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.

Mexican Drug Cartel Trafficking Narcotics through Utah

Recent drug raids in northern Utah verified to authorities that a Mexican drug cartel has been trafficking narcotics through the state of Utah.

$2 million in narcotics

Photo by: The National Crime Agency

Photo by: The National Crime Agency

The raids that were conducted during the early part of September 2015 in West Valley and Midvale resulted in almost $2 million dollars worth of narcotics seized. 50 pounds total was located in both a suitcase and concealed locations in five different vehicles. This was a big hit to the Mexican drug cartel, not only financially but also to their personnel.

Mexican drug cartel bigwigs

Those arrested included some bigwigs in the Mexican drug cartel who were probably in the state looking over their operations. These individuals are known as being considerably dangerous. The fact that a firearm and two live grenades were recovered in the raids cemented this notion.

Pawns of the Mexican drug cartel

Not every member of the Mexican drug cartel organization is a high ranking member like the bigwigs arrested. There is always someone at the bottom rung of the cartel ladder. Those who typically have this title of doormat for the Mexican drug cartel are young, naïve, or have financial or drug abuse issues. These individuals soon become over their heads in illegal activities, unable to break away from the life of a Mexican drug cartel pawn.

Get out now

Drug trafficking and distribution is a risky business and getting mixed up with the Mexican drug cartel proves to be fatal for numerous individuals. Trying to escape that life can also be dangerous as those who try to leave frequently face repercussions. Sometimes, facing criminal charges instead may be an opportunity to seek help to leave that lifestyle behind. Deals can often be made to bring down those higher up. For more information contact a criminal defense attorney.

Hostages of Domestic Violence in Utah

Two different cases of domestic violence in Utah within the last couple weeks have escalated to involve taking hostages and discharging firearms.

Breaking up is hard to do

Photo by: Kiran Foster

Photo by: Kiran Foster

On Saturday August 22nd, 42 year old Jenny Andrus, an English professor at the University of Utah, went to her home in Millcreek Utah to collect some of her personal belongings while her estranged husband was away. Unfortunately, her alienated hubby, 37 year old Valentin Dulla Santarromana, was there and a domestic violence incident occurred. Andrus’ friend Joi Hogue who was waiting outside the home tried to enter when she heard the commotion and was shot by Santarromana several times, even as she tried to flee. Police who were called to the house after receiving calls of domestic violence and shots fired tried for three hours to get Santarromana to release Andrus. Santarromana shot Andrus four times, including once in the eye before police were able to detain him and rescue Andrus. Andrus has made a miraculous recovery while her friend Hogue remains in critical condition.

Her daddy wasn’t the one packing heat this time

Another domestic violence incident intensified into a hostage situation early Monday morning in West Valley Utah. 23 year old Oscar Alcantara was having an argument with his girlfriend when her dad offered to drive Alcantara to his home. Apparently something happened during the commute, as it ended with shots being fired. Alcantara then took his girlfriend’s father hostage for 5 hours until police were able to negotiate with him to surrender his hostage. Fortunately in this case, no one was hurt.

Weapons not included

Photo by: Jeffrey

Photo by: Jeffrey

Not all domestic violence incidents in Utah involve taking hostages, discharging a firearm or using a weapon or any kind. Furthermore, not all domestic violence cases involve actual physical violence. The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “[…] a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” Domestic violence can include:

Assault. This can include inflicting any kind of physical injury on another being such as hitting, kicking, slapping, pulling hair, or harming with a weapon such as a knife or gun. Assault can also include not allowing someone to get medical care if needed or forcing them to consume drugs or alcohol.
Sexual abuse. Having intimate relations of any kind without the consent of the other individual is sexual abuse. Even if the two parties are married, there still needs to be consent for sexual relations.
Kidnapping. Taking a domestic partner, children, or other household member against their will.
Unlawful detention. Not allowing the other party to leave the residence, tying them up, locking them in a room, or in any way stopping them from leaving the presence of the abusing party by keeping them hostage.
Emotional abuse. This can include verbal abuse, destroying another co-inhabitant’s self-esteem with hurtful, belittling comments, making the other individual seem worthless, and anything else that harms the victim’s emotional state.
Mental abuse. Threatening to do harm, intimidating, gas lighting (making the other party feel as though they are going crazy), or isolating the victim from family, friends or places of employment.
Harassment. Harassment is any unwanted contact and can be done in person, over the phone, or by way of electronic means such as texting, emailing, and instant messaging.
Stalking. Keeping constant tabs on the whereabouts of the other party and on their activities online and on their electronic devices such as phones by installing illegal tracking software.
Economic Abuse. Causing the other person to lose their job, making them completely dependent on the abuser’s income, and/or withholding finances.

Domestic violence penalties

The penalties for domestic violence depend on the type of abuse. Domestic violence charges can range from a class C misdemeanor if all that is observed is disorderly conduct to a 1st degree felony if the domestic violence ends in premeditated homicide. Repeat offenses of domestic violence will increase the severity of the charges. While those who live together under one roof are known to quarrel from time to time, it is important to not let things escalate to the point of doing any physical, mental, or emotional harm to one another. For anyone facing charges of domestic violence, contact a criminal defense attorney.