Mr. Coburn says in the suit, a nurse at the hospital asked him to speak with another patient whom the nurse believed the doctor had abused. The request, Mr. Coburn says, suggested to him that the nurse believed he had been abused as well.

In September 2020, Mr. Coburn says in the suit, he contacted the hospital to report that Dr. Paduch had abused him, and that he had contacted the police about the abuse. The hospital never responded, Mr. Coburn says.

A spokesman for NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell said on Tuesday that the hospital took the “disturbing allegations very seriously” and had hired an outside law firm “to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the behavior” of Dr. Paduch. He declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Barbara Osborn, a Northwell spokeswoman, said Dr. Paduch no longer worked there and that the hospital also took the allegations “very seriously.”

“We will cooperate with the appropriate authorities as they conduct their investigation,” Ms. Osborn added. She declined to comment on the suit or specify when he stopped working at Northwell.

As described in the indictment, the abuse followed a pattern and lasted from 2015 until at least 2019, after Dr. Paduch had switched hospitals, and into 2022. The indictment does not specify what the patients were seeking treatment for.

Alone with a patient in an examination room, the indictment says, he would direct the person to masturbate in front of him as pornography played, and often insisted on touching victims himself, sometimes using a sex toy. Standing close to the victims, he sometimes pressed himself against and groped them, the indictment says. None of it had a medical purpose, the indictment says.

Dr. Paduch ensured that the abuse continued by enticing victims to return for follow-up appointments, the indictment says. After appointments concluded, according to the indictment, Dr. Paduch would send text messages to victims, including minors, in which he made inappropriate sexual comments and jokes.

Mallory Allen, a lawyer for the six plaintiffs suing Dr. Paduch, said her firm had been retained by 14 other former patients who say he abused them and are also expected to sue. She described Dr. Paduch as a “master manipulator who groomed these people so he could abuse them” and someone who “took advantage of his position of supreme trust.”

A lawyer representing Dr. Paduch in the suits did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: Read Full Article