A deputy with the Montana Attorney General has charged a long time family physician from Butte, Montana with two felony counts of sexual intercourse without consent, three counts of sexual servitude for allegedly using drugs for coercion, and two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault. The charges carry possible life terms, and fines of 10,000 dollars. The defendant’s attorney out of Missoula, Montana has stated that they will appear for arraignment and will plead not guilty.
The allegations come from three separate women, all who were receiving prescriptions for pain medication from the treating physician. The women who have come forward all have similar stories of how the sexual abuse occurred. These women say they were groped and penetrated by hand during these exams. The parts of their bodies that were violated were not the parts of their bodies that they were there to have examined. As is often seen in instances of sexual assault and sexual harassment there was a clear divide in power and coercion in the form of quid pro quo.
All three women allege that they felt they were in a position where had they not allowed the sexual misconduct to occur they would be denied their prescriptions. The defendant has admitted to brushing against patients when feeling aroused, with the first occurrences happening over five years ago, and the most recent being six months ago. He has also admitted that most of these occurrences usually occurred between him and patients who were addicted to pain medications. These women felt vulnerable and were coerced through the use of drug prescriptions. In addition, the defendant told investigators that he had become attracted to his patients and had felt their breasts on at least 8 separate occasions.
In the midst of a national movement labeled #MeToo, cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment are moving to the forefront with more men, women, and children feeling empowered to come forward in hopes of obtaining justice. As we see the power shift from the predators to survivors and victims of sexual crimes, we will see more cases in our communities and neighboring cities.
Sexual assault and harassment allegations often times create a ripple effect in small communities where everyone knows everyone. In this instance, two District Court Judges in Butte have already recused themselves, and the defendant has requested that the Third District Court Judge also remove himself from the case. A Judge from the First District Court in Helena has agreed to take the case and is expected to set the first arraignment date.