Sexual Abuse in the Medical Field

Those in the medical field such as doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists spend a lot of time hands-on with their patients, but taking an examination too far can quickly evolve to charges of sexual abuse.

Chiropractor accused of groping female patients

Photo by: Alisha Vargas

Photo by: Alisha Vargas

A Utah chiropractor was charged on Monday with sexual abuse of his female clients. 56 year old Dale Heath has had a Utah license to practice chiropractic care since May of 1995. Starting just a few years ago in 2011, Allegations began to surface against Heath for inappropriately touching female clients around their groin area.

Probation fail

Following an investigation into the sexual abuse allegations, Heath was put on probation in September of 2014. The probation came with an agreement that his female clients must always be accompanied by a chaperone and that Heath must discuss the medical details prior to any contact near a female’s groin area. These stipulations were in place for less than 6 months when another alleged victim of sexual abuse came forward.

Should the chaperone be at fault?

With more allegations surfacing, investigators interviewed Heath and those who were supposed to be a second person in the room when he was attending female patients. They discovered that the chaperones had been fraudulently signing the logs without actually being present with Heath and the patient. Those responsible for being a chaperone let not only the patient down, but also the chiropractor for whom they were to be observing. Since Heath was unaccompanied with his patients, it is unknown what his motives were. Those chaperones failed to be present, and now the only evidence the authorities have is the word of the patient.

Sexual abuse or legitimate technique

A high majority of the population feels uncomfortable going to any type of professional in the medical field. When the medical professional’s job is very hands-on such as: a chiropractor, physical therapist, masseuse, or gynecologist; this can make the patient even more uneasy. Often, examinations and treatments can feel invasive, when they are not intended to be. One of these “invasive” techniques is known as Internal Pelvic Floor Work. This invasive therapy is performed by physical therapists and chiropractors just like Heath. As the name states, the work (or adjustment) is done in the pelvic region. It can be helpful with patients that suffer with urinary problems, women’s health issues, and even prostate problems for men. While it is not documented that consent for an invasive technique was given to Heath, the probability for gray areas are existent regarding sexual abuse in the medical field.

Prevention for sexual abuse in the medical field

There’s a fine line between what is okay and what is not for medical professionals. To protect the patient from sexual abuse and the medical practitioner from false allegations, there are steps to help prevent uncertainty or uncomfortable situations.

• Just like the scout rule of “two deep”, a medical practitioner should always be accompanied by a nurse or assistant if a patient comes to the appointment without their own chaperone.

• Communication between doctor and patient. The doctor should always inform his patients of the medical examination or procedure before any physical contact. It is also important for patients to let the medical professional know if they feel uncomfortable, instead of waiting to report it as sexual abuse later.

• Routine psycho-sexual evaluations should be performed on all medical professionals to help prevent sexual abuse before it begins.

• Other doctors practicing in the same clinic or office should be legally obligated to report any suspicious behavior of one of their colleagues since they would know what a routine examination is and what crosses the line.

Although sexual abuse in the medical field is fairly uncommon, with the majority of cases against those in the mental health area, those practicing any medicine should safeguard their practice against allegations of sexual abuse of other misconduct. For those facing charges, counsel with a criminal defense attorney is recommended.

Recreational Drones Spotted Over Utah Prison

Recreational drones have been spotted flying above penitentiaries around the United States, with the most recent spotting occurring over the Draper Utah prison.

Drug smuggling drones

Photo by: Doctor Popular

Photo by: Doctor Popular

A  guard caught sight of recreational drones flying over one of the outdoor yard areas for inmates at the Draper Utah prison . The yard was shut down and all inmates ordered inside while prison personnel made sure that nothing dangerous or illegal was dropped. The concern for recreational drones doing more than viewing may stem from incidents around the United States where similar drones were used to smuggle drugs or tobacco into prisons.

Illegal and improper use

In addition to using drones to intentionally break the law, many hobbyists are not following the guidelines set in place for the unmanned aircraft systems. Like any vehicle or aircraft, recreational drones have rules such as:

• Keeping the drone visible to the operator

• Staying away from people

• staying under the 55 lb. weight limit

• Not flying for a profit and

• Flying safely, not recklessly

Restricted Areas

There are also restricted areas where recreational drone use is prohibited such as:

• National Parks

• Airports

• Military sites

• Above 400 feet

• Prisons

Besides recreational drones being flown over restricted areas, they have also been spotted by firefighters battling wildfires and by residents who are concerned over privacy matters. Recreational drone owners need to remember common sense and common courtesy when operating a unmanned aircraft system.

FAA penalties for recreational drones

According to the Federal Aviation Association, “Hobby or recreational flying doesn’t require FAA approval but you must follow safety guidelines.” They also state that “Unauthorized drone operators may be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and up to 20 years in jail.” For legal counsel regarding illegal use of recreational drones, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Child Pornography in Utah

Photo courtesy of Washington County Bookings Report

Photo courtesy of Washington County Bookings Report

A marine living in St. George, Utah was arrested Monday for possession of child pornography.  24 year old Richard Anthony Vidal turned himself in on Monday after returning from overseas to his home in St. George, Utah. A search of his home and electronics conducted earlier this year revealed numerous pictures and videos of sexually explicit acts being done to young children.  According to the Washington County Bookings report, he was charged with 5 counts of exploitation of a minor, each one a 2nd degree felony sexual offense.

Child pornography use on the rise

With the computer boom in the last 2 decades, there has also been a surge in child pornography viewing.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “the main sex exploitation offense referred to U.S. attorneys shifted from sex abuse (73%) in 1994 to child pornography (69%) in 2006.”  This jump in statistics over a 12 year period is explainable by the not hard to find or create illegal photos and videos being easily accessed and shared from personal computers, laptops, and smart phones.

Addictive as a drug, an online website dedicated to educate and cease the widespread use of pornography states “On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but studies are showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals that drugs do.” Just like any drug, pornography of any kind including child pornography can be highly addicting. What makes people choose to view child pornography originally isn’t always known. What is crystal clear is that once they view child pornography, it is very difficult for them to not view it again.

No one is immune

Photo by: andronicusmax

Photo by: andronicusmax

Those guilty in viewing and sharing child pornography don’t always fit the mold that society has created. Sure there may be jobless, friendless, sorry looking middle age guys living in their parent’s basement that dabble with child pornography, but child pornography addictions affect people from every walk of life.

  • As previously stated, there was the young United States Marine Richard Anthony Vidal. Vidal’s military lifestyle was probably not lacking on discipline and his free time was undoubtedly limited. Vidal will most likely be court marshaled and be given an unhonorable discharge from the Marine Corps.
  •  Grant D. Smith, a Utah college engineering professor was arrested a few years ago after a fellow passenger on a plane saw Smith viewing explicit images of young girls while in route to Boston from Salt Lake City. Not only did Smith lose his job at the University of Utah, he was put on 5 years of probation where he was not to be in contact with any children under 16 including his own, and he had to register as a sex offender.
  • 34 year old pediatrician Taylor Steven Jerman of Clearfield Utah was found to be in possession of child pornography on his home computers. If convicted of the 8 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor during his next hearing in August, he will likely lose his employment and possibly his medical license.
  •  Steven Powell, 65, grandfather to Charlie and Braden Powell who were killed in a murder suicide by their father Josh Powell, and father in law of Susan Powell who has been missing since 2009, was arrested on Monday for child pornography charges…again. Not only has he already lost 4 members of his family, he may serve half a decade of what’s left of his elderly life in prison.
  •  32 year old mother Monique Ruiz of Utah was arrested in January for taking nude pictures of her a 9 year old special needs daughter and sending them to man in Taylorsville, who she met online. The mother is facing several felony charges along with her parental rights.
  •  Average Joe, 20 year old Miguel Gonzalez-Rivera of Saratoga Springs was arrested earlier this month after he unknowingly shared child pornography with an undercover agent online. Gonzalez-Rivera stated that he was accidentally exposed to pornography, yet continued viewing it afterwards willingly. His charges are not set at this time.
Photo by: David Goehring

Photo by: David Goehring

Pornography kills

The ad “porn kills” is very accurate. It kills the lives of those affected. Besides the damage that it does to people psychologically, child pornography viewing destroys the guilty individual’s family, employment, criminal record, and reputation. For those who have been caught up in viewing or sharing child pornography and are facing charges for sexual exploitation of a minor, contact a criminal defense attorney.